I have hit Foster Park hard and often in the first two months of this year, trying in vain to bulk up my motorless list. But after the usual suspects were had early, the birding has been slow, if not relaxing. I am still missing Mourning Dove for the year. Seriously. Mourning Dove.
Yesterday, on the last day of February, I took advantage of some sunshine to check out Foster again, hoping to tick sapsuckers, kinglets, and maybe a Winter Wren (and Mourning Dove).
I was desperate to actually put together a blog post with photos in it, so as I walked the river bank, I started taking pictures of everything that moved, which was not much. Nothing against White-Breasted Nuthatch, but I can see you anywhere.
I was getting desperate to make something out of my trip. So squirrels were fair game, too. Maybe I could do one of those interesting “Here are some mammals I saw while birding” posts, but I would need to do better than Fox Squirrel to muster that.
Falling deeper into despair, I resorted to taking pictures of the cool ice formations on the river.
Next, my mind tried very hard to make this stub of branch into a waxwing.
Then suddenly, something black and white splashed down into the river next to me. Common Goldeneye! Good! My patience paid off, as this was certainly an unexpected duck to find. Open water must have been hard to come by for this diver, because he was cruising around in a tiny open patch of shallow and frozen river. I also realized that this is actually a county bird for me; score!
Common Goldeneye turned out to be especially good, because this photo summarizes the rest of the waterfowl present.
As I continued, I began to look up both literally and figuratively, because a jogger flushed a large raptor ahead of me on the trail, and it landed almost directly above me.
See it? No? Let me zoom in some more…
Barred Owl was an exceptional way to end the day. I hear them all the time behind my house, but I am a seen-only kind of guy when it comes to listing. I figured I would get one eventually on the motorless list, but I did not expect to see one in full sunlight and manage a clear photograph to boot.
Now if only I could get so lucky with Mourning Dove…