Teal Ridge Wetlands with Deb, 2013
Want to Go Out Tonight?
My friend, Jeannie, stopped over at 7 p.m. yesterday evening for a surprise outing. I learned that we were heading for Teal Ridge Wetlands, where we once visited last year. Since you haven’t seen the area for a year, I thought that it was high time for you to take another look around, and drink in a few new surprises. Welcome to my world, once again, as well as what the great state of Oklahoma has to offer for naturalists like myself.
The fresh smell of country is in the air. It had rained about an hour ago, and the birds had returned to feed and frolic, as is natural for this time of day. It is nearly bedtime, so they have one last opportunity to fill their bellies before visions of family life dances in their heads.
Nature at Its Best
It looks beautiful, for the watershed marsh is filled due to the abundance of rain. We are privy to the beauty of the Blue-winged Teal overhead, Red-winged Blackbirds are chasing away every possible intruder that they see, and the lovely marsh grasses blow in the wind.
Cement Path and Onto Boardwalk
There is no need to visit the blind, as everything is directly in front of us, with no need to feel that we intrude. The beauty of life goes on, as though we aren’t even present. The cement path shows various prints of wildlife: duck tracks, as well as our four-legged friends. I feel at home, especially since I have my camera strap around my neck and plenty to look at. It has been a whole year.
Nearing the back of the refuge, we have spotted the Eastern Meadowlark. Finally we see it, perched on reeds. Even though it is late in the day, we can still get a few fairly good photos with the lighting. The skies have cleared, and the only evidence of prior bad weather is raindrops on the marsh plants. Other than that, it is picture perfect with pleasant temperatures.
American Avocet Feeding
Besides the Mallards and the Blue-winged Teals, there are a couple of other interesting birds in the marsh. We quietly get closer, and there is a gorgeous lone American Avocet feeding. He is sweeping his slender, upcurved beak about from side to side, catching small worms, crustaceans, mollusks, and water insects. They will even take some seeds of the correct sizes and kinds. He readily mingles with the other birds, just going about feeding business.
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Wait a moment. There is something else out there, which I have never seen before. Jeannie isn’t acquainted with this water bird, either, which is a heron. Yellow-crowned Night Heron pops into my head. Yes, that’s exactly what it is. What a lucky find! This bird is also feeding, paying us no mind. We manage several photos with the sun heading on its downward slope.
Mallard Ducklings and Other Action
When I finally decide to move on, Jeannie is in a pavilion area, getting numerous shots, but I haven’t had my fill yet of what is in the area. I see a couple of Eastern Bluebirds perched high, and off flies a Red-shouldered Hawk being chased by a couple of Red-winged Blackbirds. The hawk flies toward the sun. Rounding a bend, a female Mallard swims off with her brood. I had just seen an eclipsed Mallard drake at Boomer Lake, and knew that there were young ones in the area. An eclipsed male loses his primary feathers and is unable to fly, shortly after the hatching of his young. It is a signal to molt, and the males generally hang around together on another part of the body of water that they live on. This is the picture that I captured of this beautiful mother and her ducklings.
Barn Swallows are Nesting
I met Jeannie in the pavilion, and she points to a nest at the ceiling. It is a Barn Swallow’s nest AND there are either eggs or young in it. A male is perched on a sign right in front of us, and I point to that wonderful photo opportunity. I happen to look down in the marsh as I see movement, and there is a marsh rat of some type looking back at me. I quickly snap a couple of photos, and try to see what other shots I can get of the Barn Swallows. These birds don’t cease movement long, but nesting is a perfect excuse.
Numerous beautiful water plants can’t be forgotten in the area, right in front of us. Here are a couple of shots of these lovely plants.
What a wonderful ending to a great day for me! I visited both Teal Ridge Wetlands and Boomer Lake, all in one day. By the way, there is another small lake called Sanborn Lake that I haven’t showed you yet. Perhaps we can take a trip there this year, and I can show you the beauty of that wonderful place, as well. Until then, rejoice in nature, and get out there as much as you can.
Introduction to Teal Ridge Wetlands
- Teal Ridge Wetlands: A New Discovery with Deb
A wetland where one can observe birds and the beauty around them. This is a quiet spot that affords many wonderful amenities and is handicapped accessible.