The Lucille Ball Duck / Humber Bay, November 7, 2018

If you are of a certain age, you will remember red-haired Lucille Ball. With her Cuban band leader husband Desi Arnaz, they were stars of a popular 1950’s TV show called I Love Lucy. 

In the show, Lucy was always referred to as having red hair, although, as it was filmed in black and white, we had to take their word for it. Lucille Ball was from western New York State and I remember visiting a museum devoted to her in Jamestown, NY.

In the bird world, there is a duck named the Redhead and we had a good view of one this morning:


It is interesting that some birds are named for very specific appearances. Yellowlegs and Yellowthroat also come to mind.

This morning’s Redhead, a male, was being very chummy with a female Mallard. I wonder what will happen at mealtime? Redheads dive for their food while Mallards simply tip their heads into the water.

Here is Humber Bay as it looked this morning:

7 degrees, overcast and windy at the start

Bird Highlight: Redhead


Botany Highlight: Winged Elm

Winged Elm (Ulmus alata)

I often wish that I had taken post secondary studies in biology although I don’t regret my long musical career one bit. If I had more botanical training, I wouldn’t be as confused as I am about the tree species pictured above which, I believe, is the Winged Elm. The branches clearly have wings and the leaves are obvious elm leaves. There are perhaps a dozen planted at Humber Bay and most are doing well. The problem is that this species is not supposed to thrive north of Missouri. Please let me know if you know more about this.

Species list: red-necked grebe, double-crested cormorant, great blue heron, mute swan, Canada goose, mallard, gadwall, northern shoveler,  redhead, bufflehead, long-tailed duck, hooded merganser, red-breasted merganser, peregrine falcon,herring gull, ring-billed gull, belted kingfisher, eastern phoebe, black-capped chickadee, American robin, house sparrow, rusty blackbird, American goldfinch, white-crowned sparrow, white-throated sparrow, song sparrow.  (26 species)

Great Blue Herons were in abundance this morning!

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

as were Gadwall:


Two of our most common “winter ducks” were also present.

Red-breasted Mergansers (female)

Long-tailed Duck (male)

Our most exciting event was a Peregrine Falcon in hot pursuit of a Rusty Blackbird which, unfortunately, I was unable to photograph.

Miles Hearn

                                    NATURE POETRY

 ‘O dreary life,’ we cry, ‘O dreary life!’
And still the generations of the birds
Sing through our sighing, and the flocks and herds
Serenely live while we are keeping strife
With Heaven’s true purpose in us, as a knife
Against which we may struggle ! Ocean girds
Unslackened the dry land, savannah-swards
Unweary sweep, hills watch unworn, and rife
Meek leaves drop year]y from the forest-trees
To show, above, the unwasted stars that pass
In their old glory: O thou God of old,
Grant me some smaller grace than comes to these!–
But so much patience as a blade of grass
Grows by, contented through the heat and cold.   

 – Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)


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