Starting to get frisky…

The amazing streak of cold weather continues, and I didn’t see a single mammal this morning, but for the birds who are prepared for it, not only does it not seem to slow them down, they’re actually starting to get frisky!

I had barely gotten into the park when this pair of nuthatches caught my ear. Well, his song caught my ear, but when I looked up, I spotted her first. I read that you can distinguish him from her by her greyer cap compared to his blacker cap. Plus, he was doing all the singing, and she was just soaking it in along with the bright morning sun.

Within the same earshot, this male northern cardinal was staking out his territory.

On the lower river, there wasn’t much new. The goldeneye flotilla was in the same spot as yesterday, but not quite as big, and some of them appeared to be trying to take a nap, although you can see that the male was keep his goldeneye on me.

Above the falls, there were a few mallards, one male goldeneye, and the pair of buffleheads, but no eagles today. The one fascinating event I got to witness was the goldeneye, who had been diving with the buffleheads, suddenly making a beeline for the mallards, and the half-pint male bufflehead popping to the surface right behind him and in hot pursuit! I guess, as they say with dogs, it’s the size of the fight in the bird as much or more than the size of the bird in the fight.

Here’s the male goldeneye a moment later explaining to a couple of male mallards that he actually wanted to swim over towards them ’cause that other spot is pretty much grazed out now.

Here’s the male bufflehead escorting his date the heck out of that dump!

There was nothing new at the pond this morning, but there was a lot of activity in the trees lining the Oak Leaf Trail. Here are a pair of either downy or hairy woodpeckers checking each other out, bill to bill, but my one lousy shot doesn’t reveal the cues that would enable me to tell them apart. There was also some energetic movement before this scene, but you’ll just have to imagine that, or watch this nice video someone else posted on youtube.

Anyway, this male downy was kind enough to sit for a proper portrait.

Finally, this goldfinch wasn’t doing anything new or interesting, but just looked too nice against the nice blue sky to pass up.

Published by Andrew Dressel

Theoretical and Applied Bicycle Mechanic, and now, apparently, Amateur Naturalist. In any case, my day job is teaching mechanics at UWM.

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