Sunday, March 31, 2019

Swan of a Different Color

I'd call this a purple-billed black swan. Lovely isn't it?
April Fool! I made it up! It's a normal black swan with a normal red bill like in this photo. I painted it purple in Photoshop. Be warned that tomorrow is April 1st, April Fool's Day.       Be on the lookout for more silly pranks!
 Here are some awful swan jokes suited to the holiday: 

Where do swans invest their cash? 
In the stork market! 

Why don't swans grow up?
Because they grow down! 

Do you know why swans stay home on winter days?
Fowl weather!

What do swans watch on TV? 

A skunk, a herd of mostly female deer, and a swan go out to eat. When it comes time to pay the skunk only has a scent, the deer just have one buck. They end up putting it on the swan's bill!  

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Flowers and A Turkey

I went for a walk on Saturday to look for signs of spring. It was too easy! There are flowers blooming like crazy out there.
So many colors of crocus. Click to enlarge.
Then I turned a corner and saw this...
A turkey! A big tom turkey all puffed up and ready to breed! He was gobbling and strutting like he was the king of all the turkeys. I was as impressed as I was surprised.
I've seen turkeys in New Jersey before, where they are becoming common, and I've written a couple of blogs about them (click here for one, here for another). But I usually spot them out of breeding season when they large but not too flashy, like in the photo above. 
But this guy was dressed to kill! Here's his other side.
Here's his amazing head. The turkey sighting drove all my thoughts of spring flowers right out of mind and turned this into a turkey blog. You have just been turkey bombed!
Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Winter's End

Crocus flowers are open in my neighborhood!

 "The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size."
                                                                                          Gertrude S. Wister 

Spring starts on Wednesday, March 20! 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

A Tree

I was minding my own business, taking a walk in the woods, and I saw this tree.
Here's a closer view. There's a letter A there, right? I'm pretty sure it grew naturally on this tree's flaky plate-like bark. The tree is in a swampy place and would have been difficult to get to, climb, and initial. So I'm just saying, hmm.
Is this just puzzling?
Or is it scary? Click to enlarge. Sorry about the lost hour of sleep.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

A Duck Walks Into A Bar

There are lots of cool ducks in the coastal waters of New Jersey and New York these days, like this gang of male northern shovelers, Anas clypeata, that I saw at Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge this week. Click to enlarge.
Here are some canvasback ducks, Aythya valisineria,  with a a photo-bombing northern pintail, Anas acuta, star of last week's blog, heading left near the margin. These were at Forsythe last week, but I've been seeing canvasbacks in the Delaware River lately, too.

The ducks above are wild ducks of course, but they reminded me of this story that features their barnyard cousins. 
It's by Garrison Keillor, from Truckstop and Other Lake Wobegon Stories

“He takes a kitchen chair and sits in the yard and all the ducks come around. He holds up the cheese curls in one hand and caramel popcorn in the other and his audience looks up and he tells them a joke. He says: So one day a duck come into this bar and ordered a whiskey and a bump and the bartender was pretty surprised, he says, "You know we don't get many of you ducks in here." The duck says, "At these prices I'm not surprised.* And he tosses out the popcorn and they laugh. 'Wak wak wak wak wak. I was shot in the leg in the war.' Have a scar? 'No thanks, I don't smoke.”

And here's a portrait of a handsome male mallard duck,
Anas platyrhynchos.