Sure, it was -5°F out this morning, -20°C for our European audience, but the sun was up, the sky was blue, the snow was white, and the forecast wind hadn’t come up yet, so it was quite a nice time to visit Estabrook. Plus, this just happens to be post number 500, so there’s that.
Anyway, down on the river, the open water continues to shrink, but the birds continue to forage in it. The first one I saw was a common merganser drake partially obscured by the thick steam fog coming off the water.
A bit beyond him, I started seeing goldeneyes. I counted at least two drakes and four hens, and here are a pair together. He might be having a front defroster issue, as the gadwall drake did a while ago, but I can’t say for sure.
At the north edge of the open water, the sun started to reach down to the surface, and lit up this frosty common merganser hen for us.
As I was busy counting the mallards, looking for the gadwall, noticing the hooded merganser hen, and seeing who else was there, look who was methodically going about his rounds and marking his territory on the far shore.
Sadly, I can’t say for sure whether this is the same coyote we saw back in December, but I loved seeing him nevertheless.
He didn’t stay long, and my fingers were too numb to take any more pictures, so I put my heavy mittens back on and continued north. I didn’t see a bird at the falls, which might be a first, and kept right on going to the north end. There I was thrilled to find yet another marvel, this Cooper’s hawk looking out over the frozen river and soaking up some sunlight.
Here it is again showing off those long tail feathers that supposedly “help them maneuver through trees in pursuit of songbirds.“
On my way back south, I finally found one of the many busy chickadees willing to pose just for a moment for this portrait.
Now the other side.
Back at the open water, the common merganser hen, was taking a break from fishing and appeared ready to take a nap.
Lastly, back at the south end again, I heard the kingfisher but couldn’t spot her. Instead, here’s a female hairy woodpecker fishing something out of a branch with her tongue. Yum!
I see we’re in for a warmup tomorrow, back into the 20s, and I bet almost no one will mind.