Two new birds to add to my list…a grey catbird and the barn swallow. The catbird was in a bush just a few feet off the trail at the lake. The barn swallows I first saw…where else…near a barn. But yesterday I went back to the lake around dusk and watched the swallows swoop in and out from underneath a metal walkway by the dam. I snuck up within about 20 feet of the walkway and watched them perch & groom themselves while sitting on a wire. I noted that some had whiter bellies and others had rustier bellies. After looking it up in Sibley’s I realized that they were just males and females. COol.

Finally, my mother & I saw a new duck that was difficult to identify…there was an adult, presumably a female, with about 6 ducklings. At first glance, it looked like a mallard by it’s shape and size, but the coloring was all wrong. She had a black head, eyes and bill, a grey back and a white chest. Her babies were like a litter of puppies…some looked just like her, others had whitish backs and still others were kind of brownish. They were definately engaged in dabbling behavior, not diving behavior.

After consulting two bird books and my brother (the duck hunter), I’m fairly certain I’ve made a positive identification of what species they are (or aren’t). Any thoughts?