It’s been a slow week or two out on the trails but every once in a while there’s a surprise. Such was the morning of February 6 when shortly after I started walking the paved trail by the Des Plaines River in Riverside, I saw a young-looking Pied-billed Grebe sitting in the water by the near shore with a couple Mallards. Even though there was vegetation in the way of my lens, it occurred to me when I later looked at these photos that I don’t think I have ever been this close to a Pied-billed Grebe.
There wasn’t much else to get excited about that day or on two subsequent visits but what I did manage to capture is represented here.
It was a nice, sunny day for Mallards.
A look at some of the ice – slowly melting.
On the other side of the foot bridge I barely managed to capture the Redhead which was still present and a male Red-breasted Merganser.
On February 8, there was still a plenty of ice and it was gloomier. A Common Goldeneye was fishing.
I was a bit surprised to see this Mourning Dove sitting on a low branch over the ice in the river.
When I returned on February 10, the most notable thing was the sunshine.
Now the pair of Red-breasted Mergansers were quite cuddly in the water.
A Red-bellied Woodpecker showed up briefly to emphasize the blue sky and buds on the tree it was visiting.
I have been to the Chicago Portage off and on and there are a few photos there for another post perhaps. I took a couple more distant jaunts the past two weekends just to get out of my rut, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot happening anywhere lately. But with the increased daylight, birds are singing. In addition to the Northern Cardinals, the Red-bellied Woodpeckers have started to sing. And Red-winged Blackbirds are also returning to their territories. Spring is a promise.