Monday, December 31, 2012

Dec 31, 2012: December Photo Collage


December photos from the blog by Kevin Kane, Wolf Oesterreich, and Erv Klaas.

Dec 30, 2012: Transition


Rocky south shore of south lake transitions between snow cover and and ice.  12/27/12 (Kevin Kane)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dec 28, 2012: Ice vs. Geese


On Thursday the geese were still keeping an area of water open in the middle of the south lake but they were losing ground fast as the temperatures remained frigid. 12/27/12 (Kevin Kane)

Ice fisherman are loving the new ice: http://amestrib.com/sections/news/ames-and-story-county/ice-fishing-waiting-game.html

Friday, December 28, 2012

Dec 27, 2012: Ice


Six inches of ice act as a window to the shallow bottom of the south lake. 12/27/12 (Kevin Kane)

Beautifully transparent and smooth ice has covered the Ada Hayden Park lakes and with it has come the first of the season's ice fishermen.  Standing on top looking down gives an eerie yet spectacular view of the lake bottom and even without skates you can slide along just fine.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dec 25, 2012: White Christmas


Geese land in an open area in the midle of the south lake, looking west.  12/24/12 (Kevin Kane)

In every direction, the park looks like a postcard with the recent snow, the lake ice, and the ever increasing number of birds trying to keep areas of open water.  The frigid temperatures are keeping many walkers away but if you get a chance to get out, the park has never been more peaceful.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Dec 24, 2012: Peaceful Christmas Eve


Ice is slowly closing the open areas of the south lake, constricting the areas where birds can congregate. 12/24/12 (Kevin Kane) 

Hundreds of geese were flying into the few remaining open areas of the south lake today (the north lake is completely iced over).  My walk at sunset was frigid with a temperature of 18 with 2 degree windchill.  It was a peaceful evening with the geese flying in, the bitter cold temps, and the colors of the sunset reflecting on the blueish ice and snow.


Dec 23, 2012: Snow Sculpture


Wind-caused snow sculpture along the Upland Trail. 12/21/12 (Wolf. Oesterreich)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dec 22, 2012: Geese in Flight


Canada Geese, 12/21/12 (Wolf Oesterreich) 

It's fun to watch the Canada Geese take off. These were initially found along the south lake's north shore and then they flew to the north lake.

Wolf. Oesterreich

Friday, December 21, 2012

Dec 21, 2012: Footprints in the Snow


The icy cold blue of the snow and the yellow oranges of the setting sun highlight the single set of footprints left by an unknown hiker earlier in the day - before the shadows and the individual drifts could take shape.  12/21/12 (Kevin Kane)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dec 20, 2012: Snow comes to AHHP!


Eleven inches of snow fell on the park over the last 24 hours covering everything but the lakes and ponds with a blanket of white.  I took a 90 minute walk around the south lake and saw only two others in the park as the main parking lot was inaccessible.  The high winds and low temps kept the geese in the protected coves.  The sundogs around the sun were some of the best I have ever seen.  12/20/12 (Kevin Kane)

Dec 19, 2012: Calm Before the Storm


Mallards take flight off the south lake (looking northwest) on Wednesday morning just hours before the park is blanketed with almost a foot of snow.  12/19/12 (Kevin Kane)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dec 18, 2012: American Coot


American Coot swim near the southeast spillway of the south lake, 12/19/12 (Kevin Kane)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dec 17, 2012: Friends of AHHP on Facebook






Friends of Ada Hayden Heritage Park now has a page on Facebook.  To find it go to
https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfAdaHaydenHeritagePark

If you "Like" the page you will receive updates on your Facebook timeline when new articles or photos are published.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dec 16, 2012: Erv's Field Notes #49


Adult Northern Saw-whet Owl, © Amanda Guercio, ON, Kingston, November 2011

Sunday, December 16, 2012. Cloudy, north wind, Temperature 39 degrees F.

I walked around the South Lake. Several hundred Canada Geese and a few dozen Mallards were on the lake. Also, a dozen or so Mallards were loafing along the shore of pond N near Stonebrooke. I looked for the Black Duck that Wolf saw a few days ago but I didn’t see it. A Red-tailed Hawk flew over me as I walked along the south shore. A few minutes later, most of the geese got up off the lake and flew towards the southwest. I decided to look closely in all of the Eastern red cedar trees near the path for a Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadius). I didn’t find an owl but in one tree, I saw a some “white-wash” on the foliage and a closer look revealed several small owl pellets on the ground beneath the tree. Owls swallow their prey whole, usually mice and shrews, and then regurgitate a pellet composed of hair and bone. I collected the pellets which looked relatively fresh. Once they have dried out, I will tease them apart and see if I can identify the bones.

Saw-whet Owls breed in the northern coniferous forests and in pine forests in the western mountains as far south as southern Mexico. They occur in Iowa only during the winter. I took the following from a web site called www.owlpages.com. Check this site out for more information on this interesting species.

“European explorers first discovered this Owl in a North American colony called Acadia (now Nova Scotia). The Latinised word "acadius" refers to this territory. The common name "Saw-whet" comes from these Owl’s unique calls. The Saw-whet Owl is also called Acadian Owl, blind Owl, Kirkland's Owl, the saw-filer, the sawyer, sparrow Owl, white-fronted Owl, Farmland Owl, Little Nightbird, Queen Charlotte Owl, and even the Whet-saw Owl. Common misspellings: sawwhet owl, sawhet owl.

