Red-necked Grebes (Col. Sam) and Blue-winged Teal (Hendrie)

On Saturday the marina at Colonel Samuel Smith Park was a hub of activity. While I was after Blue-winged Teal, the male juvenile Harlequin Duck was the star attraction.

Trio of photographers

Trio of photographers

Juvenile male Harlequin Duck

Juvenile male Harlequin Duck

The Harlequin remained closely associated with the Redhead ducks.

Three male Redhead Ducks

Three male Redhead Ducks

This pair of somewhat skittish Horned Grebes offered a fleeting photo opportunity. A third, on the opposite side of the marina, was sporting breeding plumage.

Two Horned Grebes

Two Horned Grebes

Last week, while peering at the Western Grebe, a birder from rural Ontario reported that a mink had savaged all of his chickens purely for sport. I thought of his loss when this mink ran across the rocks.

Mink

Mink

A handsome pair of American Wigeons was not to be ignored.

male American Wigeon

male American Wigeon

female American Wigeon

female American Wigeon

Tree Swallows have returned to claim their nesting boxes.

Tree Swallows

Tree Swallows

This Mute Swan exposed its egg as it shifted positions. Beauty of an egg, don’t ya think?

Mute Swan exposes egg

Mute Swan exposes egg

At least 100 Red-necked Grebes were on the lake with an additional 20 or so at the marina. As this pair was relatively close to the marina’s edge I stopped for a while as I thought the platform too unstable for nest building.  It soon became apparent that nest-building was not what the female, at least, was then contemplating.

Red-necked Grebe approaching platform

Red-necked Grebe approaching platform

On board

On board

Walking awkwardly

Walking awkwardly

Making her intentions known

Making her intentions known

Turning the platform with his chest

Turning the platform with his chest

Oh dear

Oh dear

Striking pose

Striking pose

Looking in each other's eyes

Looking in each other’s eyes

Hoping for the best

Hoping for the best

I didn’t find the Blue-winged Teal.

Yesterday, with the co-operative weather, a walk through Hendrie Valley was in order as the presence of Blue-winged Teal was reported during the week. The evening was blustery and overcast.  Three Turkey Vultures were flying low over the boardwalk. These vultures were a rather curious bunch.  They hovered over my head for about a minute, enough to worry me about personal hygiene (nope, I had recently applied Italian-made hand lotion), choice of clothing (nope, I didn’t look like roadkill from above as I was wearing sober colours), and whether they were signalling my pending doom (nope, heart rate was rather good, footwear was excellent, prudence was exercised while walking).  I later spotted this one roosting in a tree just off the boardwalk.

Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture

Well, well, well, my little buddy was here still madly in love with a female Mallard. However, in this instance the male Mallard was making it quite clear that the Hooded Merganser should move on with his life.  I felt sorry for the poor little guy.

male Hooded Merganser

male Hooded Merganser

He is quite persistent

He is quite persistent

I spotted a pair of muskrats. The two became one several times but as I was still draining the image of the mating grebes from my right eye, I turned my attention elsewhere.

Muskrat

Muskrat

Ultimately, I found the target species, a male Blue-winged Teal! Yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssss!

male Blue-winged Teal

male Blue-winged Teal

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