What a Difference a Day Makes

mallard 11-14-2018 12-15-44 PM
Even though the mallards are extremely common birds here, I can’t help photographing them!

November 15, 2018

Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day for a picture walk. The sun was out, the skies were clear—and there was no wind. If it wasn’t for the snow on the ground and a thermometer that read 35 degrees, I would have thought it was summer! What a contrast to the arctic blast of the day before! I couldn’t wait to spend the day taking pictures at the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary!


As soon as I arrived at the sanctuary, there was a welcoming committee of song birds! Well, truth be told, they weren’t all that interested in my arrival, but they were interested in all the well-stocked bird feeders scattered near the entrance! The nearby trees, where the birds waited patiently for their turn at a feeder, provided an excellent perch for natural looking photos. I must have  taken two hundred pictures before I even passed through the entrance!

swan 11-14-2018 10-20-17 AM
Trumpeter swan overhead!

Once inside the sanctuary, the main attraction, for many visitors, are the very large and very noisy trumpeter swans—they are impossible to ignore!! Next in line are the huge flocks of Canadian geese and mallard ducks. They are less noisy than the swans but much more prolific.

Then, depending on the day, you may see a lone Mandarin duck in a nearby pond. He is an absolutely stunning bird, but is often hard to spot– either because he’s swimming in among a hundred other birds (mostly mallards), or because he’s hidden in one of the bushes along the shore. Yesterday, though, was my ‘double-luck’ day! Not only was the duck swimming in full view—he was close by! Also elusive, but equally beautiful (well, almost) are the wood ducks. Sometimes, I find a pair or two hiding out along the eastern shore of Wintergreen Lake, but not today.

mandarin duck 11-14-2018 10-30-34 AM
The stunningly beautiful Mandarin duck!

Then, depending on the time of year, I might see less common ducks, or ducks that are just migrating through. In that respect, yesterday was a super-duper-mega-duck- bonanza! I saw buffleheads, hooded mergansers, redheads, and lesser scaups. (I’d never even heard of ‘redheads’ before!) There were tons of these birds floating around Wintergreen Lake—but they were so far from shore that it was really difficult to get good pictures. I did manage to get a few shots, though, that were good enough for my bird app to identify what they were—like the lesser scaups and the redheads, which were not familiar to me. It was such a large flock of birds, though, that there may have been even more varieties of birds out there, but, I didn’t have my binoculars with me to confirm my suspicions.


Aside from some very mysterious and frustrating problems with my camera yesterday, it was the best day ever!

RUDDY DUCK, MALE 11-14-2018 11-48-34 AM
Ruddy Duck, male
Goldfinch 11-14-2018 9-29-51 AM
This cute little goldfinch was taking a ‘snow bath’.
swan 11-14-2018 12-21-009
I love how the geese give the appearance of running across the water when they are getting ready to take off!!
Goldfinch looking for seeds.
Just a little reminder on a bench in the sanctuary.


hooded mergansers 11-14-2018 12-22-59 PM
Male and female hooded mergansers
house finch 11-14-2018 11-16-17 AM
House finch gobbling down bittersweet berries.


mallard 11-14-2018 12-10-48 PM
Male Mallard–I just love how beautiful these birds look floating along on calm waters.


dark eyed junco 11-14-2018 9-30-50 AM
This dark eyed junco was also taking a ‘snow bath’.


sign 11-14-2018 10-47-45 AM
I was not the least bit comforted by this sign!!


red head 11-14-2018 12-13-35 PM
If you think of this picture as a moody water color painting rather than a poor photograph, then I think it works! It’s a Redhead Duck and it was so far away that this is the  only picture I got that even came close to showing you what they look like.
trumpeter swan 11-14-2018 10-17-35 AM
A young trumpeter swan
goose 11-14-2018 12-29-001
Canadian Goose taking flight
squirrel 11-14-2018 12-48-28 PM
Caught in the act!!


LESSER SCAUP 11-14-2018 12-09-10 PM
Lesser Scaup, male
mallards 11-14-2018 10-18-50 AM
Mr. and Mrs. Mallard, such a lovely couple!


geese in formation 11-14-2018 9-33-54 AM
Canadian geese in flight.
downy woodpecker 11-14-2018 11-25-17 AM
Downy woodpecker
dark eyed junco 11-14-2018 9-30-32 AM
Dark eyed junco, immature female






buffleheads 11-14-2018 12-20-39 PM
Male Buffleheads
black swan 11-14-2018 10-34-24 AM
The resident black swan
bufflehead 11-14-2018 10-24-10 AM
Female bufflehead
blue jay 11-14-2018 9-29-30 AM





cardinal 11-14-2018 9-44-03 AM
A very perky male cardinal

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