At the park: 71

crunchy trailThe team faced down the sleety weather this morning to start the rounds of checking nest boxes.

precipnice weather for ducksFollowing such a cold February, the wetland was substantially iced over, with only the main channel of Barnyard Run free-flowing. Which meant two things: first, we got some closer looks at wintering ducks than we otherwise might have.

Second, the effort of walking up to the boxes was much easier. Most of the boxes were surrounded by firm ice (see guest photo by Kat). This also meant that we weren’t working over our heads—always a challenge for the more diminutive members of the team. It was only at the edges of open water where the ice would suddenly break through, threatening to tip the unwary monitor into the cold, cold water and mud.

The end result is that we made our tour in an hour and half No dawdling to look for birds (though we did see a Bald Eagle and a couple of Pileated Woodpeckers), no fussing with the hardware. Back to the cars before the next round of frozen stuff falls from the sky.

What we did not see, somewhat surprisingly, were any merganser eggs. Usually they get a least one box started ahead of us, somewhere in the last days of February.

windthrowThis windthrown maple is having a bad winter.