Hidden In Plain Sight

A Wilson’s snipe in a pond in Jester Park, Iowa, April 2, 2018.

One pair of greater scaup ducks, two pairs of bufflehead ducks, and many Canadian geese swam in the pond on the first Monday morning in April. It was cold, cloudy and windy. I was on a quest to see migrating ducks.

The greater scaup ducks are new-to-me-this-year ducks. The pair kept to the far side of the pond. While watching them and hoping they would swim closer, I noticed a small bird digging in the mud close to the edge of the water. I waited patiently for him to make his way around the pond to where I stood.

The Wilson’s snipe is the same size as the American robin. Unlike the robin whose rusty red front stands out against the grass, the snipe is expertly camouflaged. His light yellow and brown strips blended in well with the dried grass and mud on the edge of the pond.

When the snipe saw me, he skittered up the bank and disappeared behind a clump of grass. After tentatively peering out of his hiding place, he waded into the water and continue his search for food back the way he had come.

An American tree sparrow near Saylorville Lake in Jester Park, Iowa, April 2, 2018.

A pair of bufflehead ducks in a pond in Jester Park, Iowa, April 2, 2018.

A pair of bufflehead ducks in a pond in Jester Park, Iowa, April 2, 2018.

An American robin on the grass in the Bison and Elk Enclosure in Jester Park, Iowa, April 2, 2018.

A pair of greater scaup ducks in a pond in Jester Park, Iowa, April 2, 2018.

A Wilson’s snipe in a pond in Jester Park, Iowa, April 2, 2018.

A Wilson’s snipe in a pond in Jester Park, Iowa, April 2, 2018.

A Wilson’s snipe in a pond in Jester Park, Iowa, April 2, 2018.

Take care and thanks for reading.



About Sarah

nature, outdoor, and health enthusiast, book reader, and story teller
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12 Responses to Hidden In Plain Sight

  1. zirah1 says:

    Sounds and looks like a great outing. The scaup ducks are new to me and I love the dramatic coloring they have. Great pics, as usual, and I especially like the plumped up tree sparrow. Something about it made me smile. πŸ™‚

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Zirah πŸ™‚
      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you enjoyed coming along with me on the chilly early morning walk. πŸ™‚ The tree sparrows make me smile as well. πŸ™‚ They are perky and active even on the coldest days. They are winter visitors here and nest up north so I imagine the chilly weather is no big deal for them. Usually, they would have left by now. He might have been a tree sparrow who wintered further south and was making his way north. The area on the bank of the lake is a popular spot for the migrating sparrows. It is where I have seen many different kinds of sparrows in the fall. The greater scaup ducks are interesting to look at. There is a lesser scaup duck as well who is smaller and looks slightly different. I saw a pair of greater scaup ducks in the pond a couple of days in a row, but they kept to the far side of the pond just out of reach of the camera. They are a little smaller than the mallard ducks. Like the bufflehead ducks, they are diving ducks.

      • zirah1 says:

        Wow, you are just a font of bird wisdom! I never realized there were so many kinds of sparrows AND that there were scaup ducks, let alone greater and lesser ones. You could give great guided tours at nature centers w/ all the information you have about flora and fauna.

        • Sarah says:

          I find the natural world endlessly interesting and look up and read about things I don’t know. πŸ™‚ Every trip out is an adventure. Who and what will I see today? πŸ™‚ There have been many ducks and geese migrating through this year that have been too far away for photographs. Maybe next year. They must make haste. They have a lot to accomplish before the cold weather returns again even though it hasn’t entirely left yet. πŸ™‚

  2. Shady_Grady says:

    I like the pics of the bufflehead ducks (that name always cracks me up) and the greater scaup ducks. Good thing that the geese didn’t chase everyone else away.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Shady πŸ™‚
      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you liked seeing the ducks. πŸ™‚ The bufflehead ducks have a lot character. πŸ™‚ They are smaller than the other ducks I have seen this year, but they don’t seem as intimidate by my presence. I liked the reflections in those two photos especially the second one. The greater scaup ducks are interesting looking. I wish they would have come closer so there could have been more photos and a video of them diving. They were shy, though, and stayed over by the opposite side of the pond while I was watching. The Canadian geese didn’t seem even slightly concerned by the ducks. They were too busy challenging and squawking at each other. πŸ™‚

  3. Oh my goodness this is a fabulous post, Sarah! You really have different birds then we have here. The bill on the Wilson’s snipe is amazing! And the markings on the scaup ducks are gorgeous (male). We do not have those here that I know of, nor the Wilson snipe. Fantastic pictures that I just SO enjoyed!!! Thank you!! πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌ

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Amy πŸ™‚
      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you enjoyed seeing the birds. πŸ™‚ It is migration time so there are lots of birds coming through now that don’t live here in the summer or the winter. The bufflehead and the greater scaup ducks spend the summer and raise their next generation in Canada and the winter further south. The greater scaup ducks go way up to northern Canada. I am not sure if the Wilson’s snipe is here in the summer. The maps I checked had conflicting information. I hadn’t seen one before that day. They are so well camouflaged that they could have been here since I started watching the ponds and I missed them. I will be keeping a look out for them this summer. They do have a very long bill. He was busy busy busy digging in the mud with an occasional glance up to look around.

      • I just came in from putting up more bird feeders. So far the birds have only gone to the feeders they know. How funny. Give them time …. hopefully now there won’t be a ruckus with birds fighting over the seeds. Have a good day, Sarah. 🌸

        • Sarah says:

          I imagine the birds have found the new feeders by now. πŸ™‚ I am sure they appreciate your attention to their food! πŸ™‚ I was out at the park this morning. It was sunny although still cold. The plant world looks like late March or perhaps the very beginning of April. I didn’t see any green shoots for the wildflowers. I hope you have relaxing afternoon and stay warm! πŸ™‚

  4. What a handsome snipe. And your title reminds me of a book our American friend living here gave Trevor to read. It was about the history and writing of Quaker women in the USA!

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Georgina πŸ™‚
      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! He is a handsome bird. πŸ™‚ I hadn’t seen one before. He has a very long bill. After I took these photos, he started making his way back around the pond in the direction he had come. He stopped to groom his feathers. It was quite a production with such a long bill!

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