moderate drought at the pond

7.30.22 ~ Beach Pond

We are in a moderate drought and it is evident at the pond. Normally those rocks are covered or almost covered with water. On this sultry early morning all the waterbirds were hanging out on the opposite side of the pond but I did my best with the zoom lens to get a few pictures. Some snowy egrets were here before in 2016 during another drought. The greater yellowlegs I’ve never seen here before, but had seen one on Cape Cod in 2015.

snowy egret
snowy egret
greater yellowlegs
great blue heron

I’m grateful to the folks in the What’s this Bird? Facebook group for helping me to distinguish between the greater and lesser yellowlegs. A new life bird for me without realizing it at first!

Lesser Yellowlegs, #73 (with mallards)

Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes: Uncommon to fairly common migrant in coastal wetlands and inland ponds, lakes, rain pools, and marshes.
~ Frank Gallo
(Birding in Connecticut)

The Lesser Yellowlegs is a dainty and alert “marshpiper” that occurs in shallow, weedy wetlands and flooded fields across North America during migration. It’s smaller with a shorter, more needlelike bill than the Greater Yellowlegs, but otherwise looks very similar. It breeds in the meadows and open woodlands of boreal Canada. Like many other shorebirds, the Lesser Yellowlegs rebounded from hunting in the early 20th century but has declined again from losses of wetland habitats. It is on the Yellow Watch List for species with declining populations.
~ All About Birds webpage

Also, the swamp rose mallows are starting to bloom! Another summer wildflower I look forward to seeing every August.

I was so focused on those birds that I almost missed the flowers, which were on my side of the pond. But I’m glad I finally noticed them because seeing all that lovely pinkness made my day.

20 thoughts on “moderate drought at the pond”

  1. Beautiful shots of the birds and added beauty with the flowers. Thanks for sharing. It is sad to see the low level of the water. Places are either having floods or droughts. Sad

    1. Thank you, Peggy. So true, too much or too little rain seems to be the way things are for the foreseeable future. Sigh. We seem to recover from our droughts, though, so far, unlike the endless drought out west.

  2. Interestingly, I see all theses birds in FL but the Yellowlegs. And, yes, I love the pinkness of the mallows. While walking my dog this morning, we saw a family of 5 otters run across the road! So special to see!

    1. How exciting and wonderful to see the family of otters running across the road! We used to make a lot of trips to Florida when I was a child because we had relatives living in Fort Myers and West Palm Beach. But I think it was really the amazing birdwatching opportunities that called to my mother!

    1. Thank you, Eliza! For some reason it seems to do better when there is a drought. Last summer we had so much rain and there were very few flowers.

  3. Congratulations on lesser yellowlegs, #73 new sightings! This is a thrill. Although we have pipers, to my knowledge we do not have lesser yellowlegs. Great grounding yourself with the pink pretties at your feet!

    We are in extreme drought. I do better in the warm climate than the cold climate. I keep the AC well maintained and designed yardcare for minimal work knowing that I’m aging out of that lifestyle. I have 2 Yardcare men that I can text when I’m ready for a service. I’m minding the water restrictions rules without allowing the grass to become a fire hazard. All around my home most people have allowed the yards to dry to dead and some trees are slowly dying. That’s a bit nerve racking for me. I don’t try to control other people. I just focus on my property and that’s plenty! But I cannot think I another place that I would rather live out my life. So here’s where I am by the sea.

    1. Thank you, TD! So sorry your drought has become extreme. (This morning ours was downgraded from moderate to severe.) At our condo complex we have the option of maintaining ourselves the small gardens in front of our units. But I think it’s getting to be that time to let the landscapers take over. I just don’t think they will do what I’d like them to do. It’s nice that you can decide what your yard-care workers will do. Fortunately my river birch doesn’t seem to be bothered by the lack of rain. You’re very blessed to be living by the sea in spite of the drought!

  4. What a nice collection of birds you saw today – I think the snowy egret is bigger than the great egret, something I learned when I saw my first egret and amazing about “lesser” and “greater” in a shorebird’s name – hope the “lesser” variety don’t get a complex. Between the mallard’s orange feet and the lesser and greater yellowlegs with their glow-in-the-dark neon yellow legs, what a treat you had. Now looking at the swamp mallows, maybe the wild hibiscus I mentioned in another comment was a swamp mallow – it was the same pretty pink color. What a shame about the drought. We had so much rain the last few days, drenching thunderstorms each night, that I’m sure my favorite haunts are all flooded this weekend. I wonder if your great blue heron was molting?

