Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cinnamon Surprise

The recent mild temperatures in the Midwest has brought many a smile to winter-weary Chicagoans. I was fortunate to spend a couple of beautiful days visiting a few of my favorite birding spots. Though I mostly viewed the common winter visitors (White-breasted Nuthatches, Black-capped Chickadees, Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers), I was in for quite a surprise at North Pond in Lincoln Park. After making the rounds of the pond, a gentleman approached me and excitingly inquired if I had seen the red duck. I had seen many Lesser Scaup, Mallards, Canada Geese and 3 Greylag Geese, but no red duck. I was intrigued. He kindly offered to show me the red feathered beauty and off we trod to an area where there was a large congregation of Canada Geese. There, swimming at a very rapid pace and skimming the water with its long bill was a most stunning creature, a Cinnamon Teal. Its rich ruddy hues, brilliant red eye and lovely iridescent blue and green wing feathers created quite the breathtaking sight. We both observed the little busy teal, captivated by its beauty.

Upon further research, I discovered that Cinnamon Teals are most commonly found in marshes and ponds of western North and South America. Its migration route does not include the Midwest. Where did this lovely dabbling duck come from?

This blog features many of the beautiful sightings seen on a few March outings.

A most unique pond visitor ~ Cinnamon Teal

A striking Red-headed Woodpecker excavates a deep cavity

An attractive Mallard pair wade in North Pond

A common doe-eyed winter visitor ~ Tufted Titmouse

Putting on quite the display for a fellow White-breasted Nuthatch

A Ring-billed Seagull admires its reflection from the edge of the ice

The sightly profile of a Red-bellied Woodpecker

Glorious Sandhill Cranes in flight

On this day, I was fortunate to view hundreds of migrating Sandhill Cranes ~ I heard their raucous trumpeting calls the entire 2 1/2 hours I spent birdwatching ~ I observed smaller groups of cranes at various altitudes come together and form one massive, incredible flock

The magnificent colors of a male Wood Duck

A Lesser Scaup delights in the sunny day

Exquisite feathers ~ Cinnamon Teal

Cinnamon beauty

One last look at the stunning Cinnamon Teal