I haven't done much exploring yet around Cayuga Lake, even though Ithaca is right at the southern edge of this finger lake, and I see the lake just about every day from my hilltop workplace. It's not the Long Island Sound, or Lake Erie, or heck, the Pacific Ocean, but it's still really nice to be living near a sizeable body of water, and Cayuga Lake is certainly beautiful.
So yesterday afternoon, I bundled up (it was around 20 degrees F and windy) and went for a walk in Stewart Park, where some creeks and waterways meet the lake's southern shore. Strange crackling sounds were coming from the ice at the water's edge, and a few hundred ducks and geese were hanging out on this part of the lake, but otherwise the place was quite still:
A big flock of Canada Geese was out on the water/ice, with more geese coming in for a landing all the time:
I was surprised to see that several geese in this group were banded; but maybe I shouldn't have been surprised, given how many ornithologists there are in this area:
Most of the ducks on the lake were Mallards, but a couple of fancy male Northern Pintails were mixed in there as well:
And a small group of Common Mergansers were cruising away from the lake on the creek:
A Belted Kingfisher was keeping watch over this waterway as well:
Back on land, a Downy Woodpecker was exploring the craggy trunks of some big trees in the park's open space:
I expect to see woodpeckers on tree trunks, of course, but the woodpecker wasn't the only bird working over these trees:
A flock of seven or so Eastern Bluebirds (mostly brightly colored males, it seemed) were moving from tree to tree, foraging on the lower trunks and around the roots:
I'm used to seeing bluebirds in fields, not out on the bare ground or on trunks like this. But these beautiful creatures must have been finding something good around here:
Hello, lovely girl:
I mean, what is all this? I don't think I'll see so many bluebirds in one frame again any time soon!
There are certainly benefits to living near a big lake!