Birds at the Marsh

Tall cattails, small, weedy ponds choked with lilies and an old beaver dam characterize a local wetland that I often visit in the morning. Like most healthy wetlands, it is teeming with life and full of surprises!

A flock of Cedar Waxwings, perched briefly on a snag at the edge of the beaver dam; they were feeding on air-borne insects above the adjacent pond.

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Cedar Waxwings

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Cedar Waxwing

I was set up in the woody shrub thicket colonizing the inactive beaver dam, in the midst of a family of Song Sparrows. This one was a bit upset with me, but not to the point of leaving its perch.

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Song Sparrow

The main attraction at the marsh has been a family of Common Gallinules. They’re fascinating, chicken-like, aquatic birds that like the dense cattail marsh and weedy pond habitats for feeding, nesting and raising their chicks. I prefer the Old World name, Moorhen, which was discontinued in the U.S. in 2011 in favor of Gallinule.

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Common Gallinule, adult

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Common Gallinules, adult and chicks (grooming)

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Gallinule family retreating into the cattail marsh after feeding in open water.

Dressed in brilliant spring breeding colors, the male Wood Duck is one of the most popular subjects for photography and art in the world. In summer however, it looks much like the female Wood Duck, adorned in what is called “eclipse” plumage.

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Wood Duck, male, eclipse plumage

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

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8 thoughts on “Birds at the Marsh

    • Thanks PK. My more interesting shoots often result from just visiting a good place, with no specific subject in mind, and hoping for a surprise encounter; this was one of those times!

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