Early migration is in on us, and the breeding and nesting is also underway. In Prospect Park there are two Mute Swan nests that I've seen, huge affairs with one very large and protective mother on top of each. Even away from the nests these giant birds seem even meaner than usual, evidenced today on in the Lullwater. I heard a commotion, and ran over to find a swan chasing after several Canada Geese. The Canadas are already pretty big birds, but as you can see from the photos the Swan dwarfs them, especially when it spreads its wings. It hasselled the geese for several minutes, chasing one and then the other, snapping and flapping. Eventually the Canadas got tired of it and moved on, leaving the swan the tyrant king of the river.
On the more romantic side of migration, the Ruddy Ducks are finally into full plumage, and their rusty flanks and bright blue bills are hard for any hen to resist. Shane Blodgett and I were lucky enough to witness a little courtship ritual, where the males and females took turns standing up in the water and vigourously flapping their wings. The whole flock of thirty seemed agitated , and there was a lot of dashing about (at least dashing by Ruddy Duck standards).
This beautiful Blue Winged Teal was also around with a female, and has been hanging around the lake and Lullwater for the past week. These birds are rare for Prospect Park, so it's been nice having them around for awhile. They compliment the Pintail pair that's also been cruising the lake, also in their spectacular spring plumage.