Wow! What a difference 20°F makes. Even though the wind was still howling, it was almost 50°F, and the sun did peak through for a bit, which made for a pretty nice morning in Estabrook.
I saw three goldeneye drakes and one hen along with about 4 dozen mallards on the widening open water far below the falls. As I was trying to see if there were any pictures to be had, everyone took to the air, and I soon caught a glimpse of a young bald eagle gliding south over the east riverbank. The eagle kept right on gliding, however, so it didn’t take the mallards long to come right back to the river.
Here’s a hen with her flaps and gear down on short final.
Some of the landings were a little dicey with the runway still so icy.
Further north, where the open water ends, a pair of mallards were back at wandering around on the river trail and checking out the seeps coming out of the bluff. I wonder what they are after.
I only saw one lone herring gull at the falls, so I kept going, and about halfway to the north end, three different birds were busy foraging on a big willow tree sticking out over the water. This black-capped chickadee had found something interesting and was clamping it to a branch with its toes so it could work on it, as they do.
A nuthatch struck a pose for us, if just for a moment.
And a downy woodpecker glanced our way before continuing to peck away at the bark.
Between the islands, a quartet of Canada geese made a surprise guest appearance, and these two even caught some of that brief sunlight. Soon enough they’ll be back on the pond and jockeying for prime nesting sights on the island.
Finally, back at the south end, I was surprised to find this gray squirrel uncharacteristically slow to scamper away as I came up the trail.
Perhaps it didn’t want to let anyone else get a chance at swiping the walnut frozen into the ground that it has already invested some time gnawing on.
Our forecast is calling for rain this afternoon, changing to snow overnight, and then temps back in the 20s with some sun tomorrow morning. That might make for some pretty pictures, but it will be interesting to see what we actually get.