The first thing I noticed was many Gulls circling the paddle boat pond just off the front lawn area. In addition to the Gulls, who were feeding on small shad, the shoreline bushes and trees were loaded with Cormorants, also trying to grab a snack. I was getting some flight shots of the Gulls when I noticed a juvenile Bald Eagle circling overhead. I got a few shots of the young eagle, then an adult Baldy made their entrance and began a dive into the pond--I was behind bushes and not able to get clear shots of the full dive, missing the point of contact with the water, but did manage to get a part of the flight back up--in one of those shots, you can see the small fish he caught in his claws. I later got a pic of the adult sitting in an adjacent tree, waiting for its next target. Later, a second juvenile showed up for the action.
Walking back into the park, I saw Cardinals, a male House Wren, Yellow-rumped Warblers, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and a Bluebird. I couldn’t help thinking how beautiful these colorful birds are. They light up the day anytime, but are especially impressive in mid-winter when cold grey color predominates-- I also saw Chipping and White Throated Sparrows.
I think the real highlight of the morning was a Pileated Woodpecker who flew into a tree very close by and began working on a rotten limb looking for beetles or ants. It is not very often that one gets very close to these guys--they usually see us long before we see them and are gone before we get more than a glimpse, usually of their back end! Photographing them usually takes long hours of patient waiting and a good portion of luck. So I was thrilled to have one voluntarily pose nearby!! I got several nice shots which you can see below.
After the great morning, I suddenly realized that I was freezing and headed for the car--thankful for another great birding experience at River Park North! See pics in gallery below.