    1. Thank you, Linda. Actually the great egret is larger than the snowy egret and the snowy egret has yellow feet. They can be hard to tell apart at a distance. Until the snowy takes flight and those huge yellow feet are revealed, leaving no doubt to its identity. 🙂 I had to rely on the experts at the bird identification group on Facebook to tell the difference between the greater and lesser yellowlegs. I still can’t really see the difference! I also wondered if the great blue heron was molting as he seems to be hanging around for days very quietly with his head down much of the time. Perhaps he’s vulnerable and not wanting to attract attention.

      I think your wild pink hibiscus (hibiscus pedunculatus) and my swamp rose mallow (hibiscus grandiflorus) are in the same family. Sometimes regions have different names for the same plants. But I’m not a botanist so I can’t be sure. Wish we could take some of that rain off your hands!

      1. I did notice those pale yellow legs on the egret. I didn’t realize this egret was smaller, but seemed showier with the feathers. They are beautiful birds.

        The heron wasn’t moving and looked a little mottled. I saw the heron at the Park this morning and it’s the first time I’ve seen it in ages. It also was tucked into an alcove and I would have missed it except someone was using their phone to take a picture.

        You are more of a botanist then me, believe me Barbara, but yes they looked the same as my wild hibiscus and it was in the middle of the swamp. Funny because the other walker and I both noticed it, so I knew it was something new. It was very pretty.

        As of Tuesday we will have cooler temps and no humidity – unfortunately I have an eye doctor appointment. Wednesday is nice too so will enjoy it then. This weekend was not nice for walking, so I just walked at my regular park, no big park treks for me – it was 74 when I left at 7:25 a.m.

        We are expecting another storm tonight and tomorrow will not be nice at all. Guess I will be sleeping in as storms start overnight and continue all day.

        1. I also wonder if the heat might be getting to our great blue herons… Not a botanist at all! I just googled the common names we were using and that led me to some Latin names — lol! Hibiscus is a very large genus. Our temperatures are due to come down 10 degrees on Wednesday but the humidity is supposed to remain tropical until Friday. Good luck at your eye doctor. At least you can keep your mask on there. Wish some of your storms would get here two days later. Most have been fizzling out in New York before getting to Connecticut. Sigh…

          1. Well you are a good detective, quasi-botanist then. 🙂 Sorry you have to endure more humidity or as my weatherman calls it “air you can wear.” We have another storm tonight, later than predicted originally – supposed to be this afternoon, but now arriving around 10:00ish. The eye doctor would not be so bad since we both wear masks and he has the big plastic shield, it is the other people handling my glasses I’m not so keen on.

          2. The weather folks are predicting a great weekend with low humidity — yay!!! An brief respite on the horizon… I hope to get outside and do a little (a lot of!) weeding. I quickly water the petunias and verbenas on the balcony each day but cannot bring myself to stand out there and deadhead them. A few scattered storms in Connecticut yesterday but not here. The “feels like” temperature made it to 99°F yesterday. Even higher inland…

  5. Barbara, these are so beautiful! I especially am drawn to the snowy egrets — all that pure white color amazes me, kind of like they’ve been bleached and hung out on a clothesline to dry! And you’re right: the pinkness of these wildflowers is spectacular!

    1. Thank you, Debbie! I’ve never seen this many snowy egrets here before, in fact, most years I don’t see any. They are magically white, so much brightness set against the gray, foggy, hazy mornings. But their legs and feet are getting dark with pond mud. More pink and white coming in tomorrow’s post!

  6. What a joy to visit this pond with you today, Barbara. I liked seeing first the photo across the pond from where you stood, and then what you captured with your zoom lens. I enjoyed each lovely wader and their swampy surroundings. And the swamp mallow is indeed so beautiful, a cheerful and calming color, and serene nature greeting.

    1. I am so grateful we have this pond so close by to visit. The scenery and parade of bird visitors is ever-changing, keeping us keenly aware of the endless circle of seasons. Sometimes I think the swamp rose mallows are the only gifts August has to offer, so they draw me out of my (air conditioned) nest to appreciate them. Thank you so much for your visit, Jet!

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