They appear to be a male (on right) and female Hooded Merganser. According to my field guide, these ducks live here year round.
Yesterday was another unusually warm day with temperatures in the high 60s. I went up to our big pasture to collect cow manure for my garden. I often see Red-tailed Hawks soaring above the hill in the pasture and yesterday was no exception.
I had to focus and shoot at the same time to get pictures. Probably the clearest shot was this one behind a tree. You can see the broad, red tail and the wide wings.
The Red-tailed Hawk is very common around here--especially along roads. I also saw a pair yesterday near our house, appearing to be scoping out the bird feeders.
Finally, I took a picture of a Blue Jay's nest.
The nest is quite large, about 10 inches in diameter, and located on a strong oak limb. I remembered that I had written about it in my paper journal last year:
May 8, 2007
"Last evening, I noticed Blue Jays just starting to make a nest in the big oak tree in front of the house. By 11:00 a.m. today, it looks like the nest is finished already. "
May 15, 2007
"At 2:30 p.m., I heard the Blue Jays fussing, a little louder than usual. Out front in the oak tree where the nest is, I heard and saw two Blue Jays calling, then four more came to the tree. That's when I saw an American Crow going toward the nest. All six Blue Jays attacked and steered the crow away. The crow flew away. The way the Blue Jays worked together to chase the crow away was impressive!"I admired the Blue Jays a little more then. So, I won't get so mad at them when they try stealing eggs from the Wood Thrush nests which causes a similar commotion.