A Rare Summer Solstice

Happy Summer Solstice everyone! It’s the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. I can’t believe summer is already here; seems like spring just began yesterday. This year’s solstice is extra special: it coincides with the Strawberry Moon. The Strawberry Moon is a name given by the Algonquin tribes to the full first full moon of the summertime. They knew that fruits, such as strawberries, were ripe for picking during the Strawberry Moon. Today is a rare event: the full moon and summer solstice only occur on the same date around every 70 years. The next time the strawberry Moon is to happen on the summer solstice is June 21, 2062. Pretty cool, right?

I’m happy to say that I am on summer break since my school year ended last week. I plan on focusing more my bird studies now that I have time off (of course relaxing too!). This summer will be the summer of shorebirds: the new summer feature will begin on this blog sometime this weekend. I also hope to add more informational posts on bird behavior over the next few months.  I’m excited for things to come!

This afternoon Dave and I visited Haddon Lake Park. I honestly didn’t expect to see to much. Here’s why: when its hot, especially mid-day, birds want to stay cool just like we do. So it’s harder to go birding in the summer because everyone is hiding away to try to beat the heat.

I was pleasantly surprised though. It was pretty busy at the lake, with a variety of species. My favorite part was a pretty unique family of ducks.

There are a lot of waterfowl who live at the lake. They are mainly Mallards and Canada Geese, but there are some domestic species too. We were looking at some resting Mallards when all of a sudden two large brown ducks came waddling quickly out of the water. They didn’t look like female Mallards because they were too big. Then three more ducks appeared; another brown, one all white, and the other black and white.

They were the oddest group of ducks I’ve ever seen. The original brown ducks were about the size of the all white one, but have blue speculum patches on their sides like a Mallard. The black and white one looked like it came straight off a farm. I think we were seeing hybrids of a mix between one of those white domestic ducks and a mallard. They certainly had features of both. You never quite know with ducks because they hybridize all the time.

They stood around for about a minute then got in a line to continue on their mission, whatever that was. Then the five of them formed a little pod and scurried across the grass. As they waddled away I couldn’t help but giggle at them. Their little family was just so adorable. They certainly made my day :-).

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Author: BirdNation

I am an avid birder, teacher, and nature lover. I primarily birdwatch throughout New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania.

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