Last weekend, I took this picture of the swamp milkweed (asclepias incarnata) growing next to our pond. It's a very pretty plant, with coloring and flowers very similar to Joe Pye Weed. The grasses growing with it, although nice looking, are actually the evil reed canary grass, a very invasive grass that likes wetlands. It needs to be removed, but there are only so many hours in the day, and at the pond we've allocated those hours to removing the buckthorn first.
Anyway, as I was snapping away at the milkweed, I noticed a pretty butterfly perching on a willow branch. I hastily took a few pictures, but I didn't expect much. Whenever I use the zoom on my camera, I get blurry shots - between me moving and errant breezes outdoors, I never seem to be able to get a good zoom picture. But voila, I actually had one that worked. If anyone happens to know what type of butterfly this is, just let me know in my comments.
Then, I noticed movement on the pond, and suddenly a female hooded merganser and her 9 ducklings appeared. They were swimming very fast - probably spooked by Spouse and me tromping around at water's edge - but I managed to get one halfway decent photo, seen below. We had seen the male and female earlier in the spring, but this was the first time I had seen their offspring.
But, sadly, this little family is minus one duckling. On Wednesday morning, as Brix and I were in the yard for his morning constitutional, I watched as the merganser family headed out onto the pond from under some brush. As they were appearing in the sunlight, a hawk (probably a broad-winged hawk, as they are most common on our pond) swooped down from a tree above and grabbed one of the ducklings. Mama merganser did a lot of flapping and anxiously gathered up the other ducklings, but there was nothing to be done - Mr. Hawk had his breakfast.
Yet another day in the life of the pond.