More change in the air…

It was 46°F at sunrise yesterday morning, a new low for South Holland this season, I believe, and I read that temperature change is one of the many signals birds use to know when to head south. Thus, I’m sure that you won’t be surprised to hear that ducks are not the only critters on the move around here. Besides the flocks of Canada and graylag geese noisily taking to the skies these days, we’ve got a new arrival in town, fresh from its breeding grounds above the Russian Arctic Circle! Give a warm welcome to this greater white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons).


Plus, as with many of the mergansers, golden eyes, and buffleheads in Estabrook Park, this is their final destination. This is their Miami Beach, and I’ll try to remember that as I’m trudging to campus through freezing drizzle in January. Anyway, here’s a few who were kind enough to pose together as they sampled the fresh buffet of nice green polder grass succulently coated with heavy fresh dew.


Meanwhile, the starlings are starting to congregate, and here are two of the characters making their odd radio noises together as they warm up in the morning sun. I still have a hope of seeing a murmuration or two, but I haven’t seen any groups that big yet.


I did see another huge flock of cormorants flying over towards the coast this weekend, but the new sight was this flock of jackdaws amusing themselves in the updraft at the edge of a building.


Finally, I heard this group of goldfinches long before I saw them, as they noisily foraged for seeds on an alder tree and blended in with its valiant attempt at autumn coloration. It appears that we are in their “all year” range, so perhaps they are not planning to go anywhere and are just enjoying each other’s company on a beautiful fall day.


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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