Hooded Merganser on the Fox River in Waukesha County on January 24, 2020

One of my birding stops today provided nice views of a male Hooded Merganser. It was hanging out with some Mallards along the Fox River in Waukesha. A few times it dove for something to eat and came up with a crayfish. The weather was misty with a few flurries mixed in, mild temps around 35 degrees with no wind. Images were taken on January 24, 2020.

Mr. Good Looking!

Cruising around off the ice…

Duck talk!

Up from a dive has a crayfish…

Tosses it around the get the right end to go down first…

Looking at me I guess…

A nice pose…

Harris’s Sparrow at the Mequon Nature Preserve in Ozaukee County Wisconsin on January 22, 2020

With not much going on bird wise I decided to try for the visiting Harris’s Sparrow that has been reported at the Mequon Nature Preserve. Normal range for the species is Minnesota west and south. After about 15 minutes the stunning male Harris’s Sparrow showed up with a small flock of American Tree Sparrows on the west end of the nature center. That viewing did not last long as all the birds were flushed by a vehicle coming through the parking lot. After about 30 minutes the birds returned briefly to an area on the south side of the nature center near a feeder. Not a life bird for the state for me but still an exciting bird to see. It was partly cloudy with mild temps around 25 degrees with no wind, a pleasant morning out. Images were taken on January 22, 2020.

The Harris’s Sparrow, male

Cedar Waxwings eating berries at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on January 21, 2020

One of my birding stops today was Greenfield Park in Milwaukee. I came across a flock of Cedar Waxwings high in a tree. I noticed what was taking place, the Cedar Waxwings would take turns coming down to what I think were Buckthorn berries and eating just a couple of them. After a couple of berries for each bird, a short rest would take place high up in the tree, then they would repeat the feeding. Probably were getting the food down in them during the rest period. The Cedar Waxwings would pick through the berries and if they were not ripe, they would spit them out. The birds put on a nice show for the few minutes I watched then on a nice sunny day, low winds and temps around 23 degrees. Images were taken on January 21, 2020.

White-winged Scoter at the Petroleum Pier on Milwaukee’s Lakefront on December 28, 2019

Birding along the lakefront in Milwaukee this morning one of the highlights was a female White-winged Scoter neat the Petroleum Pier. It dove while I was there coming up with mussels to eat. A drab duck but always nice to see something different this time of year. Another species to note there were two Great Black-backed Gulls on ice in the Kinnickinnic River at Jones Island. A gloomy day with some light drizzle, mild temps of 40 degrees, and a light breeze while birding the lakefront this morning. Images were taken on December 28, 2019.

The female White-winged Scoter…

Just after a dive eating a mussel…a little white seen on a wing here…

Eating more mussels…

Trying to break apart the mussels here as numerous ones are stuck together…

White-winged Scoter with a blurry Greater Scaup female behind…

A distant shot of one of the two Great Black-backed Gulls present this morning…

Townsend’s Solitaire at Boerner Botanical Gardens in Hales Corner in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on December 16, 2019

A Townsend’s Solitaire, a rare visitor was recently reported at the Boerner Botanical Gardens. I thought with birding slow in general it was a good opportunity check for this one. After about 2 1/2 hours the Townsend’s Solitaire came out of no where from the west and dropped into a small berry tree. It ate a few berries, maybe 3-4 quickly and perched at the top of a large deciduous tree. It repeated this twice and then a Red-tailed Hawk flew near the area and the Townsend’s Solitaire disappeared.  I hung around for a few more minutes and left the area. It was a gloomy morning, a good breeze and temps in the low 20’s, making feel like December weather. Images were taken on December 16, 2019.

Townsend’s Solitaire

Binomial name: Myadestes townsendi

Category: Thrushes

Size: 8.5” long, 14.5” wingspan

Weight: 1.2 Oz.

Note: What makes this bird a rare visitor? The normal range for the Townsend’s Solitaire is mountainous regions in the western US.

