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Cold Frosty Morning – in Sam Smith Park

Naturalist Miles Hearn was leading a walk this morning just down the street at Sam Smith Park. It’s not my usual day (I’m on the Wednesday schedule), but since it was so close, I decided to tag along.

Winter is starting to really set in around here. The small cove to the west of the yacht club is starting to freeze up and the yacht club basin is frozen over, except where they keep the water aerated so two or three boats can stay in the water for winter, all covered in plastic. In exposed areas, waves crash up against the rocks and make beautiful ice formations.

There were plenty of Canada geese around as well as some mute swans and many winter ducks of various species.

Red-breasted mergansers

I love the red-breasted merganzers with their devil-may-care crests. We also saw a single American wigeon hanging out with gadwall pals.

American wigeon (left) with gadwalls

The wigeon stood out by the white stripe on its head.

Gadwall and American wigeon

Someone has set up a feeder near the south parking lot, which has attracted quite a bit of bird activity.

Female cardinal and downy woodpecker
house finch
Mourning doves

On our summer walks, I recall seeing quite a lot of a yellow flower known as tansy. Here’s what it looks like in winter.

Tansy
Alder
Oriental bittersweet

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