Whistle while you work

There exists a certain level of enthusiasm—an ecstatic glee, if you will—when I stumble upon a bit of nature’s grandeur with which I’m unfamiliar.  This happens nearly every time I immerse myself in our planet’s glory.

So it was a week or so ago when I came across a species of duck I hadn’t seen before.

I wish I had better photos to share of these creatures.  Unfortunately, they maintained their distance from me—which was quite a ways away—and never let me approach near enough to capture a respectable image.

Still, I’m happy I can at least share these with you.

What you’re looking at are black-bellied whistling-ducks (Dendrocygna autumnalis).  I came across them in a shallow pond left over from recent heavy rains.  Tucked in amongst exuberant grasses reaching for the sky and trees thick with spring foliage, the early morning light offered little help as I discovered and approached them.

Two black-bellied whistling-ducks (Dendrocygna autumnalis) in early morning light (187_8733)

Even worse, I constantly found myself slipping and sliding in thick mud, splashing and splattering through hidden puddles, and stomping and stamping in feeble attempts to find solid footing.  The noise I was making wouldn’t have made a mountain feel calm, let alone four ducks enjoying an early morning dip in a private pool.

With poor light and even worse conditions, I did my best to grab some pictures of them as they grew increasingly uneasy with my stumbling advance.

Two black-bellied whistling-ducks (Dendrocygna autumnalis) in early morning light (187_8735)

Poor quality notwithstanding, I found myself eagerly looking through more than a dozen photographs hoping to have something to show for my troubles.  Perhaps you’ll be more forgiving of the results than I am.

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