Ducks, plus

tunnel
They were not too impressed with this tunnel, probably because it had lights inside.

Some of my grandsons spent a short weekend with me, and while Saturday was sunny, it was cold, and I figured Sunday would be a better day for adventure. We first drove to a nearby cemetery, known for its geese and ducks, only to have our enthusiasm dampened by a sign they pointed out to me: Please don’t feed the ducks.

I didn’t want to be a bad example, so I thought for a minute, then we drove on to Shelley Lake. Part of the Capital Area Greenway Trail System, Shelley Lake is bordered by two miles of paved walking trails and about 140 acres of forest. We could feed the ducks there.

It was crowded, but we squeezed into an open parking spot, and commenced hiking. Just as we reached the boardwalk, one pointed out the sign: Please don’t feed the ducks. A bit miffed, I muttered, Well, we’re gonna feed the ducks.

We started throwing bits of bread, which got the ducks honking and chasing each other, and that alerted the seagulls sunning themselves on the nearby sandbar. They flew over, and began circling and swooping. I tried to take pictures, but they were pretty fast.

So I snapped a few photos of this pair of waterbirds instead.

RSCN2106
Tried to identify these when I made it home; I believe they are cormorants.

Afterward, we began our walk. One of the boys located a green-headed mallard and his less-colorful mate, but they were too far away, and too hidden by brush to make a good picture.

One of the boys, happily making his own trail just off the pavement, saw more movement, and we got a glimpse of this amphibian:

frog or toad
This little toad was very well camouflaged.

We were surprised by a hawk – either a Cooper’s or a sharp-shinned – calling to his mate. They flew right over us, circled around, then flew away. We heard their calls again later, as we rounded back to the boardwalk.

We didn’t see any deer (they are abundant throughout the county), most likely because there were too many people, and dogs about. We took a short side trip so they could walk through the tunnel, but it was pretty well lit, and they informed me it wasn’t a scary place to walk.

By the time the walk was over, they were tired and hungry. We came home and ate, and I sent them home to Mom. I had a nice afternoon. I think they did, too.

gull at shelley
Yes, there are seagulls in Raleigh, NC. Lots of them.

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