I see them at various times of day at the pond, sometimes they are alone, sometimes a pair come around, and other times all four are flying about. They don't seem to be secretive or solitary as one bird book says. I would almost call them a tree heron, as they spend a lot of time in the trees. I am not sure if this foursome is sharing the pond as a place to hunt for food or if they are looking for nest sites. They should be laying eggs soon, wherever they nest.
The pond is silent again this year. Bella is not scaring up any frogs as she approaches the water's edge. I am wondering if too many predators have scoffed up any adults and tadpoles, predators such as the 6 painted turtles, the kingfisher that rattled around for a few days, the small colony of green herons, and probably a few mammals too.
Insect-feeders are still prevalent around the pond. It is the place to hang out for many birds -- a pair of wood ducks flew from the tall red maple this morning. This is the same tree favored by the warbling vireo, a nondescript little brown bird that carries on with a warbling song all day. The flicker, grackles, red wings, mourning doves, Baltimore oriole, all stop off in the big red maple with its expansive view of the neighborhood.
The barn swallows and tree swallows share the aerial space above the pond, skimming gracefully over the water and then over the surrounding fields. The small birds -- yellow rumped and yellow warblers -- stay somewhat hidden in the thicker underbrush.
I am struck on these thrice daily walks to the pond and around the fields, how much the tallest red maple trees are used by all birds. The red-tailed hawk holds dominance in one of the bigger maples. The one I check every dawn. The hawk is often there, casually looking at other birds land in the tree, and keeping a most watchful eye on the fields below for a careless meadow vole.
The red maples and the pond is the place to be.