Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Are we sure it's winter?

This afternoon was about 60 degrees and sunny.  Amazing!  How could anyone possibly resist walking through the park?

I started by Hallett where I had a nice view of the juvenile red-headed woodpecker.  There was one dead stump of a tree that was apparently made of woodpecker bait.  First a red-belly was on it, then a downy, then the red-head came over.  The downy left but the red-belly stayed:

The red-belly is in gorgeous light but the red-head was in the shadow, I wish they had switched a few times. They were both there for a few minutes, and then the red-head flew off.

Around the pond I went, stopping briefly to admire one of the wood ducks:

Up towards the boathouse and the ramble, with a quick break to admire these yellow-bellied sap suckers:

Look at that yellow belly - it ~does~ exist!  :-)

Into the ramble where there were lots of crews doing lots of work.  And this Cooper's hawk was right by a large portion of that work, seeming completely undisturbed by it:

Another birder pointed it out to me, I would have walked right by it.  I actually did hear a squirrel alarm call, but I figured the guys working had freaked out the squirrels.  They actually had more sense than I gave them credit for!

It was a great day to walk through the ramble, not nearly as crowded as I had feared, except of course for the work crews.  But I'm so happy to see them, hopefully the rest of the ramble will open up again soon!  My next excitement was this gorgeous red-tailed hawk at the upper lobe:

Yep, enjoying a snack.  I keep trying to make it a blue jay but I really don't know what it is.

On the way past the lake on the way home I saw one more hawk, making it a hawk trifecta!  This one was pre-snack, and a titmouse voiced its disapproval with surprising bravery.

The hawk did not seem to notice.

And back home I went, tired and happy.  :-)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Duck Day!

Today I met a friend in the park and we walked around the reservoir looking for fancy ducks.  I sort of started without her though, because I went by the pond on my way up there and saw that there were three male wood ducks there!
Male Wood Ducks among Mallards

They have one lady friend.  Good luck Honey.......
Female Wood Duck

Stopped by the see the red-headed woodpecker, who is getting a tiny bit of red.  And for some unknown reason a blue spot.  Weird.
Red-headed Woodpecker

Going through the ramble I saw this Cooper's hawk, just, you know, hanging out
Cooper's Hawk

Then it was reservoir time, and fancy ducks abounded!

Bufflehead!  There were a few buffleheads, and we even got to see a group of about 8 of them flying.  They are so funny!

Shovelers!  A bunch of northern shovelers were there, mostly sleeping.
Northern Shovelers

Then we saw this Cooper's hawk fly in and went over to check it out.  Maybe it wanted a duck.  Pretty optimistic!  
Cooper's Hawk

Coot!  Last time I came up the coots stayed quite far away.  This time this coot came right over, apparently they are adjusting to being fed by tourists.  They have quite a head-bob when they swim, they do look a little crazy........
American Coot

Gadwalls!  To me these are the most elegant ducks.  I mean, if Frank Sinatra were a duck, I really think he would be a gadwall.  Don't they just look like they are dressed for a nice evening out at the opera, with a string of pearls and cufflinks?
Merganser!  This is the female hooded merganser, busily swimming along while being gorgeous.
Hooded merganser

This is the male, busily evading my camera's autofocus while being gorgeous.
Hooded merganser

It was a cold day but a great day for ducks.  Then we celebrated our ducky success with cocktails.  Yay for outings with friends!  :-)