What a fabulous morning! The sun came out, parts of the sky were blue, the trail along the river was hard as a rock, and I just about had the place to myself. Sweet! Once again, a chickadee dared me to take its picture, and out of a dozen shots, this is the best I could manage. Cheeky little rascals!
There was a lot of activity on the water, and just about everyone was there today: geese, gulls, mallards, mergansers, goldeneyes, and the tiny pair of buffleheads. The only one missing was that black duck we saw a couple of weeks ago. Sorry Lou. Anyway, here’s my attempt to capture the moment. Trust me, it was even better in person!
The sunlight made some pictures come out better than I think I’ve managed before.
Meanwhile, back on shore, I noticed this fascinating little phenomenon. I wonder whose breath that is freezing around the entrance to their little den, eh? If you can figure out whether it is rime ice or hoarfrost, please let me know.
Finally, by the pond, the sun really brings out the color of this finch, don’t you think? And I’m gonna go with purple finch (Haemorhous purpureus) this time because of the relative lack of bold streaks on its belly.
Lastly, as for our mystery raptor, I’m going to go with juvenile red-tailed hawk, after further research. All the other raptors (red-shouldered hawks, goshawks, falcons, harriers) seem to have noticeably longer tails, and I can find plenty of pictures online of birds that look like ours that are described by the poster as “juvenile red-tailed hawk”. Some examples are here:
Here it is side-by-side with our previous, easily-identifiable red-tailed hawk for comparison: