A bit of normalcy returns…

I am always surprised to rediscover how more comfortable single digits above zero are than single digits below zero. Add a smidgen of sun and a patch of blue sky or two and it was a very nice morning in the park. To mark the occasion, we had a visitor we haven’t seen in weeks and at least one new arrival.

First up, on the lower river, I spotted a pair of red-breasted mergansers for the first time in a while. The common mergansers were still their, but we’ve seen plenty of them lately.

Further north, the flock of goldeneyes continues to grow, and they continue to be as shy as ever. Here’s the best shot I could get through the bushes and the steam fog, then a shot of them taking notice of me as soon as I got clear of the bushes, and finally a shot of them taking off. Sorry kids!

Just beyond that spectacle, where the ice begins to cover the entire river, a group of mallards have settled in with three little interlopers: a male and now two female buffleheads. I got one or two nice shots of him alone when the sun shone and the fog cleared, but we’ve seen plenty of those already. Whenever the three were together, though, they managed to do so only in the fog and shade. Sneaky little devils. Maybe we’ll get lucky and their numbers will start to swell like the goldeneyes.

At the falls, the steam fog has formed some nice hoar ice on the branches over the river. The slightest breeze caused it to fall like snow.

Finally, above the falls, there were just a pair of mallards and one male goldeneye. As I watched, the mallards decided to check out the buffet below the falls, and here’s the male climbing down the ice.

Plenty of woodpeckers, song birds, and even a couple of squirrels today, but no raptors, and nobody particularly photogenic, so we’ll have to wait until next time.

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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