Red-tailed Hawk at the Christmas Bird Count at Wehr Nature Center in Milwaukee Wisconsin on December 15, 2019

It was a fun morning for everyone counting birds for the Christmas Bird Count at the Wehr Nature Center. The highlight during my counting was a stunning adult Red-tailed Hawk perched in a tree hunting. The hawk gave nice views for a few moments with eyes always moving around waiting to find the next meal. Bird counts were slow for the day but still fun getting together with some good friends birding. It was a chilly morning starting out at about 18 degrees, little wind, but had sun which gave some warmth. Images were taken on December 15, 2019.

Red-tailed Hawk perched looking for its next meal…

Mouth stretching…

Looking around the woods, waiting for something to move…

In search of food….waiting…

Snowy Owl at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on December 3, 2019

Birding Lakeshore State Park this morning in Milwaukee I came across a Snowy Owl sitting on a deck. I hide out of sight and took a couple of shots. A walker with a dog on a leash near the area must have caught the eyes of the Snowy Owl as it suddenly flew off. It was a brief moment to see this beautiful Snowy Owl. This Snowy Owl looks like the one I photographed in a different area along the lake yesterday. It was a beautiful morning with cloudy skies to state giving way to sun later in the morning with temps around 30 degrees, but a stiff west wind. Images were taken on December 3, 2019.

The Snowy Owl

The Snowy Owl possibly looking at the walker with the dog on a leash ahead.

Snowy Owl along the lakefront in Milwaukee Wisconsin on December 2, 2019

Birding along the lakefront in Milwaukee this morning it was a nice surprise to find a Snowy Owl. 1st one of the winter for me. It was resting and I let it be. I did take a couple of images at a safe distance to share. It was cloudy this morning, light breeze and mild temps for this time of year. Images were taken on December 2, 2019.

The Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

Binomial name: Bubo scandiacus

Category: Typical Owls

Description: Adult males are mostly white with a few dark feather tips.  Adult females and juveniles are white with dark scalloping on chest, back, wings, and tail.  Yellow eyes, black beak, and feathery feet.

Size: 20”- 28” long, 49” – 59” wingspan

Weight: 3.5 lb. – 6.6 lb.

Habitat: Wide open, treeless spaces such as shorelines, lakes, open fields, and agricultural sites.

Ruddy Duck on the Fox River in Waukesha Wisconsin on November 22, 2019

An early stop at the Fox River in Waukesha provided nice views of a female Ruddy Duck. It has been hanging around for a couple of days just sleeping in the middle of the river. This morning it was moving around with some Mallards. Sorta drab duck, the males in spring are stunning with black and white on the head with a blue bill! It was a pleasant morning with mild temps, partly cloudy skies and low winds. Images were taken on November 22, 2019.

Ruddy Duck, female

Ruddy Duck, female

Ruddy Duck, female

Ruddy Duck, female, another shot…

Hooded Merganser in Waukesha County Wisconsin on November 20, 2019

One of my birding stops today in Waukesha County along a river. It had a stunning male Hooded Merganser that was hanging out with Mallards. The Hooded Merganser gave nice views, I witnessed very little feeding, only once I saw part of a crayfish in its bill when it came up after diving. It was a beautiful day out, almost spring like, with full sun and little wind, temps about 47 degrees. Images were taken on November 20, 2019.

Hooded Merganser, male with his mouth open…

What a beautiful duck, hood up!

Resting…

Swallowing water from a drink…

Cedar Waxwings Eating Berries at Port Washington in Ozaukee County Wisconsin on November 13, 2019

One of my birding stops today was Port Washington. Literally 100’s of Red-breasted Mergansers provided action in the harbor but the highlight was Cedar Waxwings eating Red Cedar berries at Coal Dock Park. The waxwings for the most part just perched in a few trees and occasion would go for a berry. I always notice that the waxwings will pick through the berries, pick them and find they are all not ripe and toss them. A few times a hand full of waxwings went down to a open creek for a drink of water.  It was a chilly day out, cloudy skies with temps around 20 and strong winds from the south while I was there. Images were taken on November 13, 2019.

