February Thaw!

Wow! What a change in the weather. It was 45°F and sunny by the time I got to the park late this morning, and most the regulars were on the river, but the big difference was the number of mallards. I counted close to 100 birds!

The nice pictures, however, are of the bufflehead drake drying his wings, …

A goldeneye hen, …

And a goldeneye drake.

I also saw the common merganser hen, but not the hooded merganser hen, the kingfisher, nor the kestrel. At the far north end, I watched the pair of red-tailed hawks head out together and soar south over the west side.

Since the trail was so muddy, I opted to swing by the pond for a change and see how might be around. There were chickadees, juncos, house finches, and northern cardinals, but this female was just about the only one willing to sit still for a second.

Finally, I spotted a bird I’ve seen plenty of times before, but not in the park until today, a house sparrow (Passer domesticus). Here’s a male with is signature “black bib”.

And here’s a female in more-subdued colors.

Lastly, if you’ve been thinking, “Sure, it’s warm now, but it’s been so cold for so long that the ice got nice and thick, and it must still be plenty thick enough to walk on today,” you’d be mostly right. Most of the ice was still plenty thick enough to walk on today. It was just that one spot, where it must have been thin from only finally freezing over just recently, that was the problem. Be careful out there.

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.

3 thoughts on “February Thaw!

  1. Sounds like the photographer went down. I do dislike walking the sidewalks on such days. I hope you weren’t hurt.

    Carolyn Bucior

    Liked by 1 person

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