Wood Ducks and Green-winged Teal in Cook County Illinois March 26, 2019

Wood Ducks and Green-winged Teal were the highlights on a trip down to Cook County Illinois. I was invited to go with Caron G and Sylvia P and with a great subject as the Wood Duck, I did not turn it down. It turned out it was a nice opportunity for photos of these beautiful ducks. The ducks were calm at this location for the most part, swimming around, hanging out and just being ducks. It was a gorgeous spring day, still winter coat weather, but the full sun eventuality warmed things up. Winds were calm with temps around 40 degrees. Images were taken on March 26, 2019

Wood Duck, male

Wood Duck, male coming in…

Wood Duck, female

Wood Duck, male on the log looking proud…

Green-winged Teal, male

Wood Duck, male, head up…

Green-winged Teal, male

Wood Ducks, the couple…

Wood Duck, female

Wood Duck, male

Wood Duck, female coming in…

Green-winged Teal, male

Wood Duck, male

Wood Duck, female

Wood Duck, male, just hanging out…

Beautiful!

Wood Duck, female

Wood Duck, male

Red-breasted Mergansers at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on March 24, 2019

One of my birding stops this morning along the lakefront was Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee. Very few winter ducks remain in the lagoon there. The majority of the few that were there were Red-breasted Mergansers. A group of 8, 3 males and 5 females were diving and finding food in the area by the foot bridge. Other birds at Lakeshore State Park were Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, and Song Sparrows. The rest of the lakefront in Milwaukee was quiet with only a few scattered Red-breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead, Greater Scaup and Common Goldeneye. A stop at Lake Park, it was almost bird-less, but did have a flock way up high of about 50 Tundra Swans heading northwest. It was a beautiful morning with only a light breeze, light sun, temps in the 40’s. Images were taken on March 24, 2019.

Red-breasted Merganser, male

Red-breasted Merganser, female

Red-breasted Merganser, female front, Red-breasted Merganser, male back…

Red-breasted Merganser, male

The dive for something to eat…

Tail end of the dive…

Red-breasted Merganser, female

Red-breasted Merganser, female closeup…

Red-breasted Merganser, male closeup…

Red-breasted Merganser, female…

Red-breasted Merganser, male

Red-breasted Merganser, female

Common Goldeneye, Greater Scaup and Red-breasted Merganser at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on March 18, 2019

Another stop today at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee provided some nice views once again of the Greater Scaup, Common Goldeneye and a Red-breasted Merganser. One never knows what will show up so I make the stop there often. I was not there long but did capture a few different poses, etc. that I did not get yesterday.  It was a chilly day with a stiff wind from the west. Even with full sun, it was cold! Temps around 30 to start the day warmed a little as the day went on. Images were taken on March 18, 2019.

Common Goldeneye, male stretching…

Common Goldeneye, male out of water…I think this fella was tired…

Common Goldeneye, male out of water…

Common Goldeneye, the female…

Common Goldeneye, female, so cute…

Greater Scaup eating a mussel, that is what they eat there in the lagoon…

Greater Scaup, female

Red-breasted Merganser, male…

Greater Scaup, female…

Greater Scaup, male

Common Goldeneye, male wings up…

Common Goldeneye, male cruising along the ice edge…

Red-breasted Merganser, female – Fox River Waukesha 3/19/19

Red-breasted Merganser with a Bullhead, female – Fox River Waukesha 3/19/19

Common Goldeneye and Greater Scaup at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on March 17, 2019

One of my stops this afternoon along the lakefront in Milwaukee was Lakeshore State Park. A few open places free from ice in the lagoon provided places for ducks to be diving and feeding on mussels. Those species were Common Goldeneye and Greater Scaup. There were very many walkers enjoying the sunny day which kept the birds tight in the openings. The birds were moving around a little and a couple of flight shots were taken. It was a nice sunny day, but winds kept things on the cold side. Images were taken on March 17, 2019.

Common Goldeneye, male

Common Goldeneye, male

Greater Scaup, male

Greater Scaup, female

Greater Scaup, female

Common Goldeneye, male

Common Goldeneye, male

Common Goldeneye, male

Greater Scaup, female

A pair of Common Goldeneye, males taking off…

Common Goldeneye, male at the ice edge

Mute Swans on the Fox River in Waukesha Wisconsin on March 11, 2019

A pair of Mute Swans appeared on the Fox River in Waukesha County this afternoon. They fed for awhile and then gave some nice views too. It was a pleasant late afternoon with plenty of sunshine, lows winds, actually was starting to feel like spring could be coming yet. Images were taken on March 11, 2019.

Mute Swan

The pair…

The close up…

“Being shy”

Incoming…

Feeding…

The pair together…

Hooded Merganser at the Fox River in Waukesha on January 1, 2019

I did some general birding on the first of the new year and it was pretty quiet. The highlight of the day was a Hooded Merganser, some say it’s “Hollyhood”! Some birding on the Milwaukee lakefront produced an adult Iceland Gull at South Shore Yacht Club. That was about it for birds to note on a very cold morning with temps around 20 and stiff winds from the west, it was cloudy. Images were taken on January 1, 2019.

