They must have kept the mold from yesterday because the weather this morning was just as nice. The critters, on the other hand, were done with their little “welcome home” display, and they were back to their usual shy and skittish selves. That’s fine with me, though, because finding them is at least half the fun.
This first critter tipped me off with its distinctive call, which I am not sure I’ve ever heard before. It sounds quite similar to the sparrow hawk in South Holland, however, so I had an inkling when I heard it. Sure enough, it was a Cooper’s hawk, and I do hope it finds who it was looking for. Plus, get a load of all the jewelry it’s sporting! We’ve seen a band on an eagle before, but Cooper here has two!
The great blue herons are huge, and they don’t have a lot of places to hide, so if they’ve come to fish, I can usually find them. Here are the two I saw today. One with the frilly neck feathers,
and one without.
Instead, the exciting sight today was a completely new bird for us. When I first spotted it hanging out on the river with a few mallards, I thought it might be a young male blue-winged teal, whom we see often enough and who sport a white vertical stripe down the front of their face..
It was small, as a teal, too, but the body feathers looked more like those of a scaup, whom we have seen, but less so than the teals.
Well, it is neither a teal, nor a scaup. Please give a warm, Estabrook-Park welcome to our first ring-necked duck (Aythya collaris), a female! She is a diving duck, as she demonstrated a few times this morning, and “of all the diving duck species, the Ring-necked Duck is most likely to drop into small ponds during migration.” She is probably on her way from breeding grounds, which start in northern Wisconsin and extend all the way to Hudson Bay, to wintering grounds that start in Tennessee and extend to the Gulf of Mexico.
I can’t believe that I still get to see new critters. After all that excitement, this poor raccoon didn’t even bother getting out of bed.
And this handsome buck just took off across the soccer fields.
There were a few other little birds, but let’s save those for a rainy day.