Oh how I live for the weekends and being able to get out with my camera! Since it was a little rainy this morning, I got a slightly later start than I usually would for a Saturday.
I didn't see much at my first stop, so I went to Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies (CIES), one of my new favorite locations. I spent time at both bridges, at Fern Glen and in various areas in between. The weather was weird with the sun going in and out of the clouds and the wind getting heavy at times, yet being gentle at other times.
While I was up at Fern Glen, I had the opportunity to see some turtles, two frogs and a couple of little toads. I was hoping the northern water snakes would be out, but I guess it wasn't warm enough for them. While down by the bridges and in the wetland area is where I saw the best variety of wildlife. A muskrat did a nice swim around for me and went up on land around 11:45, then the american mink came through around 12:00. The mink is nearly impossible to photograph as he/she tends to stay in extremely brushy areas while moving at a rapid speed. I got a fantastic shot of the back of his/her head.
I also had the pleasure to see a male wood duck, a pair of mallards and a female hooded merganser (one solo and one with 5 ducklings). At one point, I had a female mallard sitting on a tree branch preening. Then a female hooded merganser came in and took the female mallards spot. The merganser had swam in so close and sat preening on the branch for a while before she moved on. This was the first time I've had such a wonderful opportunity with a merganser.
In addition to the reptiles, water rats and ducks, I also got to see a bunch of songbirds. There were red winged blackbirds, tree swallows, barn swallows, a yellow warbler, a baltimore oriole, a phoebe, a grackle and a male eastern bluebird. I got a lot of fantastic shots today, so it was really hard to choose which shot I wanted to use for my blog. I eventually decided that it had to be the eastern bluebird because it is just too pretty of a bird to not share!
As I write my post, I'm sitting on my porch amused by the wildlife I get right here at my feeders. I've had a pair of cardinals, a bunch of bluejays, a woodpecker, some starlings, sparrows and of course my friendly lil squirrels out there. My dogs keep going bonkers when a squirrel comes for a peanut! LOL, what a fantastic day with wildlife! What more could a girl ask for!