Thursday, February 3, 2011

Winter Walk with Paul

The winter walk series is back, today was the first day.  It was a bit dicey in places, but everyone made it through without injury.  :-)

Right at the beginning we saw this handsome red-bellied woodpecker, he was quite busy.  We actually saw several of these and several downies.  One person said she saw a flicker, but I didn't see it.

Then we thought we heard a hawk so we went to check it out.  It turned out to be a jay, apparently the best mimic in the park!  It sounded much more like a hawk than a jay to me, it was absolutely amazing.

We went up the road to the Swedish Cottage, where we saw some white throated sparrows, including this one, showing off the ice on his beak.  Isn't he sweet?

A female red-winged blackbird came over, she was gorgeous!  I love the feathers with an edge like this.  The female mallards have that too, and it's just beautiful.  It's funny that sometimes the female birds with the colors that blend have the super-fancy patterns.  They are sort of -eh- from far away, and once you see them up close, they're just incredibly gorgeous.

Continuing on to the castle, we heard and then saw a yellow-bellied sap sucker, but it did not want pictures.  Which is too bad because it was a really nice one, quite vivid.

Up to the maintenance field, looking for the thrush.  Seeing a fox sparrow, which I was too slow to get a picture of and then had a terrible angle on.

But finding the thrush, up in a tree, preening away!

Later he hopped across the snow, and then disappeared into the leaves beside the building.  Amazing camouflage!  I'm so glad he's still here, and has survived these crazy storms.

To the feeders!  The paths here were somewhat slippery, but we decided to brave it.  Going there we saw this white-breasted nuthatch, but not for long - he was outta there!

The goldfinches were here.  I love their wing patterns, they're really so striking.

This brown creeper was enjoying whatever someone had smooshed onto the tree.  :-)

Everyone panicked when this Cooper's hawk flew through!  It made a couple of passes before settling down here for a while.  The birds panicked only briefly though, they settled right back down.

Of course there were tufted titmice and black-capped chickadees everywhere, but no decent pictures this time.  They are so frustrating!  I did manage to get several pictures of branches where they ~used~ to be.

That was it for the group walk, we went back over to the west side and I continued on down the park road to walk home.  About 3-4 blocks down, where the little patch of open water is on the lake, I was scanning the ducks and geese to see if there was anything I wanted to see when a red-tailed hawk came in!  It looked like a juvenile to me but maybe it was just small.  It landed ~right~ above the ducks and geese, but they were not super impressed.  I think it was about the same size as a duck, it didn't look like it could really handle one.

So after a few seconds it flew and perched right over my head!  It was on a tree looking down onto the park road!  I tried to cross the street to get a better angle, but the only traffic I saw all day was at that moment, and then he flew away again.

It was a great walk, I'm glad I went!  :-)

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