"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Is Home Here or There?

It has been said that home is where the heart is, but when the subject is migrating waterfowl, how the heck do you know where their hearts are?

I guess the predominant factor is where they raise their young, and if that is the determining criteria, then the headline of this post should be "They're Home!"

I am a member of a Facebook group called Birds of Alaska, where people post photos of birds they've seen in Alaska.   It's much like an online bird-watchers group, and it has been going crazy lately as ducks and geese and songbirds return from their winter vacations to build nests, lay eggs, and raise a new generation that will follow their parent's behavior for years on end.

I carry a camera with me everywhere I go outside my home.   Usually it's s small point and shoot with a 20X zoom.   I used it a few days ago to take photos of a mallard pair at Tern Lake.   They were about 50 feet across a shallow pond and it took every bit of zoom to get these photos.

I watched as the hen moved closer to the dry grasses along the bank.   Had I not seen her go there, I doubt I could have seen her in her perfect camouflage.

This coloration will help protect her from bald and golden eagles as she sits on the nest, slowly incubating a batch of mallardeggs.

The drake, meanwhile, stayed in open water, ready to protect her from me, or perhaps from other mallard drakes.

A day later, I drove a short distance from this area to another lake in a narrow pass through two mountains.   Because this area is in shade most of the day, spring is a bit later.

Two Barrow's Goldeneyes were padding about in a small puddle of open water near the shore.   This time, I had the good camera and the excellent lens.

Note how clear and calm the water is.   Not only can you see the bottom perfectly, you can see the ducks

The showy drake.

And the incredible, blue-eyed hen.

Welcome home, friends.   We are all so happy to see you again.


  1. Yes, welcome home birds, mallards, swans and geese. Great article in the Anchorage paper a few days ago about the bird life returning to Creamer's Field in Fairbanks, an annual enjoyable event. Noticed today that some of the birch tree leaves are about half open also. Spring is springing!!! Smiles, Patti and Cap

  2. Lord I never learn to copy and save. I just lost a long comment. Makes me crazy and it keeps happening over and over and over again and again and again.

    I am fighting off a terrible 'Spring' Head Cold with a nose running like crazy and a low grade fever and some chills. When I saw the ice in the water with the ducks I went 'brrrr' I need another sweater. Great Post. But that ice about did me it-n. Smiles Cap in Mongolia and Patti in Alaska ..