On and About the River

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.

I saw our friend 64H by the Hofmann dam with a female companion, perhaps

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.

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