Ruddy Ducks on the Fox River in Waukesha on April 18, 2018

My first stop of the day was in downtown Waukesha at the Fox River just north of the dam. Four Ruddy Ducks, 3 males and one female have been hanging around the last couple of days. They were moving around a lot and at times would be following the female around. They dove a little at times feeding.  A Common Loon was also present but remained in the middle of the river to the north. It stayed low in the water the time I was there as once in awhile Mallards and Ring-billed Gulls harassed it lightly. It did do a little feeding at times. A mostly cloudy day with a stiff wind from the northwest temps around 30 degrees, still felt like winter with 5″ of snow on the ground. Images were taken on April 18, 2018.

Ruddy Duck, the stunning male with it’s blue bill in breeding plumage…

Ruddy Duck

Binomial name: Oxyura jamaicensis

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Size: 15” long, 18.5” wingspan

Weight: 1.2 Lb

Ruddy Duck, female

Ruddy Ducks, male front and female

Ruddy Ducks, the males chasing the female…

Tail up, sign of courtship display…

The mouth open…

Pair of males…

Coming in to shore following the female…

Full speed ahead following the female…

Long-tailed Ducks at McKinley Marina in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on April 16, 2018

Doing some birding along the lakefront in Milwaukee right after a good snow I did not except to see much. 6 Long-tailed Ducks were doing some feeding at the McKinley Marina was probably the highlight for the day. It looked like 2 males and 4 females, they were spread out in the area. They continually feed while I was there giving a few nice views.  It was a cloudy and chilly with winds from the west and snow flurries coming down non stop all day, temps around 31 degrees. It looked like Milwaukee had 5-6″ of snow on the ground from the last 2 days, it suppose to be spring? Images were taken on April 16, 2018.

Long-tailed Duck, adult male, just up from a dive

Long-tailed Duck, adult male just cruising along…

Long-tailed Duck, adult female in non-breeding plumage

Long-tailed Duck, adult male

Long-tailed Duck, adult male just looking around…

Long-tailed Duck, adult male

Long-tailed Duck, adult male looking pretty…

The dive…

Long-tailed Duck, adult male with flurries coming down…

Closeup…just up from a dive…

Hooded Merganser at the Fox River in Waukesha on April 8, 2018

On a second stop of the day at this location birding on the Fox River in Waukesha appeared a Hooded Merganser. This stunning male spent his time checking out the female Mallards one by one. I think this could be the famous Hooded Merganser “Hollyhood” that was here just over a year ago? Well, not really, who knows for sure, but it put on a great show while I was there giving nice views while following female Mallards around on the river. I am almost convinced there is some connection between male Hooded Mergansers and female Mallards as this is my 3rd time I’ve witnessed this behavior with these two species.  What is it with the Hooded Merganser wanting a companion, a mating thing, or ?? It was a cold day with winds out of the northeast, temps below freezing and very little sun. Images were taken on April 8, 2018.

Hooded Merganser, male…crest partially down

His eyes on another female Mallard…

The Hooded Merganser starred at the female Mallard out of the corner of his eye for about 20 seconds, is this the one….

Crest down on this Hooded Merganser swimming over to check out another female Mallard…

Going to check out another female Mallard…crest down…

Cruising over to a female Mallard to see if she was the one!

Crest down…

Crest up…

Crest partially down…

Coming into shore…

Just moving along…

Horned Grebe and Northern Shovelers at the Fox River in Waukesha on April 1, 2018

I stopped at the Fox River in Waukesha late morning to see if anything new had come in since yesterday. A stunning Horned Grebe almost in full breeding plumage gave nice views for a couple of minutes and then moved north on the river. Another new species present were a pair of Northern Shovelers, male and female. The male shovelers are so beautiful this time of year. As walkers and joggers started to appear, they all moved to the middle of the river which is the norm there. Another cold day with temps starting out at 19 degrees with a pretty good wind at times, felt like January. The sun was out but I did not feel much heat coming down from it. Images were taken on April 1, 2018.

