Belmont Pond in late November 2015 with a light veneer of ice….
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.
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!
He grew even happier as the water opened up….
Note: click on any image in a group to enlarge it!
And soon he had company!
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.
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….
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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!
Howard did ask that I include the photo below with his question in the caption:
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….
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.…)