Birds, big and small.

You’ll be happy to know that I did make it to the park yesterday around noon and again this morning, so I finally have some new pictures to show you.

Yesterday afternoon got off to an exciting start when I notice a gull squawking about something up ahead and found this scene when I was finally able to take a look. At first, I thought the gull was harassing a red-tailed hawk, but once I got a chance to zoom in on the picture I took, the mottled brown and white underside told me it was a juvenile bald eagle instead. Sweet! We haven’t seen one of those in a while.

Better still, it soon parked itself over the far shore and allowed me to get close enough for this picture. Get a load of those talons. I bet those’ll leave a mark, right?

As if that wasn’t enough raptor for the day, look who was also out and looking for some lunch at the far north end. One of our two red-tailed hawks was perched on a lamp post behind the chocolate factory.

Here’s another look from a different angle with the red brick of the chocolate factory in the background. Despite my best efforts, I could not position myself to get that darn window out of the background. Sorry.

The third exciting find of yesterday was a pair of goldeneye drakes on the open water just north of the hawk. It appears that they haven’t all flown north yet. In fact, I spotted three of them this morning, and here’s one with a little morning sun shining on him to bring out the iridescent green of his dark head feathers.

There were also plenty of mallards on the lower river this morning exploring all the spots recently exposed by the receding ice, and here’s a drake who was maybe just tired of dabbling and wondered if there wasn’t an easier way.

At the north end this morning, I arrived in time to find both of the red-tailed hawks soaring directly overhead, and I managed to capture this image of one of them. You can really see the difference between them and the juvy bald eagle from yesterday above.

The downy and hairy woodpeckers are as busy as ever these days, and here’s a male downy at eye level from yesterday at the north end with his diminutive beak and a hint of black on white checks along the side of his tail.

And by happy coincidence, here’s a male hairy at eye level from this morning with a beak almost as big as his head and a pure white edge along his tail.

By the pond this morning, I was treated to the rare treat (Doh!) of a dark-eye junco willing to endure my gaze for a moment.

Even as I was taking the junco portrait above, I could hear the distinctive call of a white-throated sparrow nearby, so I set out to see if I could spot him. Well, this was my lucky morning, because he was nearly right in front of my face and also uncharacteristically unphased by my presence.

Finally, here’s another shot of one of the goldeneye drakes hanging close to some mallards for comfort.

Lastly, there were a lot of tracks in the trace of wet snow we got overnight, and it looks like at least one beaver took a long walk on the river trail. I believe you can see the impressions from its long. rodent toes in this image.

I would have thought for sure that I’d have caught one still up and on the ice in the daylight by now, but not yet, so keep your fingers crossed.

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 “Birds, big and small.

  1. The drake pic is hilarious! Was that an Ostrich impression or just plain denial of upcoming winter weather… Either way, I loved the pic! Actually, all your pics are great and your interpretations and comments are awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

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