December 20, 2018
Today’s big, big surprise was seeing my first mink—and having him appear so close to me that I could see the fish in his mouth! I would never have seen the mink at all if I hadn’t been standing on the edge of a marsh for the last 45 minutes trying to get the ‘perfect’ picture of a great blue heron perched in a nearby dead tree.
In fact, I had been waiting for the heron to take flight (so I could get an action shot) when the mink totally distracted me. I no sooner started taking pictures of the mink, though, and the heron took off. Rats! I’d lost the action shot I’d been hoping for, but the mink was too great of an opportunity to pass up!
While I was standing and observing the heron and then the mink, I kept hearing the distinct sound of a belted kingfisher nearby. I’ve always wanted to get a good shot of a kingfisher, but they’re so skittish. As soon as they know you’re anywhere nearby, they take off. I thought about standing there forever, just like a tree, thinking maybe then he wouldn’t notice me and I could finally get a decent picture. But… my objective today hadn’t been to just take pictures but to get some exercise–and I had been standing in one place for over an hour! So, I continued on my walk, hoping I’d find something else just as interesting along the way.
Yesterday’s walk, on the other hand, provided more exercise, but fewer pictures. Mel and I had had about an hour at the end of the day to go for a walk at the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery. There wasn’t much time for pictures before the light faded, but, one of the subjects, a pileated woodpecker, proved quite interesting. It was high up in a tree and appeared to be hanging from a vine of some sort. When we looked at the pictures later, it also appeared that the woodpecker was eating the berries from the vine.
Mel thinks the vine was poison ivy! How interesting—and odd. First of all, I’ve never seen a pileated woodpecker hanging on to such a spindly vine. When Mel decided that the vine was probably poison ivy, I thought that was odd too because I didn’t know that poison ivy had berries or that a pileated woodpecker would find them tasty! All I’ve ever seen a pileated woodpecker do is bang his head against a tree incessantly in search of insects!
I learn something new every day!