There’s nothing like spending a beautiful fall morning outside amongst the birds. I enjoyed this morning with the birds down at the Row River Nature Park. It was cool out — in the high 30s — but as I walked with my dog the sun started to warm the air and the birds became increasingly more active.
The Canada Geese have again flocked to the ponds. Typically, large flocks will stay at the ponds throughout the winter, until they start to split off into pairs again next spring.
Mixed in with the Canada Geese was a lone Greater White-fronted Goose. This is the first time I’ve seen this type of goose at the ponds, and I’ve since learned that they spend their summers in the tundra of Alaska, but sometimes in the winter they mix with flocks of Canada Geese.
There are often small flocks of American Coots at the ponds, as there were this morning….
… but this fall they have been joined by a few Hooded Mergansers. These small birds are shy and leery of people and so harder to get photos of. As with other types of Mergansers, the males (with the white) and the females (with the brown-tuffed head) look totally different from each other.
I spent much of the morning watching and listening to the water fowl as they talked softly to each other and splashed in the water both bathing and diving under to feed. However, there were plenty of other birds in the park — many Northern Flickers, a Pileated Woodpecker, Juncos, a Kingfisher, Great Blue Herons, and some type of hawk — but those fast birds are much harder to photograph.