The snow is done, but the wind and the cold press on.

The thermometer said, “-7°F”, and the wind said, “let’s make that feel like -33°F”, but the snow was fresh, and the sun was out, so I hustled out the door this morning to see who might be out and about in Estabrook Park.

The river has frozen over below the falls, which has backed up the water so much that the surface drop at the falls is barely a foot, instead of the 3 or more foot drop I saw just yesterday. Above the falls, the river is completely frozen past the two islands and all the way to the Port Washington Road bridge at the north end of the park. Perhaps this will bring us some golden eyes, buffleheads, or scaups.

Today I only saw some common mergansers and a few mallards in the water and a few geese on the ice, same as yesterday, but the great horned owl was hiding someplace better protected from the wind, we can hope, so I hadn’t even taken a picture by the time I turned back south and headed over to the pond.

There, in the bushes and trees along the north shore, where the wind out of the northwest was blocked and the sun was doing its best to warm things up, the hardy little birds were having quite a party.

I saw a half dozen house finches, and I’m sure there were more. Here’s a male soaking up the sun.


The big surprise was about a dozen cedar waxwings.


Here are a couple amongst the berries overhanging the water, and I was happy to discover that the pond ice is thick enough to support me while I lined up this shot with the sun at my back.


Here’s a nice and poofy American robin.


There was a pair of downy woodpeckers, and here’s the male.


Finally, here’s a black-capped chickadee pausing for just a moment from its morning foraging.


I find it absolutely astounding that these little beauties can find enough calories every single day on those seemingly-bare sticks to fuel the little fires they must have under those feathers to keep from freezing all winter long. Right? If they didn’t prove it, year in and year out, there is no way I would believe it possible.

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.

8 thoughts on “The snow is done, but the wind and the cold press on.

  1. I’m with you Andrew, I don’t understand how they manage to survive this cold, but they have their secret ways. A Christmas miracle??? All best, Jean

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