Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's January - What can I say...

Mixed clouds, some blue sky and about 27 degrees at 8:45 a.m., but by 10:00 it is 37 degrees!

Took a walk down to the river to see if I could find the mergansers again. I heard the red bellied woodpecker near the pond on the way down and later in the stand of trees bordering the upper gardens and soccer field but never did see it - however, we had a beautiful pair in our backyard a few days ago. That was a nice surprise.

Some kind person is feeding the birds by leaving seed on a picnic table down near the river. (I may join this effort myself). At any rate, it attracted song sparrows, tree sparrows and white throated sparrows whom I have pictured here, sharing their dining table while a pair of mourning doves watched from above. Sadly, the mergansers were not there but I'm sure they will reappear.

As I walked along the river I saw a few robins, a mockingbird and some goldfinches. I hit the upper gardens from the back side. A cardinal, tree sparrow and robin were foraging away on the ground. With the crunching snow and cool temps, I try and imagine what it's like to have to find food all day long. I'm constantly amazed by the fortitude of these little creatures.

Nothing much happening in the lower gardens. Very quiet. The light is changing though and I know that spring will be coming and I can't wait!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hooded Mergansers!

31 degrees and rather gray at 7:30 a.m. It's been two weeks since I've been able to get to the park and I really had to get over there!

The lower gardens were covered with blue jays and not much else at that hour. They were very active and raucus.

Didn't see much in the upper gardens except a few goldfinches and besides I wanted to look for the owl and see if there was any chance it would still be there so I decided to walk down the path behind the gardens to the river. No owl. As I got closer to the river though, I finally heard and saw some birds. Lots of titmice, chickadees and a downy woodpecker. I heard something which made me think I had frightened a large animal, but it turned out to be a rabbit that high-tailed it out of there.

The river looked pretty well frozen, so I had no hopes of seeing any ducks. I heard some birds near the Nahanton Street (bridge) part of the river and headed down that way. There was a huge flock of mourning doves which were frightened by my boots crunching in the snow. As I looked down the little embankment I realized the area near the bridge was not frozen and I thought I saw some ducks. I climbed down and was so excited to see that they were mergansers! They appeared to be three female hooded mergansers but no male. Where is he?

The soccer field had American Tree sparrows and cardinals and I heard the purring of the red-bellied woodpecker. Finally saw it in the stand of trees between the gardens and the soccer parking turn-around. They are so beautiful.