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Borrego Springs, CA

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Pond Pugilism

After taking care of my weekly laundry this morning, I decided to get out of the rig and take another drive on the refuge roads.  There were no brilliant blue skies like there were on Friday, but I’ve found that after countless drives down these roads over the years I always see something different each time.

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With the big cold fronts that have moved through from the north in the last couple of weeks, the snow geese numbers are rapidly increasing.  This is only a portion of the flock that was in one of the moist soil units.  Mixed in with the geese are ibis and black-necked stints.

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There are also plenty of sparrows on the refuge, but they seldom sit still to have their picture taken.  This Savannah sparrow was an exception to the rule today.

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Along with Black and Turkey vultures, the Crested Caracara helps keep our wild places cleaned up.  They are generally carrion eaters. 

As I made my way around the auto tour route of Shoveler Pond, I encountered the usual cast of characters including hundreds of American coots.  But all was not tranquil on the pond this morning.  When a vehicle approaches, the coots usually run along the top of the water to get to the safety of the marsh grasses.  Today however, one small group was too preoccupied to be concerned with my approach.

IMG_5139 Two of the small group of three seemed to be having some sort of disagreement that was leading to the bird version of fisticuffs. 

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They were grappling for some kind of dominance.  You seldom get to see the long green toes of these birds, but they were using them to gain advantage over their foe.

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The third bird just casually floated around observing the melee.  Makes you wonder if the two in front were male combatants vying for the wing of the fair maiden.  Winking smile

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                   As I was snapping away, it seemed like the bird on the right was gaining an advantage.

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                                    I didn’t know if its intention was to drown its opponent or what.

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The winner finally climbed on top of its opponent and shoved it completely under the water.  Eventually the defeated bird came back up and the other two chased it away.  Tranquility once again reined.  I found it exciting to witness this little drama play out right before my eyes.  Like I said earlier, I always see something different no matter how many times I make this drive.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

28 comments:

  1. This weekend we saw, on Thursday, a flock of bluebirds at the birdbath, and 70 or 80 sand hill cranes flying overhead. On Friday we saw a huge flock of what I guess were swans (some sort of big, goose shaped) flying overhead, maybe 40 or so in the V..and that that evening over 100 sandhill cranes came screeching overhead...they looked like they were just gliding very very high up making a HUGE noise. It was all amazing. Never saw anything like any of it before. Don't know for sure what type of swan the white birds were.

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  2. Seems the birds aren't any nicer to each other than some humans :)

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  3. You didn't even get a chance to referee? I'm shocked! :c)

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  4. I found it exciting to witness that adventure through your lens. Excellent job!

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  5. I saw the same dance going on with ducks in Sparks, NV. I figured for sure they were fighting over a female. Just like here, there was a female duck just sort of swimming around not really paying attention to the two males. It was fascinating.

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  6. That is so neat...most people just would not have noticed!
    That sure is a cute sparrow!

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  7. I like the photo of the sparrow with its little legs stretched out.

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  8. The sparrow looks as if he is hanging on for dear life. Those are some icky green toes on those coots!!

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  9. What a cool experience and to be able to photograph it....great job, Judy.

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  10. That's the first time I've ever seen photos of birds fighting - great pics!

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  11. Even though I know that's the correct order of things, it's hard to watch. The photos are excellent at displaying the whole scene. I'm always left wondering, however, who actually started the fray and who's actually supposed to come out ahead!

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  12. A bird fight! Great photos! Snow here this morning and a blizzard is headed this way Tomorrow and Wednesday. Doing errands today before the storm:)

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  13. I agree. What is amazing is how often your camera is pointed in the right direction at the right time. I hope that you are not aiming for the next shot while driving down the road!! lol

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  14. You had another great morning. I'm just amazed at how you see these things. If I'm driving I never see much of anything. I only see things if I get out and walk. You seem to be in the right place, at the right time with your camera pointed in the right direction! Great pictures of the "disagreement".

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  15. had a brawl on our pond one spring when a young drake decided to woo the girl duck. he was soon sent packing by
    the older more experienced stud.

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  16. simply love the random encounter you had with the coot brawl... would love to hear the ornithological explanations!

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  17. Now THAT is what "survival of the fittest..Loved it!

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  18. Whoa, good action shots! And you got an impressive photo of the Crested Caracara, something I couldn't get w/ my camera. Nice job!

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  19. I like the Savannah's backside photo which is a great differentiation from the White-throated when it is sporting yellow lores. But the Coot photos are fantastic! This is the birding that I love: watching the amazing behavior, even of the common finds of the field. Great post!

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  20. Great photos. I find coot behavior quite interesting and them very entertaining.

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  21. Thank you, Judy, for the 'coot-war', but that's how it is in the fauna-world !!! Coots always 'look' so dumb-like, like bowling-balls floating on water !!! I had never seen their feet before... Must be algae that makes them 'green' ... Wonderful pic of the Crested Caracara !!!

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  22. Interesting photo and behaviors. I've seen lots of coots on the Mississippi in the fall but never a drag out fight.

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  23. What a fascinating thing to get to see. I guess pushing your opponent under the water is the equivalent of pushing him "to the mat". Of course, I'd always feel sorry for the loser, but nature isn't sentimental.

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  24. Have never seen the green toes, great job

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  25. That was certainly an interesting spectacle.....you capture it so well.

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  26. Nice Post. Thanks for sharing this in Your blog

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