Hooded Merganser, male

Wet head, just after some head dipping…

Iceland Gull in flight, note white wing tips at the South Shore Yacht Club…

Long-tailed Duck at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on December 3, 2018

While out birding some of the Milwaukee lakefront today, the highlight was a female adult Long-tailed Duck. The duck continually dove for food the whole time I was present which was about 15-20 minutes. No other ducks were in the area of this one. Always in search this time of year for a Snowy Owl, I came up empty. A couple hundred Greater Scaup were present in the lagoon near Summerfest along with a couple Red-breasted Mergansers, Common Goldeneye and one lone female Bufflehead. It was a chilly morning with cloudy skies, stiff winds out of the north, temps were around 31 degrees. Images were taken on December 3, 2018.

Long-tailed Duck, female in winter plumage…

In coming…

Thinking about the next dive under…

Going down…

Halfway in…

Short tail feathers…

Paddling in…

Beauty of the back…

Looking around…

Hooded Merganser at the Fox River in Waukesha Wisconsin on November 24, 2018

I stopped by the Fox River this morning near the dam in Waukesha to see if anything was going on. There was a male Hooded Merganser present hanging out with Mallards. Could this be the famous “Hollyhood” that was seen last winter? Some believe it is that. I can’t say, but it acted like it could be, on shore once for awhile watching the mallards eat some bird seed that someone had tossed out. It was a gloomy day with a light mist every so often, I hung around and took some pics of this guy as he had not been seen for 4 days and this was my first sighting of him since last winter. Dan W was down at the river and said the merganser had just come in before I got there. Just before I left, the merganser took to the air and flew out of sight to the north. A beautiful duck I will say! Temps were around 35, low winds but a dark gloomy day as said. Images were taken on November 24, 2018.

Hooded Merganser, male

On the shore just being one of the mallards…

The beauty of the back view…

Sitting on the shoreline thinking about the next move…

Start of a stretch that did not happen…

Tundra Swans at Grobschmidt Park in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on November 11, 2018

I got a tip this morning from Mike W that swans were at Grobschmidt Park in Milwaukee County. I made the trip over there, they turned out to be Tundra Swans. I have never seen Tundra Swans in SE Wisconsin so it was a treat to see them there. It was a pair and they were resting when I arrived with a few Ring-billed Gulls. This is a difficult place for photos and today was no different, there is only one access point. They remained pretty much opposite the one access location on Mud Lake and it was a long distance at that. After a while the pair swam a little north and then back south and feed. It was a mild November day with low winds, some sun, temps in the lower 30’s. Images were taken on November 11, 2018.

The pair of Tundra Swans swimming south at a distance…

Earlier….On a mud flat, one resting, the other one on alert…

A leg stretch and one resting…

The other one with a leg stretch and the other preening…

Just before the swim…

Swimming south….

Snow Goose, Blue Morph at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on October 22, 2018

A Snow Goose, Blue Morph was reported yesterday at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin. I stopped in at the park late morning and it was still present out near a baseball field. This adult bird was content eating the turfgrass there and was by itself. It was a beautiful day with temps in the 50’s, low winds inland and full sun. Images were taken on October 22, 2018.

Snow Goose, Blue Morph adult hanging out in a grass area enjoying the parks turfgrass…

Snow Goose, Blue Morph

Binomial name: Chen caerulescens

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Size: 28” long, 53” wing span

Weight: 5.3 lb

Getting that bite!

Yum…

Eating away…

At takeoff…

Paddling around in the pond, hanging near Canada Geese…

Cackling Goose at Veterans Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on October 5, 2018

One of my birding stops this morning was Veterans Park in Milwaukee. Canada Geese numbers have been increasing there lately. I typically will check them out with my binoculars looking for something different. Today I picked out a Cackling Goose in one of the Canada Geese flocks feeding in the grassy areas. To my thinking, we get a few in migration but that is about it here in Milwaukee.  At times it was hard to locate this goose at a distance when most of the heads are down feeding, this bird just did not stand out, at times I thought it left the area, but it did not. The Canada Geese present did not hang with this goose, a lot of the time the Cackling was 10-20 feet from them. It rained continually for the morning, when it was just misting, that was great. A lot of wind off the lake, temps were chilly to start. Images were taken on October 5, 2018.

Cackling Goose, shorter bill, rounder head than the Canada Goose…

Cackling Goose with a piece of grass in its bill…

Cackling Goose in the front, Canada Goose behind, comparison shot…

Both Geese feeding, Cackling on the right…

Cackling Goose on the right…

Getting a drink…

Cackling Goose in the middle…

Canada Goose, longer bill……in the rain…

Walking through puddles…

Walking through puddles…Cackling in the front…

Cackling Goose feeding on the grass…

More feeding…

Moving along in the mud…

Misty back…

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…