Horned Grebe

Horned Grebe

Horned Grebe

Horned Grebe

Horned Grebe

Northern Shovelers, female front, male back

Northern Shoveler, male

Northern Shoveler, female

Snow Goose at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on March 9, 2018

A little birding along the lakefront in Milwaukee this morning provided nice views of a Snow Goose juvenile at Lakeshore State Park. The Snow Goose hung out with about 20-25 Canada Geese. They all grazed on the short turf grass while I was there. Eventually the flock thinned out as groups of 3-4 left the area for one reason or another, that is what they do. A flock of about 8 with the Snow Goose in it were the last ones to leave and that was it. There was very little interaction with all the geese, they just grazed. That was it for birds to note around that area. Not much action in the images, but that is just how it was. It was a nice sunny day but the north wind kept it feeling like winter. Images were taken on March 9, 2018.

The Snow Goose, juvenile with ice in the bill…

Getting some ice…

Grazing…

More grazing…

Getting some ice…

Snow Goose grazing with a Canada Goose…

Taking a look around with grass in the bill…

Closeup

The walk…

On alert!

Grazing away…

Grazing…

Hooded Mergansers at the Fox River in Waukesha on February 27, 2018

Birding along the Fox River in downtown Waukesha today produced a pair of adult Hooded Mergansers, males. They briefly gave nice views when hanging out with Mallards, but then at times moved short distances up and down the river by themselves. There were still ~50 Common Goldeneye on the river along with some Lesser Scaup, pair of Bufflehead and 100+ Mallards. A short birding run along the lakefront in Milwaukee from Bayview to Bradford Beach produced fewer birds than previous days, nothing to note other than previously reported birds. It seemed like the many large rafts of winter ducks had moved north. I saw many large flocks of ducks flying north over the water yesterday. It was a beautiful spring like day with temps well into the 40’s, sunny skies, low winds. Images were taken on February 27, 2018.

Hooded Merganser, male with crest up…

The pair of male Hooded Mergansers…

Hooded Merganser…

Hooded Merganser some displaying…

Hooded Merganser more displaying…

Hooded Merganser, male with crest down…

Hooded Merganser just floating along…

Hooded Merganser with the wind blowing from behind…

Cruising along…

Hooded Merganser with the crest partially down…

Hooded Merganser male, such a beautiful duck!

Long-tailed Duck at Bender Park in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on February 26, 2018

A stop at Bender Park in Milwaukee County this morning gave nice views of a adult female Long-tailed Duck. Considered a diving duck, this duck dove for food most of the time while I was present. I think a cool looking duck anytime of the year. Other stops I made along the lake were very quiet except I did see large flocks of winter ducks moving north far out in the water. Another note, later in the day in Waukesha County I saw very many large flocks of Sandhill Cranes flying north. It was a mild day with temps in the 40’s, low winds and plenty of sunshine. Images were taken on February 26, 2018.

The Long-tailed Duck just up from a dive…

Long-tailed Duck

Binomial name: Clangula hyemalis

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Size: 16.5” long, 28” wing span

Weight: 1.6 lb

Cool Fact: This duck was once known as Oldsquaw, the female Long-tailed Duck does not get the long tail, just the adult male.

Just up from a dive, a weed still hanging on its bill…

White-winged Scoters at South Shore Yacht Club in Milwaukee Wisconsin on February 25, 2018

While birding some of the Milwaukee lakefront this morning I came across 6 White-winged Scoters near the South Shore Yacht Club. Males and females we present. They were diving and feeding on mussels along with other ducks. No other ducks to note other than a Hooded Merganser and Redhead, both males that were out a ways seen with my bins. It was very windy with temps about 32 which made for a chilly morning, the sun showed but did not seem to help with the high winds. Images were taken on February 25, 2018.

White-winged Scoter, male, with orange on bill tip…

White-winged Scoter,  male Stretching

White-winged Scoter, male stretching

White-winged Scoter, female with a mussel

White-winged Scoter, female

White-winged Scoter, male

Common Goldeneye, male was in the area…

Greater Scaup, male

Greater Scaup, female

Greater Scaup at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on January 14, 2018

A stop at Lakeshore State Park this morning provided a couple of nice views of some Greater Scaup. For the most part everything is frozen but there are a couple of spots still with open water. These ducks were diving for mussels on occasion for something to eat. It was a very cold morning with temps around 10F when I left for birding this morning, the sun at times made it feel pretty nice out there. Images were taken on January 14, 2018.

