Belmont Pond wings back to Life!

Belmont Pond—late November.jpg

Belmont Pond in late November 2015 with a light veneer of ice….

Belmont Pond and Park map.png

 

 

Sometime in March, little Belmont Pond — surrounded by homes, a park with the same moniker, a church and private school and its fenced off playground — melts back to life. In winter it may be — or not — frozen for weeks at a time depending upon the severity of that season. In 2015, it froze long enough for a skating area to be cleared, while in 2016, an El Niño year, it was open except for brief spell when it wore a thin veneer of ice.……………………

Through January, February, and much of March 2017, thick ice sealed the pond. Kids hauled hockey nets onto it; residents took to watering the surface from time to time so the folks would have smooth skating.

Belmont Pond 170114.jpg
Belmont Pond, February 2017
Hider pays a visit to a brand new nest box
Hider Heron checks out one of Belmont Pond’s new nesting boxes.

And a group of neighbours got together to make and install three Wood Duck nesting boxes in hopes that in Spring we’d be able to enjoy the thrill of watching Woodies, and possibly Hooded Mergansers, Common Goldeneyes, or Buffleheads use them to raise young. It’s too soon to say, of course, but we remain hopeful. The ducks have returned to the pond. How long they’ll stay is still a guess.

…………………………………

…………

By mid-March, the ice had thawed enough to allow some ducks to return, like this Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) who was obviously pleased to be here!

Common Goldeneye drake (1).jpg
Clarence is one happy COGO!

He grew even happier as the water opened up….
Noteclick on any image in a group to enlarge it!

And soon he had company!

Hooded Merganser drake (3).jpg
Howard the Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) applauded the change of seasons….

By late March the Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) were back. Whether they noticed the new nesting boxes is not known by anyone not fluent in Woodduckese…. We have to wait and see.

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) (2).jpg
Wilbur Woodie in all his glory,  April 1, 2017….
Wood Duck female (Aix sponsa).jpg
And wife, er, partner, Wilma, who was about to greet one of our Western Painted Turtles, obscured for this photo by a cattail blocking the way….

The WPTs appeared at the end of March as well: click on any image in a group to enlarge it!

Soon, the entire pond was clear, and the Hoodies were asserting themselves, especially Howard who likes to think he’s the boss, but whom no one else takes as seriously as he takes himself….

Hooded Merganser drake (Lophodytes cucullatus) (5).jpg
I’m a happy dude, clap your wings! I’m a …..

Click on any image in the group to enlarge it!

If he becomes too full of himself, however, one way to Howard Hoodie can be back to earth, er, water, is by his partner, Hester, who has her feathers full!

Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) (3).jpg
Hester pins his Howard’s hood back from time to time….
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) (7).jpg
and appreciates it when he does his job when interlopers start getting too cute….

Howard did ask that I include the photo below with his question in the caption:

Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) (6).jpg
Do you think this ‘do makes by butt look big?

It’s been a bit much for Clarence Cogo, all this Hoodie kerfuffle. His partner apparently isn’t keen on Belmont and it appears they have bade us farewell….

Common Goldeneye drake (Bucephala clangula) (1).jpg
Clarence, it was nice to have you with us for your staycation. Be happy!

With no intent to downplay the supporting cast, the real stars of Belmont every Spring are the glorious Wood Ducks, Wilbur and Wilma. So here’s a closing look at them.
Click on any image in a group to enlarge it!

(The Passerines of Belmont — coming soon.…)

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2 thoughts on “Belmont Pond wings back to Life!

  1. You have no idea Keith how precious this will be for people coming from out of town and interested in birding/photography. I know for myself, I always try to find picture of the environment as it gives you a good idea of the kind of photography you can expect … priceless blog! Hope people who travel in your neck of the woods find your blog! Congrats on this awesome achievement!

    Like

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