In the Doghouse

Am I the only one who feels like Oliver Wendell Douglas living in an eccentric society overrun by millions of dogs, cats, and other domestic animals that have assumed the identity of Arnold Ziffel?

Just asking.

Before society drifted away into a prosperity-induced coma of fantasy, it was the only dog you would see in a restaurant.  (Public Domain image by Hansuan Fabregas)

Migratory Waterfowl on Local Ponds and Lakes

Following the deep freeze of a week ago, temperatures soaring into the fifties and sixties during recent days have brought to mind thoughts of spring.  In the pond at susquehannawildlife.net headquarters, Green Frogs are again out and about.

Green Frogs
A pair of Green Frogs seen today alongside the headquarters pond.  A sign of spring?

But is this really an early spring?  Migrating waterfowl indicate otherwise.  Having been forced south from the Great Lakes during the bitter cold snap, a variety of our tardy web-footed friends belatedly arrived on the river and on the Susquehanna Flats of upper Chesapeake Bay about ten days ago.  Now, rising water from snow melt and this week’s rains have forced many of these ducks onto local lakes and ponds where ice coverage has been all but eliminated by the mild weather.  For the most part, these are lingering autumn migrants.  Here’s a sample of some of the waterfowl seen during a tour of the area today…

Snow Geese
Like other late-season migrants, Snow Geese take advantage of open water on area lakes until ice forces them south to the Atlantic Coastal Plain.  In a little more than a month from now, they’ll begin working their way north again.
Tundra Swans and American Black Ducks loafing on an ice-free lake.
Tundra Swans and American Black Ducks loafing on an ice-free lake.
Mute Swans
The non-native Mute Swan has become an invasive species.  Because they are predominantly non-migratory, groups of Mute Swans congregating in valuable wetland habitat can decimate these aquatic ecosystems with their persistent year-round feeding.  Their long necks help them consume enormous quantities of benthic foods that would otherwise be available to migratory diving ducks during their autumn and spring stopovers.
Gadwalls
Small flocks of Gadwalls will sometimes spend the winter on ice-free vegetated ponds in the lower Susquehanna region.
A mixed flock of diving ducks on a small lake.
A mixed flock of diving ducks on a small lake.  Let’s take a closer look!
Redheads, Lesser Scaup, and Canvasback
Six Redheads, three Lesser Scaup (top row left), and a Canvasback (upper right).
Redheads
Redheads.
Buffleheads
Buffleheads.
An adult male Lesser Scaup.
An adult male Lesser Scaup.
Lesser Scaup
A female (right) and a first-winter male (left) Lesser Scaup.
Canvasbacks and a Ruddy Duck
Canvasbacks and a Ruddy Duck.

With the worst of winter’s fury still to come, it’s time to say farewell to most of these travelers for a little while.  With a little luck, we’ll see them again in March or April.

Striped Skunk
Our official susquehannawildlife.net prognosticator climbed out of its winter hideout today to have a look around.   Then, without hesitation, the forecast for 2023 was issued, “Winter Stinks!”

How to Remove a Mole in Just Five Minutes

Some consider them things of beauty.  Others reckon them hideous—better kept out of sight and out of mind.   They’re moles, and here’s how they’re removed in just five minutes.

Let’s begin…
…First Minute…
…Second Minute…
…Third Minute…
…Fourth Minute…
…Fifth Minute…
Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) with an Eastern Mole (Scalopus aquaticus).

Moles—they’re an acquired taste.