Apparently I lied in my last post, because as far as I can tell from these pictures, January 10 was sunny as well. At least it was sunny early when I was at the Chicago Portage, and although I did not see very many birds, the visit was still fairly interesting.
Here’s how everything looked when I walked in. It was very quiet.
And then, not too far along the trail, I spotted a Red-tailed Hawk sitting in a tree on the other side of the stream. Its presence could have explained at least some of the quiet.
On closer inspection, I noticed it had prey – and that turned out to be a Gray Squirrel.
I think the hawk was flushed from its perch by the man I think of as Mr. Peanut (I think our friend George once referred to him as Peanut Pete, but I don’t know his real name) who was walking the inside trail behind it, because when I encountered “Mr. Peanut” walking in the opposite direction he asked me if I saw “that big hawk”. But I’m sure the hawk hadn’t been too happy with me paying such close attention to it either.
Below is one more photo from the previous series – perhaps you can see the squirrel in the hawk’s talons a little easier.
After that, everything else was less exciting. However, the moss and lichen caught my interest in the sunshine.
A female Downy Woodpecker was busy in the deeply furrowed bark of a cottonwood.
I was trying to follow some movement on the ground for a while before I finally saw the face of a Fox Sparrow. Then the sparrow flew up and perched – and sat and stared at me, as they seem to like to do – but it was too backlit for a great photo.
The Northern Cardinals have not been terribly shy lately. I qualify that, though, by noting these photos were taken at some distance.
It appears it was cold enough that morning for the shallower water to be frozen over, eliminating the possibility of waterfowl. However, looking back on the weather for that day, we got up to 51 degrees at some point and the next day, although totally cloudy, was even a bit warmer. All that is over now, however. We are due for some cold weather in addition to snow.
Waking up to light snow this morning, I’m taking a day off from birding, but there were a few birds in the yard that I managed to capture after I swept off the walks, and I’ll keep the camera loaded for any future opportunities. It’s not snowing heavily yet but it looks like that could change. I like the snow. It’s pretty. It feels warmer because of the humidity. And it’s a little brighter than the constant cloud cover.
I’ll be back later with a few images I coaxed out from the gloom.