‘Tis the season for baby animals in Maine. And it doesn’t last long. They sure do grow up fast.
(While species in Maine are born at different times, spring is the season in Maine when many animals give birth and eggs hatch.)
Baby ducks seemed to compete for my attention as I walked along the wetlands of Essex Woods last week. Most were young mallards, though I also came across a group of tiny wood ducks, which I could identify only because they swam with their stately mother.
Some ducklings were quite small and fuzzy, while others were starting to become lanky and more independent, reminding me of teenagers.
I was photographing two tiny ducklings swimming after their mother, all the while walking sideways along the trail, when I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. I turned to see a group of larger ducklings loitering in the middle the gravel trail. Some were even lying down, lounging in the sun. They were so close that I had to back up to take photos of them with my 100-300mm lens.
Eventually, they moved off the path and into a nearby pool filled with lily pads, and I could continue on my walk.
A few minutes later, I paused to chat with another walker about the ducklings when she spotted a beaver swimming across a pool behind me. Thanks to her, I was able to get a few photos of the beaver’s wet head before it disappeared into the vegetation.
A few photos of songbirds later, I came across a painted turtle digging a hole in the gravel at the edge of the trail. It was digging with its back legs, and I can only imagine the hole was for laying its eggs. Soon after, I spotted a second painted turtle basking on a log, and a third painted turtle walking along the trail.
While I’ve been to Essex Woods many times, there always seems to be something different to photograph.