Greater Scaup, male adult

Greater Scaup, female adult

Greater Scaup, male adult, just a little surface drinking…

Greater Scaup, female adult with a drip…

Greater Scaup, male adult

Greater Scaup, female adult

Greater Scaup, female adult just posing…

Long-tailed Ducks at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on December 15, 2017

Early this morning I found 12 Long-tailed Ducks feeding at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee. The last couple of days I had found groups of first 6 then 9 yesterday, now 12! They all appear to be immature or females. I have not studied them close as of yet. They typically all dive about the same time, get their food, surface, look around, regroup and dive once again. I walked the park early just after sun up and these ducks were not around. These typically stay very close together as a group. A couple of hours later they came in from farther out from the south. In the last few days it appears these ducks have a circuit  they do for food, and have numerous places they feed. I saw a group of 8-10 off  Texas Ave yesterday. Maybe they are the same ducks. This is the first year I have seen more than 1 or 2. The morning started out with some snow flurries that gave way to mostly sunny skies for the morning. It was cold, temps started at 16 and there was a good wind from the west. Images were taken on December 15, 2017.

Long-tailed Ducks, all 12

Long-tailed Duck

Binomial name: Clangula hyemalis

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Size: 16.5” long, 28” wing span

Weight: 1.6 lb

Cool Fact: This duck was once known as Oldsquaw

They all dive about the same time, here are a few in this image…

They come in fast to feed just off the shore in water 15′-20′ deep…

Before the dive…

Start of the dive…

The dive…

Up close…

The blue sky reflection with the Long-tailed Duck…

Long-tailed Ducks at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on November 5, 2017

It was a day with some occasionally mist cloudy skies but I decided to hit a few birding spots along the lake. The highlight of the day was a pair of Long-tailed Ducks at Lakeshore State Park. They were adult females in their winter plumage. They did some on and off diving for food but there were a few people around and fishing boats that kept them out off of shore most of the time. Bradford Beach to the north had scoters but it was too foggy to make them out when I was there. One female Red-breasted Merganser was one of the only ducks in the lagoon, well there were fisherman everywhere today in boats and on land so that makes sense. A cool day at 45 degrees with cloudy skies and some fog. Images were taken on November 5, 2017.

Long-tailed Duck

Binomial name: Clangula hyemalis

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Size: 16.5” long, 28” wing span

Weight: 1.6 lb

Cool Fact: This duck was once known as Oldsquaw

Left one going for the dive, the one on the right already in, just a swirl…

Ring-necked Duck at the Fox River in Waukesha Wisconsin on October 26, 2017

I stopped at the Fox River in Waukesha this morning to do a bird check. Going through group of about 8 Mallards on the other side of the river surprisingly hidden with them was a single male Ring-necked Duck.  The Mallards saw me, they thought I had bread, came across the river to me, but the Ring-necked Duck was skittish and stayed back. After a couple of minutes some walkers came by and the Ring-necked Duck flew north on the river and landed. That was the last I saw of it. Other birds present, just the everyday Ring-billed Gulls and those Mallards. No Hooded Merganser…:) Some sun but a mostly cloudy day at my stop at the river, still mild temps. Images were taken on October 26, 2017.

Ring-necked Duck, male in the golden leaf fall water surrounded by a couple of floating leaves…

Ring-necked Duck

Binomial name: Aythya collaris

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Size: 17” long, 25” wing span

Weight: 1.5 lb.

 

Trumpeter Swans with Cygnets at the Horicon Marsh in Dodge County Wisconsin on June 6, 2017

I thought it was time to head up to the Horicon Marsh to see what was going on and glad I did. One of the highlights of the day was watching one Tumpeter Swan, then two along with the cygnets feed and paddle around. When the second adult joined the group, there appeared to be some great trumpet sounds, really, like welcome back to the family! The two adults stirred the bottom by paddling and brought probably up aquatic insects which is what they eat at this age. It was an exciting time watching these adult swans doing their routine feeding the young with no distractions. It was a beautiful day with mostly full sun and pleasant temps, winds were low in the morning. Images were taken on June 6, 2017.

