Winter Returns!

Our February thaw was quite short lived, and temps were back in the teens again this morning with overcast skies and a nice stiff breeze out of the north, but we didn’t get any of the snow that this system is dumping to the south of us. Oh well.

Just as the warmth seems to have drawn in dozens of mallards yesterday, the cold seems to have sent nearly all of them away, and I only counted five today. Plus, they took the buffleheads and the mergansers with them and left us with only a few goldeneyes. Here’s a sole drake right above the falls.

I spotted the kingfisher flying by, and there were plenty of little birds about and sticking close to the ground. Here’s a white-breasted nuthatch, …

A red-bellied woodpecker, …

A black-capped chickadee, …

And a downy woodpecker.

At the far north end, I was pleasantly surprised to find our pair of red-tailed hawks on the east side for a change to grant me an rare audience. Perhaps the coyotes put in a good word for me. “He’s clumsy and noisy but slow and harmless.”

I only spotted one at first, and it patiently waited as I inch-wormed my way across the frozen ground to get this shot.

By then, however, a murder of crows arrived and flushed the second hawk out, which then glided across to the island as the crows followed.

Meanwhile, the first hawk seem to ignore the fracas and let its mate deal with them.

Eventually, the crows gave up their campaign, and the second hawk came back to the east side.

After all that, I left the love birds alone and continued north a bit to check on where I had spotted the second large flock of mallards yesterday. Today, however, that entire patch of open water was frozen back over and there wasn’t a fowl to be seen.

Tune in tomorrow to find out if the hawks stick around, any of our fowl return, or any new-comers show up.

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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