Yeah, I’m something of a plane nut, and while I failed to photograph a hawk in flight, and did catch a swan family, first up was this Cessna Super Skymaster. It caught my eye just as Bren and I and Higgins and Eliza started our walk yesterday. I knew it was an unusual combination of tractor and pusher propellars (one in front, one behind) and the twin booms were obvious – and honest, even before I got home and looked it up in Wikipedia, I knew it was a Cessna, but I couldn’t remember its name. Turned out Cessna made about 3,000 of these, stopping production about a quarter century ago. No, I don’t know why the tractor propellar seems to be feathered while the pusher one is doing all the work – but maybe some pilot out there can explain it!
Of Hawks and Monarchs
Meanwhile, back closer to the ground the hawk – I’m 90 percent sure it’s a marsh hawk – gave me another fruitless flyby. I haven’t seen it since I took these shots more than two weeks ago. Yesterday it came cruising by and I drew a blank – just couldn’t get the camera’s autofocus to grab it. But we were able to see three Monarch butterflies. The temperature was about 52 with not much wind and all three were at the south end where I have seen the most Monarchs and all were seen within about 10 minutes.
What bothered me was the possibility that these are the result of a release of some Monarchs hatched in captivity because the morning New Bedford Standard-Times had a front page picture of a Monarch that was released, but all I could learn about it was in the caption which read in part:
. . . a monarch butterfly released by breeder Una McGurk on Sunday as part of Bioneers by the Bay, a three-day environmental conference that took place downtown.
Was there just this one? or many? They could have easily made the short flight from New Bedford to Gooseberry, assuming they’re on the way to Mexico – where many have already arrived, by the way. So were the three we saw part of that release, or just random stragglers of the naturally-grown sort?
Now what I am sure of is that this is a family of Mute Swans – two adults flanking two juveniles, who were heading east-to-west across Gooseberry.
It was one of three and they all were marked pretty much the same, predicting a mild winter similar to the first one I saw a week or so ago. (See this post.)
Now this was a bit of a mystery. I am assuming it’s a Slate-colored Junco, but the slight tinge of yellow underneath has me puzzled and so does what looks like a band on its leg. (I never notice such things until I get home and start reviewing the images. )
No mystery here – just a pair of Common Eiders – youngsters I think – maybe preening for a date?