The family…

Trumpeter Swan

Binomial name: Cygnus buccinator

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Size: 60” long, 80” wing span

Weight: 23 lb

Their necks are stained from feeding…

2nd adult joins the group, I hear trumpet like calling with each other…they were so glad to be together…:)

1st adult stretching here…

Cygnets feeding here with some fresh churned-up vegetation for aquatic insects…

Cygnets

Cygnets

Waiting for some fresh vegetation to dig through that the adult brought up from the bottom…

Both adults stirring the bottom by neck work under the water…

Cygnets feeding here with some fresh churned-up vegetation for aquatic insects…

Both adults stirring the bottom by neck work under the water…

Here the adult is paddling the bottom stirring up the vegetation…

Cygnets finding things to eat…

Greater White-fronted Goose at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin on May 19, 2017

While checking the beaches early this morning about 6:30 am, I was very surprised to find a Greater White-fronted Goose hanging with some Canada Geese. Watching it for awhile, it appeared to be lost or acting like is this the right place, seriously! Anyways it strolled along with the Canada Geese, where they went it went along. This bird is considered rare for this date at this location. Other birds to note, 2 Common Terns and what I think is a 2nd cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull. I wonder if the strong northeast winds had something to do goose and gull being here. It was a cold morning, cloudy with 41 degrees. I actually wore my winter coat, scarf, and winter hat and it was still chilly. I guess in Wisconsin you just can’t put those items away too early. Images were taken on May 19, 2017.

NOTE: A bird that should be in Alaska or far northern Canada breeding!

The look it gave, like where am I?

The drink…

The look it gave, like where am I?

Canvasback at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on April 6, 2017

After doing some birding along the lakefront in Milwaukee I decided to head inland. Few birds were seen along the lake, probably because of the high winds that had started occurring and higher winds were expected for the rest of the day. A first stop at Whitnall Park proved almost bird-less. Greenfield Park held the bird of the day, a stunning male Canvasback. It appeared very tired and rested while I was there except for one short swim in the pond. Images were taken on April 6, 2017.

Reflections of a Canvasback Duck!

Reflections of a Canvasback Duck…

Canvasback

Binomial name: Aythya valisineria

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Size: 21” long, 29” wing span

Weight: 2.7 lb.

Across the pond...

Across the pond…

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Looks like one tired duck, I didn’t hang around long…

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Brant at Goose Pond in Dane County Wisconsin on March 31, 2017

I arrived at Goose Pond in Dane County 6:35 am as daylight was becoming real. As I pulled up behind Aaron H on the shoulder, he was waving his arm to show the Brant was taking flight off the west pond. He had nice views moments earlier. The bird flew over us and landed on the east end of the east pond. It was windy, light mist and gloomy but after a few minutes Aaron relocated the bird and Kyle showed up and we all had distant views. I managed a doc shot below. After about 15 minutes, we could not relocate the bird. I was there yesterday and tried for this bird but failed. It was in the area fields some where for most of the day, but birders reported it came back late yesterday. With that said, I felt be there at sun up today for  best luck and it worked. Thanks to Tom E who found this rare bird on Arlene’s photo the other day. Nice to get this life bird on my list!

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Brant

Binomial name: Branta bernicla

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Size: 25” long, 42” wing span

Weight: 3.1 lb

Note: Normal ranges for this bird are the east and west coast of the US

Red-breasted Mergansers at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on March 16, 2017

A quick walk through Lakeshore State Park provided a couple nice views of the few ducks present there. They were Red-breasted Mergansers. Most ducks have moved north with spring around the corner but there are always a few that linger. A full sun day with temps finally above freezing, low winds made for a nice morning for a stroll through the park. Images were taken on March 16, 2017.

