A handsome stranger pays us a visit…

The snow did come, and if the wind didn’t blow it into little drifts, there was technically enough to track a cat, which was the threshold for a “snow fall” that my grandfather always used to cite.

I saw a goldeneye drake in one of the remaining slivers of open water at the south end, but thought I’d have another chance with better light later, so kept moving. At the north edge of the open water, before the river is frozen over all the way to the falls, I spotted the gadwall drake amongst about two dozen mallards, but before I could get a picture, a mature bald eagle glided over on its way south, followed soon after by a red-tailed hawk. I wonder if that’s the same hawk that appeared to chase off an eagle before.

Anyway, the birds of prey parade woke up our belted kingfisher over on the opposite shore, and she called out so that I could spot her.

I didn’t see our kestrel again, but as I approached the falls, I was surprised to see another kingfisher. Best of all, this one was a male, if only because variety is the spice of life, right? I tried to point him down river, but he was too busy fishing. Priorities, I guess.

He flew across to the far shore, and I couldn’t get a better picture, so I shifted my focus to the crow pecking at a fish frozen into the ice in the middle of the falls.

Then a robin landed on the ice at the far edge of the open water.

Finally, once I was distracted by the crow and the robin, the kingfisher caught a fish, of course, and proceeded to work on it behind a whole bunch of branches. You can just make it out in his beak in my best attempt below. Perhaps now it will take my advice and see what there is to see downstream.

Things settled back down on my walk to the north end. The only sight to see was another crow chowing down on something it found on the ice.

My walk back south was so uneventful, I finally took advantage of all the thick ice we now have and collected a bunch of bottles and bags stuck in branches out on and over the water. That should make it easier to get a pretty picture when the ice melts and all the warblers return in the spring.

When I got back to the open water, the gadwall drake was still there, so here he is.

Lastly, as I was working with the gadwall, I heard the distinctive little chirp of a winter wren. I spotted it soon enough, but the little stinker made me spot it a half dozen more times, chirping all the way to help me out, before it conceded to pose for this picture.

By the time I reached the south end again, the goldeneye’s sliver of open water had shrunk nearly in half, mostly from accumulated slush, and he had opted to find a bigger sliver, I guess. Oh well. I’m sure we’ll see him again.

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.

2 thoughts on “A handsome stranger pays us a visit…

  1. Dear Andrew
    I get so much enjoyment from your posts. They are informative, humorous and an interesting tale of our city park. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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