Photojournal - 25 March 2006

Mr. Nonchalant

On Saturday I slept in, went to lunch at the Golden Pita, and then went over to Colony Farm Park in the afternoon. Afternoons aren't the best times for all birds, but I hadn't been to Colony Farm in a while and I was starting to miss the place a little.

So around 3:30 I found myself walking down the path from the main parking lot by the community garden. At several points, there were Golden-crowned Sparrows out foraging on the path. Here's a trio of them.

On one side of this path is a slough, and inbetween the slough and the path are a few bushes and trees. In the top of one of them, I found a male Red-winged Blackbird posing for me. I could hear the blackbirds all around; they certainly don't mind announcing their presence.  
After crossing the aluminum bridge at the end of the path, I headed across the river on the big bridge. Once on the far side, I walked on towards the Shaugnessy Street entrance. After a while, I found myself at the little duck pond just downhill from the entrance. Out on the pond were a number of birds. I sat and waited for a while for some of them to come near. A few of them did, like this male Gadwall.  
...and this female Bufflehead.  
There were also a pair of American Coots paddling around. Eventually one of them came out from behind some tall grass and consented to being photographed.  
And I also found my Pied-billed Grebe friend. This guy (or one of his relatives) is almost always there when I drop by this pond. I had my lifer Pied-billed Grebe at this pond a few years ago.  

PB Grebes are such cute little birds.

Anyhow, that was about it for the pond, and I moseyed back the way I came. When I reached the path by the river, I found a couple of Green-winged Teals in the slough on the near side. Here's one of them.


As I followed the teal and was taking pictures of him, I encountered a woman on the trail. We stopped and chatted for a while, and she told me that she had been watching an River Otter a little earlier over near the aluminum bridge. The otter had been catching little fish and eating them.

So after we parted I headed over to see if I could find the otter; it was on my way back to the car anyway. Sure enough, maybe thirty or forty meters east of the aluminum bridge, I found the critter. He was indeed chomping on a fish.

I slid down the embankment and set up my tripod in front of me. The otter had finished his snack and swum back over to the near side of the slough to pick up another. By the time I got the tripod up and the camera ready, the otter had dived under. But where the otter had gone down, bubbles were coming up...I guess the little guy was exhaling as he hunted. I took some photos of the otter bubbles.  
Soon he surfaced and started swimming down the slough towards my location. It looked like he had something in his mouth, but I wasn't sure.  
He passed right by me.  
After hanging out in the water up the slough for a little while, he went back past me the other way, and came out on the far bank. He climbed up a bit and then looked around.  
Then I think he noticed me with the camera, because he suddenly relaxed and became Mr. Nonchalant, whistling a little tune as if to say he was just out for a stroll, minding his own business.  
Then he pretty quickly slipped back into the water. Once there, he showed me his best Ogopogo imitation.  

(For the nonlocals, Ogopogo is the British Columbia version of the Loch Ness Monster.)

The sun had gotten pretty far down, and the whole slough was in the shade by this point. I decided that I probably had gotten the best photos of the otter that I was going to get that day, and so I headed back to the car. Once I was there, however, I decided to make a quick bunny check over by the buildings. There is a population of feral European Rabbits that typically hang out there.

Sure enough, I found one bunny, a big black fellow. He let me get fairly close.

This bunny was my last subject of the day. I'll leave you with one more shot of him.  

Next time, I'll bring you a collection of miscellaneous photos from the winter, along with photos of a wayward grebe that I found the day after this otter and bunny visit.

Snappin' them bunnies,


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