The crazy weather has finally subsided, at least in the park for the moment, and it was a gorgeous morning with blue skies, light winds, and seasonably cool temperatures, for a change. In fact, it was cold enough overnight to freeze up all the muddy trails along the river. Yay!
Many of the little birds, who were probably doing their best to avoid being blown clear across Lake Michigan over the past two days, were out and making up for lost time at the buffet.
Here’s a male northern cardinal picking something off a climbing vine, maybe little desiccated wild grapes. Yum!
A goldfinch was keeping closer to the ground, and I couldn’t see what it might be finding, but I’m sure it was something good. The fine folks in Ithaca report that “goldfinches are among the strictest vegetarians in the bird world, selecting an entirely vegetable diet and only inadvertently swallowing an occasional insect.”
Meanwhile, our carnivorous female belted kingfisher was also out collecting calories.
Right after I took the shot below, she dove about 10 feet straight down into the water, reemerged with some good-sized looking tidbit, and took off to find a perch where she could scarf it down in peace.
While I was collecting some litter from the riverbank that the wind blew in, this mallard hen, who perhaps mistook me for some other old guy with a plastic bag full of tasty treats, paddled right over to see what I had to offer. Well, by now you know the drill. “Sorry sweety. I’ve got nothing for you, and even if I did, it probably wouldn’t be good for you.”
She must have understood me just fine, unlike the goose a couple of weeks ago, and soon paddled back over to join her foursome at the salad bar.
Finally, as I approached the north end, this little cutie seemed quite less than thrilled to see me coming up the trail, as though I was interrupting something important. “Don’t worry, little buddy, I’m just passing through, and I’ll let you get right back to work as soon as I take this picture.”
Lastly, our favorite photographer at the Journal Sentinel, Mike De Sisti, has another fine image on page 3 of today’s paper, but it might only be available online to subscribers. In any case, this time it appears to be a soaring red-tailed hawk “near Milwaukee Mitchell Internalional Airport.”