Wow! What a morning! The sky was clear, the winds were calm, and there wasn’t as much frost coating the logs that I’ve been using to cross high water. They sure were treacherous yesterday.
The night-herons were in their usual spot and starting to attract some attention. I met a guy yesterday and two new guys this morning that I’ve never seen before, and they all mentioned the night-herons. The light was too low when I first went by, but a little beam of sunlight was shining on this red-bellied woodpecker, so I took her picture instead.
Below the woodpecker, this pair of wood ducks found some magic early morning light reflecting perfectly off the dried grass on the far riverbank.
Up at the pond, there were more wood ducks, mallards, our intrepid pair of geese, and this one red-breasted merganser drake.
As I was waiting for the merganser to drift into just the right spot, this red-winged blackbird foraged in the grass at my feet,
This cottontail hid in the bushes,
And this golden-crowned kinglet paused for half a second between hops from branch to branch.
On my way back to the river, I was surprised to find an eastern phoebe hunting from the lights strung over the beer garden.
Down by the falls, I bumped into Lisa, and we headed north to check on the owl(s). We eventually saw one, on our way back south, and just as hidden as usual lately, but the exciting find today was this waterthrush. At first I thought it was our first northern waterthrush of the season, and if you’ve been with us for a while, you may recall they were common for a week or so last fall. Upon closer inspection, however, I believe it is our first ever Louisiana waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla), but I’m waiting on the experts to weigh in.
At the far north end, we saw plenty of geese, mallards, and a few more red-breasted mergansers and a few more wood ducks, but no buffleheads today. Instead, back on shore Lisa noticed this thrush hanging out with a pair of fox sparrows. I first thought it was a hermit thrush, as we saw Friday, but it was acting bolder and had a lot more red color on its back, so maybe it’s our first Swainson’s Thrush of the season. Another one for the experts, in any case.
On my way back south, as I was approaching the herons again, this European starling really wanted someone’s attention, if not mine.
At last, I made it back to the herons, and here’s one in the better light.
If this keeps up, I’m gonna need a bigger blog!