A Winter Walk Through Forest Park

A great blue heron strikes a silhouette against a cloudy sky this morning in Forest Park.

My buddy Danny Mac and I strolled through Forest Park this morning at the crack of dawn. I was looking for “anything that moves” as usual, but hoping for something really cool like one of the park’s resident minks. Danny, an old tracker, spent much of his time checking tracks in the snow. It appeared that at least one fox had walked all around the park during the previous evening. I kept my eyes open for one the rest of the morning to no avail as expected.

I made the featured image of a great blue heron standing on one leg in silhouette, right after Danny asked me if I liked to get silhouette shots. It was a wonderful coincidence! I love silhouettes, of course, and I had to scold my buddy for forgetting some of my favorites that I’ve posted here, including kingfishers, dickcissels, eagles, and other critters. Oh the fading memories of aging naturalists, me included.

 

A red-winged blackbird gorges on cattail seeds.

A nice view of the winter plumage of a red-winged blackbird.

The cattail marsh along the trail was filled with blackbirds, many gorging on cattail seeds. We were surprised to see the blackbirds eating the fluffy seeds but I even made a video of the foraging behavior in case somebody suspected we were off our rockers! We also found blackbirds working over sweetgum balls in the surrounding trees just moments after Danny said, “I wonder if anything eats sweetgum seeds?” We were honored that Mother Nature felt compelled to answer Danny’s question so promptly. As we watched the blackbirds feeding on a variety of forage, we reveled in the management of Forest Park for diversity. Remember when most parks were just mowed fields and concrete paths? Forest Park offers so much more now.

Two turtle doves! Okay, actually four mourning doves but Danny and I were in the Christmas spirit.

A redtail watches the action from a high snag.

As we watched all the blackbirds, doves, and bluejays, I mentioned to Danny to keep his eyes open for a hawk. I said, “If I were a hawk, this is where I would be.” A few moments later, Danny said, “There’s your hawk,” as he pointed to a redtail high above us on a snag. It was a morning of educated predictions all around!

Hornet art!

On our way back to the 4Runner we ran across this hornet’s nest, exposed on a leafless limb of winter. A closer look revealed a gorgeous work of art featuring colorful swirls of paper. Lovely!

A walk through Forest Park is a treat any time of year but I find it especially rewarding in winter. If you’ve never been, you’re missing out.

Happy Naturing,

DB

Thanks to everybody who purchased tickets for my presentation on Pelicans and Swans at the Bryan Haynes Gallery on January 25. The event is sold out.

Email:  Natureframes@Rocketmail.Com

Gallery and Print Information:  Danny’s Website

America is beautiful. I vote to keep it that way.

 

2 comments on “A Winter Walk Through Forest Park”

  1. Hi Danny, Hard to believe the park has such diversity. Lovely shots. Let’s get together when we get back in January. Alan

    All the Best – The Bells

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