Local Waterfowl Open Thread

There’s a mandarin duck in Central Park that’s become something of a local celebrity. Nobody knows where it came from. I’d been hoping to see it before it molted. Today was a nice day, sunny if cold, so I decided to go for a stroll in the park. Twitter said that the duck had been seen at the pond in the southeast, so I took the train uptown a bit and ambled my way down there.

I wasn’t really expecting to see it, but I ended up just a few feet away:

So that was a nice surprise. Mostly, though, I’m just excited that I get to write a pretty-bird post of my own…

Yeah, you folks are right, that’s a wood duck. Looks like I missed the real thing by about fifty feet and twenty minutes. Still pretty. Open thread!

Disturbing the Peace (Open Thread)

Last night, the mister and I took a sunset cruise in our little swamp boat and annoyed this innocent anhinga:

The bird is clearly saying “FUCK YOU!!” at the 24-second mark.

Anhingas are also called “snake birds” because they swim with their heads sticking out of the water, resembling a snake. After swimming, they roost in trees or on snags to dry their wings. Cormorants do the same and closely resemble anhingas, only cormorants have a curved beak. Here’s one we saw on the same excursion:

Got any big plans for the weekend? Is anyone participating in one of the Women’s Marches taking place nationwide? I was just reading a depressing account of the national Women’s March org — Women’s March Inc. Sounds like they’ve managed to fuck up the whole thing. Le sigh.

We’ll probably hang out at home, maybe go annoy some more swamp critters. You?

Trump is on Twitter fomenting anti-immigrant hatred. Maybe he’s trying to change the subject from the revelation that he committed a felony by directing an underling to lie to Congress, or maybe he’s trying to distract the media from the snowballing effects of the Trump shutdown. Or both. Maybe neither.

He’s claiming that ranchers are finding “prayer rugs” on the border — likely he’s narrating some Fox News reportage, which intersperses clips of interviews with American crackpots and shots of correspondents yelling “CARAVAN” at random pedestrians in Central America.

Rugs, though. That’s some scary stuff. Why, just yesterday, I tripped on a rug with an upturned corner and very nearly stubbed my toe on a coffee table leg.

Anyhoo, open thread.

Swamp Drama (Open Thread)

So, a couple of days ago, as we were entertaining visitors in the Swamp Compound, we all got to see a “nature, red in tooth and claw” drama play out right under our noses. First, this Great Blue Heron speared a big old bullfrog:

Sad for the frog, but at least its ordeal was short-lived. It soon became clear that the heron couldn’t figure out how to get the dead frog off its face, which it needed to do in order to eat the frog. It tried shaking its head vigorously, snapping its beak, etc., but the frog remained firmly affixed.

Meanwhile, the heron’s frantic frog-dislodging activities attracted the attention of a nearby hawk, which offered to assist by dive-bombing the heron and trying to snatch the frog away in its talons. It tried several times as we watched. (And as I fumbled with the damned camera to try to switch to video mode to capture the hawk attack — unsuccessfully!)

Eventually, the heron flew away across the river, with the frog still attached to its face. There’s probably a metaphor in there somewhere.

Open thread!

Gift Ideas and Jackal Maker Showcase Open Thread

First, check out this fabulous Red-Shouldered Hawk who visited earlier this week and was kind enough to hang around for a photo-op:

I think it’s a juvenile. It was engaging in obnoxious youngling behavior like flying at similarly-sized wading birds and generally disrupting its fellow fauna. Plus, I think I spotted a helicopter-parenting adult nearby.

Anyhoo, holiday gifts: Since I put out a call for gift ideas the other day (and thank you for the many great suggestions), I’ve had a couple of requests to put up a thread where people can discuss gift ideas and where jackals who create nifty things can HAWK their wares. (Get it? No need to jostle; I’ll show myself out, thank you.)

So, have at it. Also, open thread!

Monday Evening Open Thread

I just realized (with maximum horror!) that it’s December, so the holidays are almost upon us. I’m not ready!

Here’s a pretty Green Heron to look at:

Saw this amazing creature perched on a hazard marker right outside the channel. I don’t know about y’all, but the sight of such a lovely bird calms me down a bit.

Open thread!