Stephanie Sykes posted this impressive sequence of a Red-tailed hawk roaming for prey on the Bay side of Picnic Point. in early January before freezing of the Lake. The hawk is scanning the surroundings below and than taking off. Note that this hawk has been banded. Stephanie's sequence of photos is posted on iNaturalist.
This year's warm winter has caused some unusual winter sightings of birds that normally would have migrated south. Likely attracted by the flowing water, this Gray Catbird dumetella carolinensis was seen by David Liebl on January 24, 2020, along University Bay Dr. where the 1918 Marsh drains to the yellow pump house.
What walk could be more beautiful then through the woods in winter, with the sun reflecting from the snow, long shadows, silence except for snow crunching under boots, little tracks in the white fluff around grasses, and knowing that along these very cliffs, blanketed by the snow, Dutchman's breeches are waiting their turn in early spring.
As often on his walks inside the Preserve and along the lakeshore, David Liebl is presented with beautiful and interesting sights. Along the border of clear ice and water, viewed from Lakeshore path, he saw this gorgeous adult Trumpeter Swan surrounded by likely offspring, immature Trumpeter Swans. In addition to the usual white feather dress reflected brilliantly in the sun and the contrasting black beak, the adult wears a large yellow collar band around it's neck. The number (37C) indicates that it had been banded in Wisconsin, likely when much younger or slimmer, because here the band looks rather tight.
Below, Tundra swans feeding and resting along the thin ice rim of University Bay, and in flight over the open lake after having been flushed off the ice shelf near James Madison Park.
On January 8, 2020, Galen and Grace Hasler enjoyed a walk to Picnic Point in the brisk air, with temperatures below freezing and thin floats of ice forming on the Bay. They were surprised by an amazing assemblage of waterfowl feeding and keeping the water open: they reported 116 Canada goose, 115 Tundra swan, 3 American Wigeon, 140 mallards, 6 Bufflehead, 200 Common Goldeneye, 52 Common Mergansers, only 80 American coots, and as bonus sights, 2 Bald eagles and in the woods a Great horned owl. Early in the season there were hundreds of coots on the Bay, often mixed with Buffleheads. Apparently the Goldeneye are now gathering to move on.
Other Friends were also seeking our birds in the Preserve on this fine day. David Liebl, walking in the woods, recorded Blue Jay, Black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, cedar waxwing, Dark-eyed junco, and even an American goldfinch. You can check out eBird Lakeshore Nature Preserve and follow the birds in the Preserve. They make things happen!
On December 22, 2019, Cynthia Carlson visited the boat landing at University Bay and captured several Bald Eagles on the ice and in trees with her camera. It was cold but sunny, and a good day for catching fish along the edge of the advancing ice. Chuck Henrikson was also watching.
That same weekend, on her usual trek from Shorewood to Picnic Point along the shore past Frautschi Point, Genevieve Murtaugh of the Friends spotted ten Bald Eagles in the air and on trees, and two more at Picnic Point. With her iPhone she was able to photograph adult and immature Bald Eagles surveying the scene from tree tops.
Gisela Kutzbach and contributors