Seeing Red

It has been a cold week and today a few snow flakes are falling.  Here are a few red things I saw this week, as well as  a few shots of the swans and water fowl at Lake Katherine.

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This tree caught our attention at Lake Katherine this morning.  It was a bright spot on a cold morning.

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Back in our yard the fothergilla bush still has all its leaves and was very bright this week.

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Male northern cardinal at bird bath.  Quite a few birds have visited the bird bath since it froze.  Sometime they seem a little puzzled and other times they pick at the ice or snow.

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I saw the male red-bellied woodpecker at the bird bath, but it had flown to the mulberry tree before I got my camera.

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Six swans a swimming.  The swan couple with their four cygnets.  The young swans are pretty much grown up now.  I understand that these are mute swans.  Wikipedia says that mute swans are an introduced species and not native to North America.  They are sometime considered an invasive species when they reduce the density of submerged vegetation.

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We were chatting with someone while looking at the swans and he mentioned that you can tell the adults because their beaks are a brighter orange, whereas the cygnets beaks are still a pale orange.  This man said they will fly away and only the couple will return in the spring.  The cygnets will find new homes next spring.

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There were a lot of ducks in the lake and a lot of them were busy feeding, like this.  We did see one mallard couple doing a little head-bobbing dance.  As we watched we realized it was a mating dance and soon the female dove under water and the male was on top of her for a few seconds and then they swam away together.

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When we got to the lake there was a large gathering of geese.  Maybe it was the dog on the left that chased them and they all started dashing to the water.  A lot of dog walking goes on here.

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Canada goose portrait.

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Beaver activity.  We saw quite a few places around the lake where the beavers have been busy chewing on trees.  From our observations it seemed like the staff took the wire mesh off certain trees to let the beavers gnaw at them, while other trees they want to keep are well protected.  We did not see any evidence of a beaver lodge, but maybe we were not looking in the right place.

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