Courtship: Spring Flings Among the Furred and Feathered
Last week’s revelation that a fresh egg had appeared in one of the nesting boxes along the Ken Otis Bluebird Trail was a surprise. March is early for Eastern Bluebirds to begin nesting here, but the blue egg is incontrovertible evidence that the season is upon us. In fact, creatures all over the park have begun to display their courtship and nesting behaviors.
My morning drive to work often includes detours to Farmington Landing or Marshall Hall, as well as the usual stop on Bryan Point Road to survey the “flooded meadow” where the road crosses Accokeek Creek. One day, Belted Kingfishers made their presence known in the Accokeek Creek wetland; the next day, a pair of Wood Ducks paddled around before climbing up onto a log while I watched. One morning, a Muskrat swam toward home carrying in its mouth a twig for nest-building; on another, a pair of Hooded Mergansers cruised the shallow water. On Friday, I watched through my office window as a male Osprey with a fish in its talons climbed into the air, hovered for a moment, stooped, and then climbed again, apparently hoping to impress his mate. Eagles played tag in the sky above the pastures while Canada Geese staked out their usual nesting spots all around the farm pond.
A pair of Wood Ducks afloat in Accokeek Creek
Hooded Mergansers go for an early morning swim