It’s been a busy week, so I haven’t gotten out too much and, in spite of that, it’s taken me days to carve out a post.
Freer souls have been out in the cold finding the rarities, some of which have been seen on the Chicago River. As a matter of course, since last winter’s freeze of the Great Lakes, I make a habit of peering into the Chicago River every morning when I get off the train and look into that section of the River to see if there’s any bird life in it. Seeing as how last year at this time I was counting White-Winged Scoters…that species and even less likely birds have been showing up in other sections of the river, but downtown there isn’t much going on.
The Coots are long gone and nothing else has taken their place outside the train station. Ah, the frustrations of sitting inside an office all day…
So late in the cloudy, snowy afternoons of Tuesday and Wednesday this past week I walked north to where the river joins Lake Michigan to see if there were any waterfowl at all. I was delighted to see Red-Breasted Mergansers as I am accustomed to seeing them on the lakefront but had not yet seen any this year.
The lake is frozen close to shore, and ice flows into the river where it joins the lake.
Tuesday it was snowing, Wednesday just cloudy. Tuesday there were also a couple Mallards and one pair of Common Mergansers, along with a dozen or so Red-Breasted Mergansers and primarily Herring Gulls.
Since, the Gull Frolic, I now pay more attention to gulls and find most of them to be Herrings (we’ll see how long that lasts when the Ringed Bills return by the thousands).
But there are still Ring-Billed Gulls around, like the one below. I think maybe if I’m not seeing much else yet this year I’ll get better at identifying these guys at a distance…
Winter continues, we just can’t seem to get enough of it.
At least you didn’t have to go far to see the gulls and ducks! Nice pictures! They look more like B&W, don’t they? Thanks for the post Lisa! 🙂
Thanks, H.J. True, going far is not an option lately. 🙂
We have plenty of Ring-billed Gulls around the lake here, but I always look close, as occasionally a Herring Gull might show up. Oh, we probably have that many American Coots, too. I love the Mergansers and I enjoy photographing them when the opportunity arises. We have mostly the Hooded, but once in awhile a Red-breasted will make an appearance.
Thanks Bob. Never take open water for granted… I haven’t seen Hooded this year either…yet. 🙂
I hope that you get a break from winter soon. Even gulls are not really a compensation for endless chill.
Thanks… I’m just tired of all the layers!
Keep at it. I think in another week there might be signs of hope temperature-wise, as it is now I was excited to see twenties when I went to get the mail. I didn’t even bother with a coat!
I know, I did the same thing this morning when I filled the feeders. 🙂
Love seeing your Merganser captures, Lisa. I know they are around us, but always way off from land, low in the water. I’ve been lucky only couple times to photograph these quirky-looking ducks. 🙂
Thanks so much, Donna. I know what you mean – it’s funny how birds behave in different bodies of water. During warmer winters I could see dozens of ducks as close as 30 feet away, in the harbor on the lake. In the spring at McGinnis Slough water birds are already as far away from the shore as possible. I guess it’s a matter of how much water is open and how deep it is.