The weather app on my phone reported -8°F this morning, so I was curious to see what activity I could find in the park. The only mammals I saw were two guys and a dog, but the birds were mostly going about their business not much differently than yesterday.
On the lower river, a trio of female common mergansers were all keeping watchful eyes on me as they waited out the cold on the river ice, but they opting not to budge as I took their picture. There were a couple more, out of frame, but I thought these three made the nicest composition.
Just north of them, this pair of mallards floated by in the thick steam fog rising off the relatively-balmy 32°F water. You can see little beads of ice formed all over their heads. Brrr.
Finally, the goldeneyes were in their usual spot, a bit south of where the river freezes all the way across. They’re very shy, so I stay on the trail a bit up the bluff as I pass them, but they saw me anyway. The male swam downstream first, then appeared to call to the three females, who soon swam down to join him. I could hear the call, and see his outstretched neck, but I never got to see him with his head against his back and beak sticking straight up. Maybe next time.
North of the falls, just a few mallards were dabbling on the far side.
This lone male common merganser was waiting out the cold
And keeping him company, was this lone female goldeneye. An odd couple.
When I got to the pond, it was quiet. Too quiet, I thought, and as I stood there trying to spot even one junco, a Cooper’s hawk flew over my shoulder and into the far trees out of range. It was as though I had flipped a switch. Suddenly the chickadees were chirping, the juncos were hoping, and the cardinals were flitting from branch to branch. Here’s a red-bellied woodpecker back to work on that tree trunk and a goldfinch gulping down a morsel it had just found.
The Cooper’s hawk reminds me that I forgot to tell you yesterday that I saw another bald eagle, but this time gliding at about tree-top-level over the softball field on the way from the pond to the beer garden. I didn’t manage a picture, but sure did enjoy the sight. Can you imagine if the NFL could arrange that kind of flyover during the National Anthem? There wouldn’t be a dry eye in the stadium.