WWE: Reflections

Jez’s Water Water Everywhere is an open photo challenge, to post photos with water. Right now his theme is reflections. Here are some of our water fowl, reflected on the water of our campus ponds.

A swan fluffs up his plumage as he chases a Canada goose.
The goose found its way into the water anyway!
A swan pair readies a nest for laying their eggs.
Is this mallard drake swimming in red water? No – merely a distorted reflection of a nearby building!

WWE: Birds on the Lake

I am forever trying to get good shots of our water bird population. Lately, I’ve gotten several good photos on “West Lake” here at our senior community, so I’m showing them off here on Jez’s Water Water Everywhere #35 challenge.

I unfortunately had only my cellphone camera to use for this shot – the heron has never let me get this close, and his silhouette against the reflected glow of the setting sun on the lake was a perfect setting.
Ducks in a circle
Sidney, West Lake’s male swan
One of our two duck families
Goslings & parents keeping cool on the wet pavement
“Our” heron (same one as in the first photo – he/she comes here every day) – fortunately, this time I had my regular camera and zoom lens!

WWE #27: West Lake Tales

A lot of my photos lately (only with my cell phone, unfortunately – I don’t generally take my big camera on walks with me) have been taken at “West Lake” – which is more of a pond, but here at our senior community it is called a lake. In these pandemic times, the most active scene around here is at West Lake (and sometimes East Lake, which is even smaller), with a variety of water birds engaged in their daily activities, oblivious to pandemics, lockdowns, and social distancing.

If you watch long enough, or happen to be there at the right time, life dramas may unfold in front of your eyes.

About 10 days ago, staff members from our community “escorted” a duck family from a nearby school (where apparently the duck goes to nest every year, only this year, no one is there to provide food and water for her & her chicks) to our campus.  I wasn’t there to witness this, so I don’t know how many ducklings there were at the time, but by the time I saw them, there were merely two wee ducklings – and they were REALLY small! I took this photo of the little family and was surprised to see daddy duck still hanging around, which isn’t common for ducks. The tragedy is that, while I haven’t seen them lately, I’ve been told there is only ONE duckling now!
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There is actually what I call a “bachelor club” of drake mallards, about 7 or 8 of them, since the females are off nesting somewhere.  So perhaps we can look forward to seeing more duck families soon.

We also had two families of Canada geese – here is one of them. Note Sidney (“Duke” as he’s officially named), West Lake’s male swan, lurking nearby looking threatening.
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And here comes the drama – Sidney’s mate, Celina (“Duchess”) is currently sitting on her five eggs, which should hatch within a week from now, and Sidney is determined to claim the entire lake as their own.  Here he is chasing one of the geese out of the pond.
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Unfortunately, the above family met a tragic end – Sidney killed every one of their goslings! Another walker from our community told us she had seen him kill one of the babies. And we saw one of the bodies floating in the water…

Although Canada geese are a nuisance, I was glad to see that there is another family on campus, which wisely hangs around East Lake, where the swans (who are not nesting parents-to-be) leave them alone.

We often see one or another of two visitors to the lake – a heron and an egret.
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Dale and I had a discussion about whether the above was an egret or a heron. I thought it was too large to be an egret, but Dale said its color and black legs indicate it is an egret. It turns out we were both right – egrets are a type of heron, and this is evidently a member of the “Great White Egret” species.
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This is unmistakably a great blue heron, and it often visits our lakeshore.  We try to be very quiet to get close, but both the heron and the egret always fly away to the other side of the lake before we get very near.
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I suppose I will have to tough it out and lug my camera around with me, since the cygnets should be arriving very soon!

Photos by Jez’s Water, Water Everywhere challenge

 

WWE: Mystery on Frozen Pond

In mid November, I was walking around our campus on a frigid day, and noticed some blobs on one of our frozen ponds. From a distance with the naked eye, it looked like ducks frozen in place with their heads sticking out of the water. Of course, I knew it couldn’t be that – probably clods of dirt, but how did they get into the middle of the pond?

I didn’t have my camera with its zoom lens with me, just my cellphone, so I took a couple of pictures, which basically reproduced what I was seeing with my own eyes. It didn’t get me any closer to figuring out WHAT was on that frozen pond.

Here’s the image I took with my Samsung Galaxy:
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What I found curious is that the blobs all had white streaks behind them, as if there was something just below the frozen surface.

I walked home as quickly as possible to get my husband and my camera. It was close to sundown already and I didn’t know if the phenomenon would still be there the next day, since the temperature was supposed to rise above freezing, so I suggested we drive over to the pond (which Dale calls “Swan Lake” when the swans are on it). We both brought our cameras and stood on the bank near the water’s edge. I fitted my zoom lens onto my Sony and magnified it to 300mm, the highest it would go. In the tiny image I could see on the viewfinder, I still couldn’t tell what it was.

Now, a couple of weeks later, I’ve finally gotten around to downloading the photos I took that day onto my computer. Here’s what I discovered:
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The blobs were clumps of wet leaves that had blown into the pond just as it was freezing, creating the effect we saw.  The white streaks around the clumps seem to indicate that due to the leaves, the freeze was slightly thinner in those spots; perhaps a few leaves had frozen just below the surface.

Meanwhile, here is another cellphone photo I took that day, of the other pond on campus. I liked the wavy ridges that appeared on its frozen surface.
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Posted for Jez Braithwaite’s Water, Water Everywhere photo challenge.