Birds abound!

After being dissappointed by my last two outings, I went to the park this morning with no expectations at all. I didn’t get there particularly early, and I didn’t care that the sky was gray. As always, the critters didn’t care one way or the other about my expectations and were busier than they’ve been lately just going about their business.

I had barely made any progress north along the river when I heard the rattle of a belted kingfisher, and I quickly found her straight across the water, but she must have already spotted a fish because she didn’t immediately take off when she saw me.

Instead, she dove straight down into the water and emerged with this tasty morsel. Breakfast is served!

Further north, I was thrilled to find a winter wren again and not far from the last one we saw. Perhaps it’s the same bird.

I hadn’t even reached the falls yet when my luck with little birds continued with this golden-crowned kinglet.

Things settle down for a bit until I reached the north end where I spotted our two resident divers: the hooded merganser hen and her trusty sidekick, the bufflehead hen.

There were more gulls on the water than I believe I’ve ever seen before, at least 20 of them, but they were all on the far side and spread out, so not very photogenic. These mallards, on the other hand, were on our side of the northern island and could barely be more closely packed. Thanks guys!

I had collected quite a few cans by then, so on my way back I climbed up to the beer garden to put them in the recycling there, and figured, what the heck, might as well go check out the pond at this point. Sure enough, it was frozen over shore to shore, and the best picture I could get is of this tiny island off the north shore, where we’ve seen turtles, blue herons, green herons, wood ducks, black ducks, and mallards on warmer days.

Finally, just as I was about the leave the park, this female cardinal convinced me to take just one more picture.

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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