The banded water snake or Southern water snake (Nerodia fasciata) is a species of mostly aquatic, nonvenomous snakes found in the central and southeastern United States. They have a flat head, and are fairly heavy bodied. Their appearance leads them to be frequently mistaken for other snakes, including the less common cottonmouth. The specimen you see here is close to four feet long. I was very fortunate to have seen him first. Moving very slowly I was able to get comfortably close. One of the snakes’ favorite meals (a frog) sat motionless for a moment and allowed a single photo. The purple martin (Progne subis) is the largest North American swallow and has arrived and claimed their domain. The Red-winged Blackbird, (Agelaius phoeniceus) female, is collecting nesting material. The Turkey Vulture, (Cathartes aura), is a bird found throughout most of the Americas. The Turkey Vulture is a scavenger and feeds almost exclusively on carrion. It finds its meals using its keen vision and sense of smell, flying low enough to detect the gasses produced by the beginnings of the process of decay in dead animals. Something hidden in the grass brought this fellow down from the skies. All of the photos were taken at the Lilypons Water Gardens in Frederick County Maryland.
Female red-winged blackbird with some nesting material.