Duck, duck, goose, goose and a blackbird, swallow or two

Red-winged blackbird at VOA park, West Chester, Ohio

Arthur’s been patiently waiting through rainy and stormy days for me to take him for exercise. Yesterday, under blue skies, we took at walk at the Voice of America county park where red-winged blackbirds are in abundance. They are in the trees,

Red-winged blackbird

on the ground,

Red-winged blackbird

and in the bushes. I might have had a better photo or two if not for the small, white, untrained dog

who was straining at the leash,

tromping through puddles,

and drinking from them.

Queen’s Lace

all the while I was trying to hold steady to catch a photograph of a field of Queen Anne’s lace, or a swallow in the distant—trying to use two hands on my cell phone camera while wearing the leash on my wrist, which continually jerked by said small animal attached to the other end.

Tree swallow

Of course I had my sunglasses on, and the cell phone camera’s screen was dim from the sunlight, so I was shooting blind in many cases. “Just aim in the right direction and hope to catch something. Cropping might help.”

Unidentified bird

I have no idea what this bird is. I saw it fly, then land on a bench and move to the ground. In the flurry of transferring Arthur’s leash from my hand to my wrist, unlocking the iPhone, starting the camera and zooming in, this was the best I could do. Anybody know what this is with so few clues? It’s relatively slim, not full-bodied like a duck.

American Coot

These black ducks made a striking picture on the small lake. I believe they are male American Coots, and that the brownish ones are the females. This is based on merely the color of their beak or bill. You can’t notice it from this professional photography, but they black ones actually had a lot of gray on their lower body if I’m recalling correctly. Feel free to set me straight.

American Coot

Here’s a better picture. Better is a relative word.

Canada Geese and goslings

I do not know how I managed to get this clear shot of the geese and goslings, but I’ll take it. Goslings always remind me of a song we used to sing when I was young called “Go Tell Aunt Nancy,” with the lyrics “Goslings are mourning (repeated three times) because their mother’s dead.” Actually, after some intensive researching online this morning to get to the bottom of this important issue, I discovered that the title is actually “Go Tell Aunt Rhody,” and that the line we always sang, “She died last Friday, (repeated three times) with a pitchfork in her head,” should actually be: “She died in the mill pond from standing on her head.” A little less violent, but gruesome just the same.

Anyway, the next time I want to take bird photos at VOA park, I am going to take my DSLR with my new zoom lens, and a dog-walker with me.

See the lyrics and more information on the American Folk Song, “Go Tell Aunt Rhody.”

22 Comments on “Duck, duck, goose, goose and a blackbird, swallow or two”

  1. Beth Ann says:

    But Arthur had fun so that was the whole point, right? Not crystal clear pictures!! Still loved them!!! And I remember the Go Tell Aunt Rhody song! I think the lyrics I remember were more like “the old gray goose is dead”. Maybe the PG version!

  2. In the mid 70’s there was a 6 AM local pre K shoe Duck, Duck, Goose on local TV. It was produced and hosted by Mrs. Francis who was the drama teacher at my shcool.

  3. Oh, Christine, Arthur is so, so cute–especially the one of his having drunk out of the puddle. And the gesese with babies–how darling. No matter the focus issues, these photos are delightful–ie. look more like mine–thus, I love you for them!

    • CMSmith says:

      I guess perfection (Ha! Like I ever achieve it), is also over rated. This is like reality photography. . . I’m glad I captured the little lip-smacking dog. The goslings are adorable. I’m going to have to go back as soon as I can.

  4. pattisj says:

    That walk sounds all too familiar to some I have taken, leash on the wrist and trying to use the hands for another purpose. A dog walker is a good idea! We still have a red-winged blackbird here. There’s a pair that stays behind when the others migrate. I can always tell the male is around by the shrill call.

    • CMSmith says:

      I know you can relate. That’s funny that he stays. I’m going to have to remember to consult you when I have bird questions. You are an expert compared to me. Thanks for the help you’ve given me with identifications in the past. I guess you don’t recognize that brown-head/neck-long-beak bird in the grass by the lake?

  5. One reason we never got a dog is I worry if the kids see me allowing the dog to drink from puddles, they’ll demand the same privilege.

    • CMSmith says:

      That’s something I hadn’t considered when we finally broke down and got a dog. Now I did worry about the drinking out of the toilet with our first dog, but if you get a small dog, they are too short to be a bad example there.

  6. I love all the bird pics (of course, being the bird nerd I am, right?), but I especially love the swallow — I don’t think I’ve ever been able to catch a picture of one, they perch for such a short time! As for the mystery bird, I’ve been trying to figure it out, and I think it may be least bittern or a green heron? It’s hard to tell with the colors not clear but the beak looks right…

    • CMSmith says:

      I just looked it up and I think it could be the green heron. I never even knew there was such a thing. I’m anxious to go back over there with a better camera and see if I can capture some photos.

  7. Arthur of course had a ball.

    Do redwing blackbirds there tend to attack at this time of year if you’re too close to the nest as well?

    • CMSmith says:

      You know, I don’t know that I’ve ever been close to one of their nests. I guess you’re speaking from experience?

      • Oh, yes. For a few weeks they tend to be very territorial. I’ve had them fly in very close and make a lot of fuss, even getting so close that I can feel their claws at my head.

  8. Robin says:

    I was thinking cormorant for your mystery bird. That’s what the neck and beak remind me of, and we see them here around the pond and near the cattails from time to time.

    I had to laugh at your description of trying to take photos while walking with a doggy companion. I have a slew of out-of-focus photos from walking with Bo (my youngest son’s dog). I think you did good (certainly better than I do!).

    • CMSmith says:

      I don’t know. I guess I’m leaning towards the green heron that Julia suggested. I hope to see it again some time when I go back, but who knows. I’m sure some birds are just passing through.

      Yes. Well then, you know how it is. At least Arthur is just a little 10-pound dog. You’d think I could manage.


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