Johnson County – Saturday – The Search for Open Water

I was looking for a good, long walk today from my house.  But a line of snow that was supposed to be south of here towards Kentucky decided to move north and we ended up with what looks like another 5 ” of snow.  So the sidewalks and trails were already snow-covered and another 5″ would make a long walk difficult.  Unless I walked on roads and I wasn’t going to do that.  With the reports of White-winged Scoters in the Midwest I thought I would check open water in the area.

So I started at Lowes/Walmart pond and nothing new had come in the past week.  And the Common Goldeneye were gone. So I headed to Province Park to see if anything was mixed in with the Canada Geese. Upon arriving I saw a bird with what appeared to be a white slash on its head, and then it immediately mixed in with the Canada Geese.

I know there is a bird with a white head slash in there somewhere - I saw it for a minute before it disappeared. Province Park 02/15/14

I know there is a bird with a white head slash in there somewhere – I saw it for a minute before it disappeared.
Province Park 02/15/14

Hopes for a White-winged Scoter didn’t last long when I got a glimpse and it was a male Wood Duck.  I must have glimpsed the white throat patch that extends onto the head. See photo below.  Still it’s a pretty uncommon bird considering the weather and time of year.  I stood around for 20 minutes until the Canada Geese decided to move and I could get a picture.  I took the picture even though the Wood Duck was resting.  I wasn’t going to stand for another 20 minutes in 8-10″ of snow and 15F temperature for a better photo. Dig those Red Eyes.

Resting Wood Duck among the Canada Geese Province Park - 02/15/14

Resting Wood Duck among the Canada Geese
Province Park – 02/15/14

After a couple of non-productive stops I checked the Big Blue River in Edinburgh.  The only birds were a few Canada Geese and a pair of distant Hooded Mergansers.

Distant photo of a Hooded Merganser pair.  Your can tell the female from the white secondaries. Edinburgh 02/15/14

Distant photo of a Hooded Merganser pair. Note the white secondaries.
Edinburgh 02/15/14

My last stop was Irwin Park.  I knew it would be a tough walk after the snow last night but  I wanted to check the river there.

More snow last night - 5".  There is open water beyond the trees.  I hope. Irwin Park, Edinburgh 02/15/14

More snow last night – 5″. There is open water beyond the trees. I hope.
Irwin Park, Edinburgh 02/15/14

So I made my way to the river and luckily there was some open water.  Only thing there were 150 Canada Geese.  Nothing else.  The Common Goldeneyes that were here last week were gone.  Common theme today.  So I made my way to the trail and checked the woods.  It was fairly active with a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (probably same one I have seen on several occasions), several Brown Creepers, several Golden-crowned Kinglets (one even paused for pictures), and one Ruby-crowned Kinglet.  I’m guessing the Ruby-crowned was here all winter.  I saw one on 1/1 and was sure I glimpsed one a few weeks ago but couldn’t confirm the ID.

Golden-crowned Kinglet - same guy.  And you can see the Golden. Irwin Park, Edinburgh  02/15/14

Golden-crowned Kinglet. And you can see the Golden.
Irwin Park, Edinburgh 02/15/14

A Golden-crowned Kingklet actually pausing for a minute and letting me take a picture or two. Irwin Park, Edinburgh 02/15/14

Same Guy – actually pausing for a minute and letting me take a picture or two.
Irwin Park, Edinburgh 02/15/14

Then it was time to head home.  For those keeping score at home, the Wood Duck was Johnson County #58 for the year.

 

 

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