Friday, March 14, 2008

A Red Neck in West Annapolis

A RED-NECKED GREBE to be more precise. I stopped by the boat ramp in my West Annapolis neighborhood on Weems Creek at 4PM. I was coming home from work and thought a quick scan of the creek was in order. I noticed three COMMON GOLDEN EYE, one of which had me perplexed. I sent the photo (above) to a friend for a second opinion.It's fairly clear that the ducks in the first photo are in fact COMMON GOLDEN EYE. I am still fairly new at this bird identification thing, so sometimes I prefer to play it safe and get a second opinion.Hoping that I might be able to grab some better looks at the GOLDEN EYE before the sun went away for the night, I hurried back to the boat ramp around 5:30PM. This time I came equipped with scope and tripod, providing for much better 'looks' at that mystery bird.That is when I was lucky enough to find a RED-NECKED GREBE. Did you know that Red-necked Grebes regularly ingest a solid helping of their own feathers? It's true.The feathers that they eat sit in the bird's stomach, but exactly why is not known. Some experts suspect that those feathers protect the digestive system from bones and other difficult to digest bits. (Much like the pizza I ate for dinner.)So that is the end of that story that occurred at the beginning of the weekend! But I've got one more for you...What in tarnation is this? I noticed it swimming around Weems Creek this evening while I was photographing the GREBE. Beaver perhaps? No, their freshwater mammals right? And besides, I've seen lots of beavers in my day. (There are several at Waterworks Park in Annapolis.) Beavers regularly will flop their tails to show you that they are pretty cool. I suppose that tail flop thing could also be used as a scare tactic whenever humans or other potential predators are near. But this particular mammal did no such thing. It just swam off into the headwaters of the creek. Seems a bit small for a RIVER OTTER, but a search of Maryland's DNR website got me no closer to an identification. Have any thoughts? I'd love to hear them.

Have a great weekend,

Dan

1 comment:

David said...

Your mystery mammal choices would seem to be muskrat or nutria. Based on the fairly long tail, it looks like a muskrat, which would be smaller than a beaver or nutria.

Dave Wendelken

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