Saturday, March 19, 2016

Winter Walk-off 2016

Each winter Les of A Tidewater Gardener hosts Winter Walk-off. in which he asks other posters to document a winter walk somewhere other than their own garden.

Each weekend after DH has tended to the horses, he takes a walk down to the creek. I don't usually go since I am usually spent by the weekend and it takes me all morning to get going. He would come back with tales of having seen wood ducks up close and flocks of turkey. Finally I thought, this is stupid. I am missing all of these opportunities to see what is arguably the most beautiful waterfowl on the face of the earth. So on March 1st I picked up my camera and headed down to the creek.

The trail to the creek is a loop, and if you bear left you come to the slough before the creek. The slough was created many years ago (before we moved here) by beavers damming drainage to the creek. Most of the large trees in the slough are water tupelo. The water appears brown due to tannins from fallen leaves,

although the water itself is crystal clear.

I walked to the edge of the slough to get a better look. When we spot wood ducks we usually see them here, although we've seen them in the creek too.

And score! There were two pairs of wood ducks on a branch spanning the slough. One pair flew off immediately but the other stayed, looking anxiously to see who or what was there.

I was able to get a few shots at the furthest range of my lens before they took off too.

Wood ducks usually pair up in January, months before the breeding season, but I thought I should look up when they start looking for nesting sites when I got back to the house. DH put up two wood duck houses in the slough last fall.

Thrilled that I had not only seen wood ducks but actually
gotten pictures of them, I continued down to the creek.

A lot of trees have fallen into the creek since we moved here. It's still beautiful on a clear day
when the sun sparkles on the water, but you couldn't easily canoe or kayak this stretch anymore.

The creek had recently overflowed its banks and the path was still underwater in several places.

Gene hadn't seen any turkey in a few weeks so I wasn't sure if they were still around on our farm. Turns out they are. Judging from the tracks a large flock had been through recently. In recent years wild turkey been nesting on our farm. Last year I saw a hen sitting on a nest right next to the main path between the floodway fields - I just happened to turn my head and there she was! Later on in the summer Gene saw a hen with 5 poults.

There were raccoon tracks everywhere too.

I hope you have enjoyed this winter's day walk. With the warm weather we've been having everything is a lot greener now!

When I got back to the house I read that wood ducks usually start searching for nesting sites in March. So we aren't going to go by the slough for a while in the hope that they will use the nest boxes.


  1. I loved the winter walk, Sweetbay ! Your pictures are always so beautiful !

  2. Thank you for this interesting, quiet and lovely winter walk. I'm glad you went with your DH, with camera in hand. How thrilling to see and capture those wood ducks with your camera.

    Happy Spring ~ FlowerLady

  3. What a fabulous place within walking distance from your home! Wood ducks are gorgeous and you got excellent photos! Thanks for sharing this magical place.

  4. You are so lucky to have that little piece of the wild so close to the house, and also lucky to have wood ducks. Living in the middle of a large city, I often seek escape, fortunately there are green spaces close by, and there is water everywhere, but sometimes you just need the woods. Thank you for walking with me again.

  5. Oh I love this! I do love your garden pictures very much but I also love nature walks like this. You need to do at least one for each season.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. Beautiful pictures. Glad you could capture the wooducks.

  7. Hi Sweetbay, so glad that you could muster up the energy and go for a creek stroll in the morning! It was totally worth it! I loved seeing how the land looks surrounding your farm. I have never seen a wood ducks before. They are so pretty! Hope they use the nesting boxes that your husband has put up for them.
    Wishing you a lovely Sunday!
    Warm regards,

  8. You've got some great beautiful photos. Wood ducks in our "preserve" near here are rare, but they do exist. I however, have never seen them, so lucky you! Hope you didn't get wet.

  9. How wonderful to have so a creek and a slough so close! I wish I had a creek to divert the raccoons in my own area. You got great photos of those ducks too. I hope you get photos of some ducklings later in the season - and that you share them on your blog!

  10. What an idyllic place for a stroll! Maybe the wood ducks are checking out the wood duck house!

  11. Very cool! I didn't realize you had a creek so close. I'm not sure I've ever seen a wood duck in person before. What a great experience. :o)


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