Prior to the Deep Freeze of the last few days, my three most recent visits to Riverside were full of Canada Geese in the Des Plaines River, some of them tagged. I would have gone back on Friday in spite of the sub-zero windchill except for staying home waiting for a plumber to assess a more permanent solution to a clogged kitchen sink. I am now looking forward to that repair Monday morning.
January 27 was cloudy. The river was a gathering place for a couple hundred Canada Geese. It was among a group not far from the paved path that I saw 68B. The interesting thing about this bird is that I reported seeing her way back in September of 2014. She hatched in 2013 or earlier and was banded on July 16, 2014 near Brookfield in Cook County, which is the same location for banding of all the other geese I have reported. They have been pretty faithful to their original banded location. I saw this bird at the Chicago Portage, which is part of the same ecosystem.
68B is in the third photo below.
To break up the goose monotony, I was entertained by an engaging Black-capped Chickadee. You may note that it has the same color scheme as the Canada Geese,
Then on January 30, there were two new numbers to report. 54H is a female banded in July of 2015.
And 26N is a male banded in July of 2016.
January 30 was cold and gloomy. This little group of geese was south of the Joliet Avenue bridge.
Other waterfowl included two male Common Goldeneyes and a pair of Common Mergansers.
The largest gaggle of geese was near the footbridge, as usual.
On February 1, 54H and 26N were in the group below near the Hofmann Tower.
There have been only a smattering of Mallards in the river.
This White-breasted Nuthatch had the courage to appear by himself instead of in tandem with a Red-bellied Woodpecker, which is how I have been seeing them lately.
Then, just on the other side of the footbridge, I saw a Redhead. Chris, who I see frequently walking his dog Isabel, had just said a little while ago that he hadn’t seen a Redhead. I concurred that I had not either. And then here was one. What a beautiful surprise. When I saw Chris later we both laughed, as he had seen it too.
Beyond that, likely the same two male Common Goldeneyes I have seen before. I haven’t seen the ladies lately.
And there were no more land birds to photograph that day, but I captured a sneaky look at my first Chipmunk of the year.
And just to confirm, the Hofmann Tower pigeons were in place.
One more of the Downy Woodpecker that is at the top of this post.
I have been to the Chicago Portage a couple times during the cold spell that followed and as far as I could tell, the Des Plaines River was likely frozen over, which doesn’t mean the geese weren’t sitting on the ice, but I suspect that maybe I wasn’t missing too much by not visiting Riverside. I will see if I can make a quick stop there tomorrow after my kitchen sink redemption.
With a little luck, I will be back before that with a little birds-at-home update. In the meantime, the sun is shining, the snow is melting, and it appears we are out of the woods, so to speak, for subzero or even single-digit temperatures. But I still have the memory of below-zero in my bones, which makes it that much more delightful to soak up the sun.