There are worse ways for a naturalist to spend a morning than to sit at the edge of a pond, camera in hand and the rising sun at your back.
And so, on a pleasant spring morning with camera pack on my back and a small folding chair I headed for a beaver pond to sit for an hour or so to see what there was to see. On the way to the pond I passed a willow shrub that was in bloom; and the spicebush was blooming in a patch of damp forest –
Soon after I settled in on the edge of the pond amid a few small trees, a male wood duck flew in and landed on the pond’s far side –
He then disappeared into the cattails, never to be seen again.
Soon after a great blue heron flew in and landed in a dead tree about 100 feet away. There was time for a handful of photos before it left in the direction of a marsh a half mile away –
All was quiet for a while and then, in the far, far distance there was a black spot circling in the air. One of my camera’s powerful telephoto lens revealed it was an immature bald eagle. It’s not a good photograph because the bird was a long, long way away –
Soon afterward another fish-eating raptor appeared – this time it was right over the beaver pond and spent a few minutes overhead as it looked for fish beneath the surface. Not a bald eagle, this was a migrating osprey on its way north –
After a not finding a fish, the osprey moved on and there wasn’t any activity at the pond for quite some time. Eventually a pair of hooded mergansers that had been on a nearby pond flew in to land nearby –
And climbed up on water-soaked log –
Also on a fallen log in the pond was a painted turtle basking in the sun –
Like the heron and osprey, the mergansers left after a short time –
Meanwhile, the tree swallows that nest in woodpecker cavities in the pond’s snags had recently returned from South America and were exploring some of those dead trees –
The last bird of the morning was a red-tailed hawk soaring over the pond –
Heading home I passed the blooming willow, it was warm enough that honey bees were busy gathering pollen –
Time spent by a beaver pond is time well spent.