The fog was so thick this morning that I could hardly see across the Alsea River near the Oregon Coast. Then I heard an elk call from a calf. They sound like a weaker version of the adult cow. So I looked and saw one or two elk making their way across the field making calls to each other like a sonar tracking system. Then the rest of the herd appeared as the fog lightened a little.
At first I thought this was a mallard hen. But I’ve never seen a mallard dive underwater and swim. This one dove several times in the tidewater of the Alsea River. Watch the video and tell me if you think this is a mallard. A still photo of her is below the link to the video.
And I love the colors on the Wood ducks!
I love watching the river otters in the Alsea. Just wish they’d hang around a little longer.
Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/JLRB4E1aXZ0
The Merganser chicks’ wings are developing. They aren’t big enough to fly yet but they can dive and they look like they are flying under water.
Mama Merganser is on the left in the next photo. Compare her wings, which include a white patch, to her chicks. They’ve had their nap and are now ready to get back to business.
Before this family landed on the rocks of the Alsea River, Mama Merganser was chasing something in the river. I couldn’t see what it was but 2 Mallards also came from across the river quacking at the same thing. Whatever it was never came back. The Mallards didn’t even have chicks with them. I thought it was cool that they joined forces with Mama Merganser.
With as many predators who love the tender merganser veal I’m always impressed by the number of chicks a mom is able to raise. This mom has eleven chicks and it is probably due to their strict obedience to her.
This Mallard mama did not turn her back on the mink that was running alongside her family on the Alsea River this morning.
The mink ran ahead; darting in and out of the riverside debris.
Mama-duck quacked and followed the mink to keep it moving and to let it know she was vigilantly protecting her ducklings.
She see’s her children are paying attention when she didn’t think they were.
I wonder what else mink eat? This one might not get duck for lunch.
Last week I was nervous about seeing these two nutria being so friendly on the river bank. Mind you, nutria have never done anything personally against me. But I know they can cause erosion problems and we don’t need any of that on the Alsea River!
So, when I saw THIS today I was REALLY disappointed.
Mom took her 5 kids out to play in the river.
But I did learn something about nutria from this website: http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/nutria.html
Nutria were brought here from southern South America to control unwanted aquatic vegetation. Their average lifespan is 3 years in the wild. A female can get pregnant as early as 3 months and can have almost 3 litters per year. Predators of adult nutria include coyotes, domestic dogs, and humans. Great horned owls, foxes, great blue herons, hawks, eagles, and raccoons prey on the young.
A male Rufous hummingbird finally found our feeder today. He guards it ruthlessly.
Rufous hummers are very territorial. He is chasing off 5 or 6 other hummers.
Everybody likes the salmonberries – especially the Robins
The crawdad is almost the bottom of the food chain around here. They are the scavengers who feed on dead fish flesh. The diving ducks eat the crawdads – unless we eat them first.
The mallards are enjoying all the fresh green moss growing on the river bottom and banks of the Alsea.
The new growth of spring is such a vibrant green!