With the forecast of only one nice day this past weekend, I planned to go to Goose Lake Natural Area and the Hebron Trail, which has become one of my favorite, if distant, destinations. One doesn’t know what to expect when venturing out these days. I knew I could count on the absence of crowds, even if there were some people walking, riding bikes, running, birding. Luckily this is a vast expanse and I could still feel quite alone most of the time, however I now take that sentiment in current context.
The walk is long to the Goose Lake part – at least it seems to take forever. There were not a lot of birds along the way this early in the season to distract me, but there was certainly a lot of up-and-coming moss.
The main attraction to me, then, was the Yellow-Headed Blackbirds. The females haven’t started arriving yet as far as I can tell, but I wanted to be there when the males were setting up territories so I could hear them sing. With all the Red-Winged Blackbirds singing, they didn’t seem to vocalize in long phrases, but I did manage to get a recording, albeit with a lot of wind noise, of their characteristic rusty-crank-sounding song. The short song clip is below these photographs.
I might add that the Yellow-Headeds were far away and rather secretive. I want to go back in a few weeks to see if I can get a better look.
There were several Song Sparrows and I managed to get a few photographs of them. They had some lovely songs too. I almost wish I could have left the camera and recorded vocalizations, but it was windy that day anyway.
Another likely breeding sparrow in this habitat is the Swamp Sparrow. I was lucky to encounter the beauty below.
I miss Crows a lot. It’s been a chronic ache that started with my job location three years ago, made worse by the current situation banning visits to lakefront parks. So another thing I like about this location is that I always get to see Crows.
I confess I wasn’t paying an awful lot of attention to Red-Winged Blackbirds, but I did find this guy attractive. There’s a female in three photos below him.
I had to look hard to see the Goose on her nest below.
There were still a few Ruby-Crowned Kinglets here and there.
As I turned to go back, three crows were harassing a Red-Tailed Hawk.
I got distracted by a little more plant life and my first ladybug of the year.
There was an elusive Red-Bellied Woodpecker off the side of the wooded trail as I walked back.
I have been working harder than ever from home which was not at all what I expected when this whole pandemic thing began. As long as it’s raining I don’t mind so much. Oh well. Tomorrow is May 1.