Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Winter is Almost Over, a Recap.

I'll be the first one to admit I'm not a lover of Winter like some folks are here in Wisconsin.  It's cold, it's windy, and it's dark; some days I just don't want to get out of bed.  This Winter was worse than the last few we've had here, recording as much as 30 inches of snow so far.  With that said, the birding has been pretty sporadic at best, getting out just on a few mornings, and only a few birding walks with friends.

On Thanksgiving it was reported on Facebook that a pair of Red Crossbills were located in Milwaukee County's Grant Park, so a group of us birders rushed to the park to get a closer look at the handsome birds.  As reported, there were a pair of them.  The Crossbills were a lifer for me, so I'm very happy to have seen them and gotten a few shots of  them feeding and at play. 
Female Red Crossbill

Very handsome male Red Crossbill

In the Winter, one thing you can always count on is the enormous amount of duck life we have on our icy ponds, streams, and rivers!  We see plenty of Wood Ducks, Bufflehead, Common Goldeyes, Hooded Mergansers, and of course the ubiquitous Mallard.

This handsome female Wood Duck posed for me at one of the local marinas in Southeast Wisconsin
A pair of Hooded Merganser enjoying a sunny Winter morning, it was 5 degrees out

A gorgeous pair of Goldeneyes showing why they are one of the most popular ducks

This male Bufflehead was at the range of my lens
Another bird I saw a few times this Winter and are very common in the parks, is the beautiful Cedar Waxwing. You will find them normally in a small number looking for the last few berries that may be on the bushes and trees.

A pair of Cedar Waxwings in a local park
Another bird always in abundance in the local parks and backyards in Winter are the White-breasted Nuthatches. This nimble little bird is often seen walking upside down on a branch foraging for food.  They are always fun to watch and photograph.

The little nimble White-Breasted Nuthatch

One of the really nice things about living up here is the chance to spot the Great Snowy Owl, which has been making its visits to the south of the border more frequently. These majestic birds are always a hot topic here because of the rarity of finding them; though according to experts because of milder Winters we have had the last few years, more owls are being born and they are searching south for places to feed.  In 2011 over 100 snowy owls had been reported across Wisconsin. Normally no more than a dozen or two are spotted each Winter.

A Female Snowy Owl at the South Shore Marina in Bay View

A Male Snowy Owl at the Lake Express ferry in South Milwaukee

That's it for me this month; Spring is around the corner, I can't wait. Remember if you would like to see more of my work, I'm at  My BlogFlickr , Google Plus  , Facebook  and Twitter.


  1. So many great shots! I love those goldeneyes. I don't think we get there here in central Florida. Nor the snowy owls. Nice catch!

  2. Some of my favorites. Enjoyed your pictures.

  3. What wonderful finds and excellent photography! I love the goldeneye shot. We really have to search for them down here in Arizona! I was living in Massachusetts during 2011 and so was able to see my first snowy owl there!

  4. So many beautiful winter birds in your area. Superb photographs! Gorgeous goldeneyes and handsome owl.