The weather this morning in Estabrook was way better than forecast. The temperature was 21°F instead of 20°F, winds were 13 mph instead of 14 mph, and so the “RealFeel®” temperature was a full 8°F instead of the measly 6°F predicted. Ha! Plus, the sun was out and there was hardly a cloud in the sky. What a way to start the day!
It was so nice out, the critters couldn’t even wait for me to arrive, and Anne noticed deer walking past our window as I was putting my gear on, so I grabbed my camera and ran out the door in flip-flops to capture this trio of tulip tasters in our neighbors’ back yard. I wonder if they are the same trio I spotted crossing the river back in January. If so, they sure get around!
Well, I eventually did get all my gear on, swapped my flip-flops for boots, and headed down to the river to see who else was up, and this little guy greeted me right away at the south end again, but this time it was across the river so I could watch it enjoy its breakfast.
Farther north, winter wrens are still around, and I finally caught one catching its breath so I could take a picture.
At the north end, I was surprised to find this odd-couple of mergansers. On the left is a female or immature male red-bellied merganser, and on the right, with the distinct neck line, is a female or immature male common merganser.
A pair of buffleheads were still there, as well, along with a pair of wood ducks, who preferred not to be photographed today.
Best of all, I finally captured an image of a crazy-elusive pied-billed grebe. Every time I noticed the little stinker with my binoculars and tried to take a picture to confirm what I thought I saw, it would dive and not come back up no matter how long I waited. Obviously, it has no SCUBA gear, so it simply surfaced some place I wasn’t looking, but I couldn’t believe how good it was at that. Nevertheless, it wasn’t quite good enough to evade me forever, and so here we are:
On my way back south, I spotted the great horned owl again in its new favorite hiding place, but not every picture can be a portrait, right?
Up on the soccer fields at the south end, I finally spotted a brown-headed cowbird foraging amongst two dozen robins, and yes, I really did count 24 robins out on the lawn, but it’s a big lawn.
Lastly, just as I was about to exit the park and cross Wilson Drive, I spotted another brown creeper in the nice morning sun so I could take a sharper picture than yesterday.
Oh, I almost forgot. The overnight cold snap created some interesting ice formations on the river, and here are a couple of them for all you art-shot lovers.
Okay. That’s really it for today. I see the forecast for tomorrow morning is almost the same as today, but with less wind, so just perfect. See you then.