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I had never seen a live specimen before and they are as gorgeous as people claim. Can't really call nature center "wild" but was great to see them (three pairs) in some functioning habitat.

It was a blast watching my girl light up feeding ducks for her first time and a privilege to have her spending time like this with her grandparents.

We were down south in St George (weak little Subarus need oil changes 馃) and taking my baby girl for a stroll. Hopefully my daughter's luck keeps up throughout her life as she's seen whooping cranes and wood ducks decades before I had.

Grateful to have such lower elevation places so close to home to help escape these short, cold days of December. In fact I believe the days start officially getting longer tomorrow afternoon. I might have to break my new-ish drinking rule and celebrate the solstice with a sip of two midweek.

Happy Solstice everyone.

*Trigger Warning for trolls: there was a Subaru but no clown shoes involved in this sighting

*Sorry for the horrible photos
Bird Beak Plant Organism Feather

Jeans Water Sky Tree Cloud

Water Bird Tree Branch Beak
 

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All of it. Hiking is terrible without a gun or rod in my hands.
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Wood ducks are awesome. I saw somewhere on the interwebs someone shot a Mandarin duck. Those two are about as pretty of bird as I've ever seen. There were mandarins in a park in France that I saw a lot.
 

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Mandarins, if I鈥檓 not mistaken, are not 鈥減rotected wildlife鈥 in the US.

Wood ducks are great. I鈥檝e had the opportunity to help on a few nesting projects in the past and they respond very well to that. It鈥檚 fun to watch a population grow in an area. Unfortunately you can shoot out a colony really quick after building it over many years if people aren鈥檛 careful.
 
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