Last weekend, I did a spot check of the last two nest boxes, and was gratified that both were successful. Box #2 (at left) hatched out eight Hooded Merganser eggs, and box #68 (at right) hatched eight Wood Duck eggs, with one unhatched. For the season, our totals are down a little bit from last year, which had seen a big spike in Wood Duck activity. In 2009, we had four Hooded Merganser nests, three of which hatched out: 39 eggs laid, 29 hatched. We had five Wood Duck nests, all of which hatched out: 61 eggs laid, 59 hatched. Park staffer Dave Lawlor reports one successful nest in the boxes he is monitoring, with nine baby mergs.
The park is a green blast of primary production. Bird activity is subsiding, with only one lazy egret to accent the landscape. I saw a family of Mallards; a Red-shouldered Hawk was screaming an important message to someone. Chris IDs the large-leaved plants in the right image as Spatterdock (Nuphar lutea).
Set off by the green is the bright orange of a drift of Dodder (Cuscuta spp.), a parasitic vine that I find absolutely fascinating.