Cedar Waxwing, adult, just perched pretty…

Cedar Waxwing, juvenile with a Red Cedar berry…

Cedar Waxwing, juvenile swallowing the Red Cedar berry…

Cedar Waxwing, juvenile leaves the Red Cedar tree with a berry…

Cedar Waxwing, juvenile with a Red Cedar berry…

Cedar Waxwing, adult

Cedar Waxwings, adults getting a drink of water…

Cedar Waxwing, adult getting a drink of water…

Cedar Waxwing, adult getting a drink of water…

After the drink…

Cedar Waxwing, adult testing the ripeness of the berry…

Cedar Waxwing, adult tossing the berry, maybe it was not ripe…

Cedar Waxwing, juvenile all fluffed up…

Cedar Waxwing, adult…just perched in the cold…

Cedar Waxwing, adult perched in between eating berries…

Horned Larks at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on November 1, 2019

While birding Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee the highlight of the walk were two adult Horned Larks feeding on seeds in the grass in the snow. On one occasion I saw one eat an insect, so they are not strictly seed eaters. They pulled seeds off of plants and ate nicely while I watched from a distance until a jogger not knowingly flush them off a ways. It was partly cloudy, low winds and temps around 30 degrees. Images were taken on November 1, 2019.

Horned Lark, one of two present…

Horned Lark

Binomial name: Eremophila alpestri

Category: Chickadees and Titmice

Size: 7.25” long, 12” wing span

Weight:  1.1 oz

Picking seeds off of a plant and eating them…

Seed in the bill…

Getting another seed off the plant….

Another seed in the bill…

Another seed in the bill…

They were in a grass area for a moment…

Insect in the bill here…

A closer look…

American Pipits at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee County on November 1, 2019

A stop at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee along the lakefront provided views of 2 American Pipits. Thinking these are 1st winter birds…They fed along the beach clutter along the shore finding things to eat. Ring-billed Gulls were in the same area and slightly harassed the pipits on occasion flushing them. Nice to see something different for a change. Images were taken on November 1, 2019.

American Pipit

American Pipit

Binomial name: Anthus rubescens

Category: Sandpipers, Phalaropes, and Allies

Size: 6.5” long, 10.5” wing span

Weight: .74 Oz.

Note: Pipits are found on all continents, except Antarctica

Finding things to each with a Ring-billed Gull nearby…

Looking for something to eat…

The two American Pipits perched on a log just looking around…

Something in the bill to eat…

Just looking pretty!

Pied-billed Grebe at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on October 1, 2019

On a walk this morning at Lakeshore State Park I noticed a Pied-billed Grebe feeding along the cattails. It did its normal feeding routine of diving for 15-30 seconds presumably getting something to eat and then resurfacing for a longer time. A fairly quiet day at the park other than a handful of White-crowned Sparrows I saw feeding from a distance on seeds from the wildflowers. At the park it was mild temps and a light drizzle with low winds. Images were taken on October 1st 2019.

Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe, adult

Just up from a dive!

Snow Goose at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on September 30, 2019

Once again a Snow Goose has stopped for a visit at Greenfield Park. I found this adult hanging out with Canada Geese, typically of what one will do when visiting. The Snow Goose was not in the lagoon but on shore. Minimum action from this species in shots but still cool to see one here at the park. Last year a Snow Goose stopped for a long visit at the park on October 22, 2018. So this one is a little early when comparing those two. Starting out the day with fog then changing to sunshine with plenty of humidity, low winds. Images were taken on September 30, 2019.

A little stretch…

Hanging out with friends, the Canada Geese…

Just a little drama…

Eating together, that great grass!

