I went to the Portage last Sunday and meant to report back earlier but the work week got the better of me. So while I am sitting here sharing the sunshine with the indoor crowd and not feeling too bad about it since there’s about a quarter of an inch of snow on the ground from last night…
The Blue-Winged Teal at the top of the post were swimming around when I first saw them but as I tried to get unobstructed views to photograph, they flushed, and sadly the best picture I got was of two in flight. I hate flushing birds but as I progressed along the path I think all 8 of them would have left anyway.
It’s still surprising to me to see people working on Sunday, but there these guys were, working on the new shelter right off the parking lot.
With the unseasonal weather confusion, still seeing some winter species like the American Tree Sparrow below.
I took the photos of these two female ducks before identifying them. The one on the left appears to be a female American Black Duck. The one on the right, however, appears to be a hybrid American Black Duck-Mallard female. It took me a while to figure out the second one. My reasoning for the ID on the second one is the plumage.
There was also one Canada Goose sitting in the water but so still she appeared to be sitting on a nest.
An Eastern Phoebe was my first of the year at the Portage. Even though I saw this bird in two locations I suspect it’s the same one.
Such was the grayness of the day that even pieces of wood appeared to be possibly alive.
Below, two Mallards dabbling in their bottoms-up fashion and a male Mallard.
There were a few American Goldfinches present, none showing any more color than the one below.
And there are always Downy Woodpeckers.
American Robins are always here too, only now beginning to look fancy.
An average day at the Portage, perhaps. But then The Big Surprise occurred as I approached the parking lot and this Bald Eagle flew over my head. It appears to be an immature bird, Bald Eagles attaining their adult plumage after about five years, so the head, for instance, is not completely white.
But to see a Bald Eagle in my neighborhood – well, it is around the Des Plaines River, but still, barely a mile and a half from where I live – this is really amazing to me. Apparently not unusual, though, because when I reported it to ebird my sighting was not questioned.
Below is another shot of the Eastern Phoebe. I love these birds, they’re so cooperative.
I owe you one more post from Nicaragua and then maybe the snow will melt for good and we can get started with spring!