HIKING WITH FRIENDS is popular these early days of Spring now that the hills are cloaked in green and wildlife abounds among the flowering plants. It's the perfect social outing -- a healthy activity full of adventure and chance encounters with nature.
Of course, there's an abundance of Canadian geese "expectant" parents foraging for food while waiting for their chicks to arrive. Each pair has separated itself from the flock and they remain close together as they go about their daily activities.
In the peninsula foothills we catch a rare sight through our telephoto camera lens -- pairs of normally timid wild turkeys poking their heads above the tall grass. These guys are always alert for dangerous preditors lurking around.
But the "odd couple" we recently encountered weren't pairs at all... In fact, they made separate appearances along the baylands hiking trail. This Greater white-fronted goose appeared lost among the Canadian geese, possibly looking for its mate.
Its distinctive pink bill and short orange legs separate the white-fronted goose from its Canadian cousin, and so it remains apart from the others until it finds a suitable partner. There will be more arriving here on their migratory flight from the north. We humans might assume all geese are essentially the same, but they know the difference among their species.
The second "odd" sight we encountered in the baylands was this hard shelled turtle, slowly making his way up a hill and several hundred yards from the water.
He was about ten inches in length, appeared healthy and determined to move along, so we didn't disturb his progress. But I have no idea how he got here, miles from any fresh water ponds. Just a mystery encounter for me -- and he was certainly not going to tell!