Saturday, June 21, 2014

purple-headed mallards and other pond waterfowl du jour

Sr. Brigid and I attended a celebration today for our bishop, Tom Shaw SSJE. He's stepping down after around twenty years as bishop, and they planned an outdoor Eucharist and a picnic in the park by Jamaica Pond in Jamaica Plain, Boston.  BYOP, but water/iced tea and ice cream were provided. Free Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia! Life is good. 

a preacher's kid gets put to work mowing the prairie around the tent - good grief - the grass was past my habit hem once I was seated, which was rather amusing

We were driving in from the south shore, so we got there plenty early and had more than enough time to go for a walk and enjoy the truly beautiful day. Just warm enough early on not to need a jacket; not too hot to sit in the sun later on.

While walking around Jamaica Pond, Sr. Brigid and I happened upon these ducks.  

Well, actually, I almost walked right by them because I was watching a couple of cormorants out on a little island. I didn't expect cormorants in a city pond... Thank God for SB or I might have missed them.  But what are they? I wondered. They look like mallards, but where's the green? Must be something else. But then...

So then I crept close. Several of them saw me and couldn't have cared less, but I was still careful. They were mostly sleeping, and I didn't want to scare them off.  Maybe, I thought, they are just at a funny angle in the sun. Iridescence can change color sometimes.  Nope. Still purple.

Yup, they have the mallard wing bar...

I've now sent an email to a friend who knows all about birds, so I am waiting to hear about this.

Meanwhile, I must share pictures of two other pond fowl.

First, a brand-new bird to me: what turns out to be a Muscovy duck.  This time I did see it and said, "What is THAT?"  Black and white with a red turkey ruffle on his beak.

Well, I bet his mother thinks he's beautiful.

Green iridescent feathers on his back... I couldn't see those at first.

So I started chasing him, paparazzi-style. But trying not to scare him off completely, of course. I wonder if paparazzi have to try this, too. 

Don't leave! I don't have my real camera with a telephoto!

One last set of photos, this time of birds who couldn't have cared less that I was there.  I'm not dumb enough to pick them up, but I was certainly close enough to do so.

Canada gosling! Who knew fuzzy baby birds could be so huge?!

Mom just turned her back and left, even with this person standing over her baby. Whatever. He's fine. 


Can you believe this is right in the city of Boston?  How lucky we are.

All this, Eucharist with much thanksgiving, friends with cute babies I hadn't seen yet, and Ben and Jerry's to top it all off.  Thank you, God.

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