I had a great outing yesterday. It began with having an extra day off of work. Even though it was very cold yet again, the sun was out and there were some interesting clouds in the sky. When I told my wife that I was going out to get some barn shots for Heartland Heritage she told me I was crazy.
As I started driving down the road I recalled an old farm very close by. It took all of 15 minutes to get the shots that I needed of the farm, so I jumped back in the car and headed to Kishwaukee River Forest Preserve. This park is somewhat small making it easy to have a short visit in the cold temperatures.
I had gotten a blurry image of what looked like it might be a loon when I was here on Saturday. I wanted to see if I could find this bird again and get a better photo of it. I also had hopes of seeing the Bald Eagle again. More on the eagle in another post! 😉
As I arrived at the forest preserve some clouds started to roll in and a bit of snow came down, but I noticed that there seemed to be many squirrels playing around and looking for food. I knew I would at least get a few shots of the long tailed rodents. I also knew from Saturday’s visit that there would be some Canada Geese near the entrance on the other side of the bridge that goes over the river.
There was more ice on the river which I had expected since it is still well below freezing. I did however notice a few Mallards mixed in with the first flock of geese. A short distance down the river I came across the bird I had confused for a loon. It was definitely a duck of some sort that I had never seen before. Also swimming with this bird was another duck that looked similar but had a brownish head that I could only guess was the female of the same species. Upon some investigation upon returning home I determined that the ducks were Common Mergansers (Mergus merganser) and that they are only here during the winter.
I have to wonder if I hadn’t become interested in photography if I would have ever seen these interesting ducks. The ducks were only the first 20 minutes of my outing. I spent about an hour walking down the river photographing not one Bald Eagle, but three of them. I will share the photographs of the eagles and the squirrels on another day. Enjoy the waterfowl!