Today in nature I saw

Last night just a bit before sunset I saw a huge, beautiful whitetail buck in our yard. He looked twice the size of a typical deer, and was solid muscle. We stared at each other for a while, then he turned and walked away.

If the night sky counts as nature, then I saw the Orion constellation for the first time this season. It was clear enough to see the Nebula (M42), even with the light pollution here.

You can easily identify a flock in flight. Each member will appear to “bounce” up and down as they fly.

I was looking at the moon this evening for a bit. Sometimes it’s just awe inspiring to look at it and think about this whole other world right there, almost, close enough, to reach out, and touch.
Sorta changes your perspective a bit.

Big black wild pig alongside the road. The babies are super-cute, Momma Hog not so much.

Saw a hairy woodpecker today for the first time. Thoughts in rapid sequence “Oh, a woodpecker! … That’s the biggest downy I’ve ever seen! … Waitaminnit.”

Yesterday morning our bird feeders were inundated with evening grosbeaks, which we’ve never seen before, as we are not in their range. We do get rose breasted grosbeaks., but they’ve migrated on.

Apparently the northern boreal forests are not able to support them currently, causing an irruption locally.

I don’t think I knew the term “irruption” prior to yesterday.

I didn’t know it until today.

Got a flock of ~25 waxwings last night.

Today on the river in Shoreham we watched a cormorant fishing; paddling somewhat like a duck and then diving for perhaps thirty or forty seconds at a time. That isn’t unusual in itself, but this time we were close enough to watch it surface with a good sized fish in its beak and scoff it down. I don’t recall seeing that happen before. Cool.

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A pair of ducks in our Waikiki condominium complex’s pool. It’s outdoors on the ground floor. A neighboring condo keeps ducks on the grounds in their pond, plus the Hilton Hawaiian Village a block over has some too. A duck couple from one of those places have set up residence here. Unlike some places, our pool remains open, but you have to fill out a form for contact tracing to use it. Most residents shun it now, and the ducks use it almost exclusively, especially in the hours just before dawn. I just hope the chlorine is not doing something bad to them, but they don’t seem to mind it.

Does one of them have a shiny green head?

No, but the male does have a green band on both wings. I don’t know what type of ducks they are.

Well, not knowing what’s native to the islands, I plugged “Hawaiian” and “duck” into Teh Googlez, and found …

The male would have a blue or green iridescent band across his wings. Look like your pair?

(BTW looking up chlorine and ducks was … inconclusive. Results vary from “harmless” to “of course it’ll kill ducks, because chemicalzz!!1!” but unless they’ve recently shocked the pool with a mega dose, the duckies should be O.K.)

Walking the pup this a.m., we heard a crow. Looking up, we saw it circling overhead, chased by a LBB. Wife and I actually stopped to watch the impressive dogfight, which continued for 20-30 secs - at which point a (previously unseen) hawk (Coopers?) streamed across the theater.

Pretty cool.

I was driving home from my morning walk and luckily was able to stop in time for 3 does being chased by a big buck across the street. Poor girls.

Well, 2 of them only have to outrun the 3d… :wink:

Which made me wonder - does the dominant buck remember which does he has mated with - trying to sow his seed as widely as possible, or does he just indiscriminately hit whoever is closest at the moment.

Apparently, the buck will mate with the same doe as many times as she lets him which can range from just a few to 10-15 times.

Yeah - I did some reading. Apparently hunters are quite interested in this subject!

There’s no guarantee that all 3 of those does were in estrus. And it appears that one buck will try to monopolize a particular doe while she remains in estrus, rather than moving around trying to hit anything that moves.

I think I was conflating some of what I remembered from old nature shows, where a single dominant male would try to impregnate and defend a harem. Not really applicable to whitetails.

Most mornings we see deer and turkey in our yard, since we put out 5-10 pounds of shelled corn every morning. Usually it’s a few deer and maybe 10 turkeys.

For some reason all the small turkey flocks united and showed up at once. My gf thought there was a hundred, but I tried counting and got ~65, still a helluva flock.

The males were doing their courtship display. A regular scene from a Thanksgiving painting.