01 September 2007

On the railing

We have over 3 miles of railing at Green Cay. This is a place where you often find children hanging on to have a better look or maybe a few birds perched. Today, on my 3 walks around the wetlands I found a variety of things on the railing. First, there is the juvenile Boat-tailed Grackle. Now, I'm not very fond of grackles on the whole. They are loud, messy birds and they bully all the other birds at the feeders. But there's something about these juveniles and all their molting that really has me intrigued. I love how the brown feathers are being replaced with the iridescent black. And I also like how they follow their parents around looking for a free handout.

Next up we have a three-some of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks. These guys and gals are creating a lot of havoc around the wetlands. I can hear them whistling from the front porch and of course I can spot their white flight feather from a mile away.

Most of the railings are covered in bird feces of some type with an occasional raccoon scat mixed in. Today I found the feathers of what appears to be a Tri-colored Heron. I'm not sure if this was just preening or molting or what exactly, but the bird lost many a feather.

The best find of the day goes to my Nature Center Assistant. While the two of us were looking for some juvenile Wood Storks he spotted this owl pellet on the railing. I love owl pellets and dissecting them is always fun. Usually they have not only bones but a lot of fur mixed in. This pellet was almost completely made of bones.

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