Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A sunny winter afternoon at the Reservoir

The afternoon was sunny, and I took a walk through the Park. Sometimes snowstorms bring in interesting new birds, but not this time. Finches, Downy Woodpeckers, and Grackles dominated the Evodia feeders; sparrows and Juncos foraged on the ground there.

The air was still, and so the snow clung to the tree branches, a rare sight in the Park. Quite a few Cardinals were around, handsome against those snowy branches. Here and there the "Kwirr!" of a red-Bellied Woodpecker rang out.

The Reservoir was frozen over except for a small area around the fountain. At first glance, it didn't seem to hold a lot of birds, but when I counted, I found over a hundred Canada Goose, about 130 gulls, almost all Ring-Billed but for a couple of Herring Gulls and one Greater Black-Backed; sixty or so Mallards, sixteen Shovelers, four American Black Ducks, and a pair of Gadwalls.

All was peaceful on this little island of open water in the sea of ice. Many of the Mallards and gulls were settled on the ice, but a few swam and bathed. One pair of Mallards flew up into the the fountain jets, beating their wings to hover in the spray, apparently just for the hell of it.

The Shovelers took off and hurtled northward, probably seeking better prospects at the Pool or the Meer. A small contingent of geese walked toward the edge of the Reservoir. One stood guard there while the other five foraged in the snow--for what, I couldn't tell.

Another snowstorm is coming in tonight, I'm told. At least the birds had this sunny afternoon to enjoy.

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