Red-breasted Merganser, female just after preening on the shore

Red-breasted Merganser, female just after preening on the shore

Red-breasted Merganser

Binomial name: Mergus serrator

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Size: 23” long, 30” wing span

Weight: 2.3 lb

Red-breasted Merganser, male just cruising on by

Red-breasted Merganser, male just cruising on by…

Barrow’s Goldeneye at North Point Park in Sheboygan Wisconsin on March 15, 2017

I made the run up to North Point Park in Sheboygan this morning with hopes to see the male Barrow’s Goldeneye. I was not disappointed.  The Barrow’s Goldeneye rode the large waves coming in like the other ducks present. It dove often for food and sometimes it was hard to relocate with the large waves. This is not a life bird as I photographed one at the exact location back on January 7, 2011. As I have searched high and low through rafts of Common Goldeneye on the Milwaukee lakefront year after year, to see one again is a special treat. From Sheboygan I stopped at Port Washington for a couple of minutes and got a distant shot of 4- Red-throated Loons just east of the harbor entrance feeding on occasion. Thanks to Dan B for finding this uncommon bird for the area and for getting the word out for others to see it. It was about 20 degrees with full sun when I arrived at 9:00 am with steady winds off the lake. It was a bitter cold viewing period. Images were taken on March 15, 2017.

Common Goldeneye on both sides with the Barrow's Goldeneye in the middle

Common Goldeneye, males on both sides with the Barrow’s Goldeneye, male in the middle, also the brown duck being a Common Goldeneye, female

Barrow’s Goldeneye

Binomial name: Bucephala islanddica

Category: Duck, Geese, and Swans

Size: 18” long, 28” wing span

Weight: 2.1 lb.

Range: The normal winter range for this duck species is the east and west coasts of the US and Canada. The breeding range in general, is inland along with west coast of Canada well into Alaska south into Wyoming.

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Barrow’s Goldeneye, male on the right

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Barrow’s Goldeneye, male on the right

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Barrow’s Goldeneye, male on the right, Bufflehead male to the left

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Barrow’s Goldeneye, male in the middle with a Common Goldeneye, female on the right, Bufflehead males behind, Bufflehead female way back

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Barrow’s Goldeneye with some displaying action

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Barrow’s Goldeneye, male on the right with a Common Goldeneye, female following, Bufflehead female on the left

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Barrow’s Goldeneye, male in the middle with a Bufflehead, male in front

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Barrow’s Goldeneye in the middle

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Barrow’s Goldeneye on the right with many Common Goldeneye, females around on the left

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Barrow’s Goldeneye, male, just being there on the right

3- Red-throated Loons, non breeding plumage

4- Red-throated Loons, nonbreeding plumage, distant shot at Port Washington

White-winged Scoter at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on March 10, 2017

A brief birding stop this morning at Lakeshore State Park provided nice views of a White-winged Scoter. The female duck was hanging out with Greater Scaup and feeding on mussels in the lagoon. I took a few shots from a distance. As usual with hundreds of duck eyes watching you, they tend to stay away from the shore when you are around. It was a nice way to start the day out birding. Very cold out this morning with full sun but the wind made it feel like January. Images were taken on March 10, 2017.

White-winged Scoter, female with a mussel in the mouth

White-winged Scoter, female with a mussel in the mouth

White-winged Scoter

Binomial name: Melanitta fusca

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Size: 21” long, 34” wing span

Weight: 3.7 lb

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A stretch!

A stretch!

A stretch!

A stretch!

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With a mussel

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Just cruising along

Greater White-fronted Goose at Veterans Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on February 27, 2017

Birding along the lakefront in Milwaukee this morning I came across the Greater White-fronted Goose that was reported yesterday in with a flock of Canada Geese. It would be nice to photograph this beautiful goose in the water but you have to take what you can get. It seemed very comfortable grazing with about 30 Canada Geese near the lagoon. It did a small amount of resting and preening while I watched. It was a clear sky this morning with temps around 30, the wind off the lake made it feel like January. Images were taken on February 27, 2017.

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Greater White-fronted Goose

Binomial name: Anser albifrons

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Size: 28” long, 53” wing span

Weight: 4.8 lb

Range: We typically see more of these geese west of Lake Michigan as their migration route north is mainly more west of Wisconsin, Texas through the dakota’s to northern Canada and Alaska. Always a treat to see one on the lakefront in Milwaukee.

With a Canada Goose

With a Canada Goose

Grazing

Grazing

Grazing

Grazing

Preening

Preening

Preening

Preening

Taking a break

Taking a break

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Grazing with some Canada Geese

Grazing with some Canada Geese

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The foot

The foot

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