If you asked me what could have made it a better morning in the park, I don’t know what I could say. It was just perfect, and right off the bat, I was surprised to see this flotilla of common mergansers on the lower river.
And, as seems to be the case with mergansers, they were not alone. Curious.
By the abandoned bridge abutments, where the river freezes over, some little critter visited the west bank and then came back. Maybe a raccoon?
Further north, above the falls, the pair of buffleheads, a couple of goldeneyes, and even a common merganser all continue to hangout with the main group of mallards.
As I was trying to get a decent picture of the river, this little cutie was trying to get a sip of water from a seep coming out of the bluff behind me. I’m gonna go with a veery (Catharus fuscescens), a little bit north of its usual winter range, because of the uniform cinnamon-brown above with indistinct spotting on the chest, compared to other thrushes.
Finally, I headed over to the pond, and was trying to capture a nice image of the many birds feasting on the staghorn sumac seeds, including this sparrow/finch and European starling, when they all suddenly took off.
Sure enough, the Cooper’s hawk had just flown in and perched high over the island.
Sadly, I was not able to get around to the other side to get what would have been a gorgeous picture before it took off again. Instead, I was left with this even dozen appearing to be waiting for a brave one to show that it is safe to go back to the buffet.