Feeding…

Looking for a good patch of grass…

Friends…

Posing nicely…

The cross-over…

The Snow Goose, adult with some grass on the bill…

Marsh Wrens at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on September 27, 2019

While birding Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee the highlight of the walk were 3 Marsh Wrens at the small detention ponds. There are a few areas of cattails there and the Marsh Wrens were in and out of each area every couple minutes getting insects. They were quick up and down in the cattails getting things to eat. I was impossible to keep track of where they were most of the time as they pretty much stayed out of sight. One juvenile was seen. On a few occasions they briefly showed themselves and I got a couple of shots. They are considered “Secretive birds”, I know why.  It was a gloomy morning with cool temps, a good breeze, it was fall coat weather. Images were taken on September 27, 2019.

One of 3 Marsh Wrens…

Marsh Wren always looking for the next insect to eat…

Marsh Wren, how they typically perch in the cattails…

The juvenile Marsh Wren, once seen on a rock…it did pick a few insects off the rocks too but usually was in the cattails.

Looking around for insects…

Marsh Wren looking for things to eat…

Getting a spider…

Just perched pretty and looking…

Chukar in Racine County Wisconsin on September 26, 2019

The Chukar, a Eurasian species introduced here in the US is considered a released game bird here in Wisconsin. I found this adult feeding along a roadside in Racine County this morning eating seeds. It put on a nice show eating seeds as I watched it at a distance. I am posting this as some birders have never seen one so it is for educational purposes I would say. It was a gorgeous fall like morning with sunny skies, temps around 60 and very little wind. Images were taken on September 26, 2019.

The Chukar as I found it…

The close-up, a beautiful bird…

Here the Chukar is finding seeds and eating them…

Eating seeds…

Getting that seed!

Just looking…

Looking for seeds, it is what they eat…

Looking for seeds and getting some…

Those colors!

Looking pretty!

Just looking around…

Mississippi Kite in Wisconsin on August 16, 2019

After a tip from a friend about a Mississippi Kite here in Wisconsin, I decided to check it out. I arrived early and found this male bird perched in a dead tree in the area it might be found. I watched it for awhile as it repeatedly went for large flying insects and dragonflies or it perched. It preened a lot and when it was not preening it just remained perched looking for something to eat. Once I saw it fly and could see why it got the name “kite”. The bird was trying to get something on the side of a leafed out deciduous tree and it was flying like a kite would look, both top of the wings facing me, make like small radius’s in a figure-eight. Pretty cool to see! Obviously a life bird. Sorry, I can not share this location. The early morning started out cloudy but soon gave way to some sunshine. Images were taken on August 16, 2019.

The Mississippi Kite is found perched in a tree after looking sometime for it…

The Mississippi leaves the perch and does some flying around in the area, always looking for things to eat…

Always searching for food…

Must have excellent vision as it went for an insect about 500 feet away from the perch at the bottom of tree…

Cruising low in search of things to eat…

Close by overhead…

Returning to the perch, it flies over me…

After some time the Mississippi Kite returns to the area…soaring low, always looking for something to eat…

Searching…

Searching…

Off a ways in search of…

A pass over me…

Soaring around the area…

Here the bird appears to be onto something that I could not see.

Semipalmated Plover and Sanderlings at Bradford Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin on September 10, 2019

With some light rain falling this morning, I decided to check a few beaches on Milwaukee’s lakefront. Bradford Beach had 1 Sempalmated Plover and 21 Sanderlings. I took a few shots when the rain let up. Always so cute to see the Sanderlings running up and down the beach, in and out in search of things to eat. McKinley Beach and Lakeshore State Park had nothing today, at least when I stopped. It was a foggy morning, slight drizzle at times and light winds from the east. Images were taken on September 10, 2019.

Semipalmated Plover

Semipalmated Plover going for something here…

Semipalmated Plover with a Sanderling in the background…

Just looking…

Sanderling with something in the bill…

Sanderling getting something….

Sanderling, the wing stretch…

Sanderling reflection…

The bug goes flying!

Sanderling, something in the bill…

Sanderlings, three of a kind…

Just looking…

More food in the bill…

Waiting for the next wave, and then getting the next food…