The wind still blows…

It wasn’t howling quite as bad as yesterday, and the sun was shining brightly, but the wind-chill was below freezing, so I didn’t see any warblers this morning. I did see plenty of other birds, however, and some even smiled for the camera.

As I came north along the river, I spotted a European starling that has selected a nesting cavity, more natural than the back side of the police station and probably excavated by one of the many woodpeckers in the area, and was already hauling in nesting material.

Right below the starling, this mallard hen was taking a break from the water.

And out on the river, a pied-billed grebe drifted by.

Up at the pond, I saw just two pairs of wood ducks this morning, and here’s one of the drakes.

And the solo, red-breasted merganser is still hanging out. He must have lost out in the dating game this year, and now any old body of water with a decent fish supply will do. I’m sure he’s disappointed, but he sure spruces up the pond, doesn’t he? Better luck next year!

While I was lying down on the lawn to take the pictures above, this guy came over and demanded that I take his picture, too. Here you go, Buddy!

The pond seemed to be a little bit out of the wind, so there were a lot of little birds foraging for their breakfast. Here’s a swamp sparrow,

an eastern phoebe,

And a hermit thrush gleaning seeds from last years’ staghorn sumac.

On my way back to the river, this goldfinch was singing his heart out and still waiting on a couple more yellow feathers to come in. Dang supply-chain issues!

This brown creeper heard that I mentioned “along the bottom side of a branch” but didn’t have a good example picture to show you, so now we have one, and nope, I didn’t just rotate an image 90°. They really are this crazily acrobatic.

Oh, and look who was up for a change.

At the edge of the bluff, I found this eastern towhee who was perfectly comfortable down in the brush and wouldn’t come out no matter how nicely I asked.

At the river, a great blue heron was on break from fishing for the moment.

And a robin was already on her nest. She didn’t move while I was there, and I didn’t stay long, so we can hope that she’s already busy laying her first clutch. Hopefully, she’ll be off foraging next time I go by, and I’ll be able to sneak a peek inside the nest to see how she’s doing.

Finally, this female yellow-bellied sapsucker must have heard about the character yesterday who hid his yellow-belly, because here she is showing hers off for all the world to see. Thanks, sweety!

Lastly, there are two new flowers blossoming in the park, and the first is this pretty little Siberian squill right beside the river.

And the other is this striking and aromatic eastern skunk cabbage beside a stream that flows into the river.

I know that’s a lot to take in, but this is a busy time of year, and tomorrow is forecast to be gorgeous, so I’m afraid that if I don’t keep up, you’ll never get to see them all.

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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