Ice Ice Baby

A lot of sleet and ice was forecast, and we did get enough for UWM to cancel classes today, but not really enough to do a lot of damage, thank goodness. There was a break in the precipitation early this afternoon, so I hopped over to Estabrook to see if anyone was around.

The usual cast of characters was on the river, dozens of mallards, a few goldeneyes, and the one pair of buffleheads. Here’s a goldeneye hen up on the ice again.

And here’re our buffleheads running through some rough water.

Plenty of woodpeckers were hard at work, and here’s a hairy male.

I did see a wet-looking red-tailed hawk, but it stayed so far on the west side that I couldn’t get a picture to come out. Instead, by the pond someone has been throwing down bird seed, and here’s a “gray-headed” darked-eyed junco. I read that it is “very similar to [the] “red-backed” form but with [an] all-pale bill.”

There were plenty of house sparrows, house finches, and even chickadees, but I like the looks of this American tree sparrow, who will be soon on its way to the shores of Hudson Bay and points north. Eat up, little buddy!

With the dark skies today, the ice certainly hasn’t had its chance to sparkle in the sun, but it made this tangle of vines catch my eye, nevertheless.

Finally, I must report that our exciting new bird yesterday was indeed a rare bird to see but not really a new bird for us. Here it is again so you don’t have to click on a link to refresh your memory.

The experts weighed in, and it turns out to be a merlin, and not the sharp-shinned hawk I thought it was. We’re in the year-round range for sharp-shinneds, and only in the migration range for merlins, but this is the fourth time one has let me take its picture. The first was January 9, 2021, then again on January 12, 2021, and finally on October 2, 2021.

Oh well. I’m sure we’ll see a sharp-shinned hawk eventually.

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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