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There was some excitement for us today. We went to the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge and saw some American White Pelicans. They are not common in this area, so I’m glad my sister was there or I would have thought I was terribly mistaken. The volunteer at the visitor’s center confirmed that the Pelicans have been seen there in recent years. He said a few days ago several people reported seeing a flock of thirty to forty, which seems to be exactly what we saw today.

A flock of pelicans.

Another first for me was a muskrat. I’ve seen their lodges before, but this is the first I’ve seen one the animals.

muskrat

Finally, Blackwater has a lot of Great Blue Herons. We saw several on both visits, but they’re so beautiful, I thought I’d post a picture anyway.

heron

We didn’t see as many different types of birds as we saw last time, although we heard many we didn’t see. Also, we still haven’t seen one of the rare squirrels.

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A flock of snow geese takes off from a marsh at the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge in Maryland.

I’m trying to keep up with my commitment to myself to post everyday. Today, I put together a computer, so I’m a bit behind on posting. Perhaps I will be able to report how it went tomorrow.

Another quick post to keep up the rhythm.A Northern Mockingbird in a bush.

Ever since I learned that they exist, I’ve developed a mild obsession to see the endangered Delmarva Fox Squirrel. No, this is not a joke. There really is an endangered squirrel and I really would like to see it. Maybe it doesn’t quite rise to the level of an obsession. So, yesterday, my sister humored me and we went to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge on the Delmarva Peninsula in Maryland with the hopes of getting a glimpse of one of these critters.

Reader, we failed. In fact the only mammal we saw was a Sika Deer. Sika Deer are actually moreMockingbird 2 closely related to Elk than to the American White-tailed Deer. They’re native to Asia, but they’ve established wild populations in parts of the United States. Although they’re considered to be environmentally damaging in the U.K. because they can interbreed with the native Red Deer, in Maryland their presence is considered benign and they’re left alone.

We did, however, see a fair number of birds, including an uncommon one, a bald eagle. The only birds we saw that we haven’t seen in my sister’s backyard were aquatic birds. We saw Snow Geese, whose numbers were truly impressive, a Northern Shoveler, which took me a long time looking up ducks to identify, some Northern Pintails, quite a few American Coots and a surprisingly large number of Great Blue Herons.

Mockingbird 3The most charming to me, however, was a Northern Mockingbird. They’re common enough and there’s one that’s taken up residence in a neighbor’s yard and I can see it from my window with binoculars, so I didn’t have to go all the way to the Eastern Shore to get a look at one. I know it’s not advisable to anthropomorphize animals and project human emotions onto them, but I can’t help thinking that Mockingbirds always seem a bit pleased with themselves.

I spied a little gray bird that had just lighted on a bush and I quickly turned my camera on it. He turned around an looked back at me, then he jumped onto a high branch on a closer bush as if he wanted to be sure that I got a good shot, despite being blown about by the wind a bit.

Mockingbird 4