Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Winter birding at Belle Isle

The first two photos were taken in my backyard.  When the snow came last weekend I finally put up a feeder which the birds - and squirrels - have now discovered,

It was such a beautiful morning and the action around my backyard feeder encouraged me to get out to Belle Isle for the first time this winter.

It was beautiful, but the woodland trail had essentially no little birds.   This black phase gray squirrel reminded me of a mink with it's shimmering coat and long stretch along the tree trunk. 


In the absence of any birds, I found this oriole nest - probably from last spring - which I had never noticed before.  The nest was hanging over the creek and in the spring and summer it had probably been at least partially obstructed by the tree's leaves.

At the end of the fishing pier near the coast guard station on the south side of the island a pair of Canvasbacks floated placcidly.  

Despite my best efforts to sneak up on the sleeping pair, I could not be quiet enough on the crunchy snow of the pier.  My footsteps overhead woke the birds up and they began to swim away quickly.

My last stop was on the north side of the island near the beach where the mallards congregate for bread handouts.  Curiously, the female scaup above and the female bufflehead below were amongst the usual mallards and Canada geese seen loafing in this area.

Stranger in the group.

A couple of American Black Ducks were among the congregants in this area.

The weight of these two Canada Geese walking across the ice made the sound of thin ice cracking.

The red bridge over the creek to enter the nature trail.