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Great Bird Sightings at Ellington Agricultural Center

April 25th, 2010 · No Comments · bird identification, blue heron, ducks, ellington agricultural center

NOTE: The following bird / waterfowl sightings took place on Friday, April 23, 2010…

pair of mallard ducks in creek at Ellington Agricultural Center, Nashville, Tennessee

I hiked the Roger’s Walk trail (and then some) today, as has become a very enjoyable new habit of mine. Just when I think I’ve seen all there is to see on this short Nashville hike, nature presents fresh surprises.

I would even dare to say that I have had as many interesting wildlife sightings during my Ellington Agricultural Center hikes as I have on my Radnor Lake hikes – and that is saying a lot.

Ever since I found the beaver dam at Ellington a few weeks ago, I typically trek through the area every time I hike there in the hopes of actually photographing the beaver — as opposed to capturing merely the various beaver evidence that is to be found near the beaver dam (gnawed trees and shrubs, piles of gnawed limbs, footprints in the mud, and so on).

great blue heron - Seven Mile Creek at Ellington Agricultural Center, Nashville, Tennessee

At one point during the Roger’s Walk hike at Nashville’s Ellington Agricultural Center, the trail parallels Seven Mile Creek, which is the largest stream on the Ellington property (there are several creeks flowing through). There are a couple of side trails that lead directly to Seven Mile Creek, and I always take them. This stretch of Seven-Mile Creek is where I have a large percentage of my reportable wildlife sightings, and besides that, I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring streams and creeks since childhood.

male mallard duck in creek at Ellington Agricultural Center, Nashville, Tennessee

The exploration of the usual short stretch of Seven-Mile Creek really paid off on Friday. In the area where I typically see a mating pair of Mallard Ducks, I instead saw a Great Blue Heron standing in the creek. I have not even seen a Great Blue Heron at Nashville’s Radnor Lake yet this year, so I was quite surprised – and pleased. I got a couple of decent shots from afar.

female mallard duck in creek at Ellington Agricultural Center, Nashville, Tennessee

Later, I explored a different creek at Ellington – a smaller stream which eventually empties into Seven-Mile Creek. I was surveying the area near the beaver dam (which I have already written about in this blog) in the hopes of actually seeing the beaver for the first time. Instead, the very pair of Mallard Ducks I had seen at Seven-Mile Creek was just below the beaver dam, apparently foraging for food. It looked as though the male was doing most of the foraging, whereas the female was hanging out just a couple of feet away on a gravel bar. A few minutes later, the female followed the male Mallard Duck as they went back downstream toward where I usually see them.

pair of mallard ducks in creek at Ellington Agricultural Center, Nashville, Tennessee

Despite my hiking in very close proximity to the pair of Mallard Ducks, they did not fly away, nor did they seem alarmed at all. This presented a fantastic photo opportunity, of which I took full advantage. The male Mallard Duck is one of the more colorful and beautiful of the local waterfowl, perhaps second only in color to the Wood Duck.

great blue heron - Seven Mile Creek at Ellington Agricultural Center, Nashville, Tennessee

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