Monday, July 18, 2011

2 Mile Walk

Found a trail along the Little Muddy River. It's a mile from start to finish, making it a two mile round trip. An easy walk when dry. Not so easy during high water. A good walk none the less.

Wild Chicory
Common chicory(Cichorium intybus)
Mid-July and the wild Chicory is in bloom. Chicory is used for salads, coffee and greens. It's  a non- native species  from Europa.

Double-crested Cormorants

The dead Cottonwood tree that is used by the cormorants as a preening tree is the half way point of the walk.  Turn around here for a short one mile walk.

Cormorants drying feathers in dead Cottonwood tree.
 Double-crested Cormorants(Phalacrocorax auritus) sunning.

Painted Turtle

I encountered a couple Painted Turtles taking a stroll in the meadow, a ways from the water. Why ? Maybe its turtle making turtle season.
Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)

Wood Ducks!

Common to the river and marsh are Wood Ducks(Aix sponsa) A perching duck that nests in tree hollows. A day after hatching the baby ducks climb to the opening and jump to the ground, sometimes from a height of more than 100 feet. Once the ducklings are on the ground, mama duck leads them to water. 
Male and female Wood Ducks(Aix sponsa)

July is the time for Eclipse. The adult ducks shed and regrown their feathers and until the flight feathers grow back the ducks can not fly.
Drake Wood duck in eclipse.

Male and female ducks look similar because the brightly colored feathers of the males are dropped and the males are brown and gray like the females.
Wood Ducks

The white eye patch will help identify the female Wood Duck.
Female Wood Ducks

A cattail marsh surrounded by woods is the preferred habitat of the Wood Duck.
Cattail Marsh

Well, this is the 1 mile point. Now I turn around and finish the 2 mile walk.  
(If you would like to see enlargements, just click on photos.)

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