Description: The Northern Saw-whet Owl is a very small, short-bodied, owl with a relatively short tail. The overly large head has no ear tufts and may appear distorted due to an asymmetrical skull. They look small when perched and tend to shuffle their feet, but in flight appear larger because of their broad wings. The facial disk has brownish and whitish radials around the edge, which fade to a whitish area around the eyes. There is also a dark area from the base of the bill to the bottom inside edge of each eye. The rest of the head is brownish to grey-brown and densely covered with white streaks, especially on the forehead. The eyes are large and bright yellow-orange. The bill is black. Plumage is quite fluffy and brownish or reddish brown overall streaked with white underneath and spotted on the back. Flight feathers are spotted white. The legs and feet are light buff and heavily feathered. The toes are lightly feathered and the claws are dark horn with blackish tips.”

Saw-whets are strictly nocturnal and perch low in trees, especially evergreens. They are easily approached and often can be found with a mouse in their talons.
As I rounded the west side of the lake, a large White-tailed doe slowly walked from the wetlands and into the stand of cottonwood trees near where the upland trail meets the paved path near Paul Errington’s rock. By the way, the upland trail has been surfaced with some new aggregate gravel.

Erv Klaas

Dec 15, 2012: Misty Winter Morning


Early morning mist highlights the bridge and its reflection in tranquil waters, looking south from north lake shore, 12/2/12 (Kevin Kane)


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Dec 14, 2012: Trumpeter Swans


Trumpeter Swans, 12/13/12 (Wolf Oesterreich)

After completing 2 figure-8s around the main lakes and the Upland Trail loop, I started on the 3rd figure-8 (before 1130). Much to my surprise, there were 9 adult Trumpeter Swans on the south lake. The photograph shows just 3 of them. The rust color on the top of the head of the one on the left is from contact with ferrous minerals in the soils of wetland bottoms during feeding. Males are typically larger, but other than that, the sexes are identical. Trumpeter Swans have been successfully reintroduced to Iowa.

Wolf. Oesterreich
Ames
13 Dec 12

Friday, December 14, 2012

Dec 13, 2012: American Black Duck


American Black Duck, 12/13/12 (Wolf Oesterreich)

This male American Black Duck (Anas rubripes) is in the company of 1 male and 2 female Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos). He is the only one of his species present amongst the hundreds of Mallards. He has been present since the 11th. (I hope that he'll remain at least through Saturday, which is when we conduct the annual Ames Christmas Bird Count.) Mallards are hybridizing with the black ducks.

Wolf. Oesterreich
Ames

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dec 12, 2012: December Morning Fishing


A fisherman walks west along the north lake shoreline on a crisp early December morning.  12/2/12 (Kevin Kane)



Dec 11, 2012: Bald Eagle



 Bald Eagle, 12/11/12 (Wolf Oesterreich)

This adult Bald Eagle and an immature caused the ducks on the south lake to take flight. They circled around a few more times, rousing the ducks each time they dipped low, before soaring off to the south.

Wolf

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dec 10, 2012: Great Horned Owl


Great Horned Owl, 12/10/12 (Wolf Oesterreich)
This Great Horned Owl, being mobbed by American Crows, was found at the bluff on Monday. This is probably the same bird reported by Erv Klaas recently (also seen by me earlier in the day).

Wolf. Oesterreich
Ames

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dec 9, 2012: Jensen's Pond


Jensen's Pond, 12/2/12 (Erv Klaas)

Dec 8, 2012: Erv's Field Notes #48


Dew collects on the underside of a milkweed pod, east shore noth lake.  12/2/12 (Kevin Kane)

Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, noon-1:30 pm, Cloudy, slight breeze from northwest. Temperature 36 degrees F.

I walked around the south lake. Several hundred Mallards and six Canada Geese on the lake and several dozen Mallards on the Stonebridge ponds. A little ice has formed around the edges of these ponds. I didn't see any songbirds until I got around to the bluff area where there were Tree Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. A Great Horned Owl was sitting in a big cottonwood tree. Several American Crows were mobbing a young Red-tailed Hawk nearby. When the hawk flew off the crows turned their attention to the owl but the owl stayed put and the crows gave up after a few minutes.

Erv Klaas

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dec 7, 2012: Early Morning Fishing


A fisherman walks the north lake shoreline near the Inuksuit sculpture looking for the right spot to cast his line. 12/2/12 (Kevin Kane)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dec 6, 2012: Geese on the North Lake




Seeing geese on the north lake is not as common as seeing them on the south lake.  On this drizzly morning they were huddled in the southwest corner of the north lake.  12/1/12 (Kevin Kane)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dec 5, 2012: Ross's Goose


Ross's Goose, 12/1/12 (Wolf Oesterreich)

The Ross's Goose is a small (23") white goose. Note the stubby triangular bill, short neck, and rounded head. We get them during Spring and Fall migrations, usually in very low numbers. This one has been around for about 19 November.

Wolf. Oesterreich
Ames

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dec 4, 2012: Foggy Morning Dog Walk




A man walks his dog over the isthmus, looking south over the east shore of the north lake. 12/02/12 (Kevin Kane)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dec 3, 2012: Snow Geese


Snow Geese, 12/1/12 (Wolf Oesterreich)

Snow Geese have been present since 19 November. Numbers vary, but today there were 3 white adults, 2 grayish immatures, and 2 blue adults. This picture shows 1 immature, 1.9 white adults, and parts of 2 blue adults. (At one time, the blue and white morphs were considered different species.)

Wolf. Oesterreich
Ames

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Dec 2, 2012: Fog


Unseasonably warm temperatures led to early morning fog today.  In this photo, taken from the northwest corner of the north lake looking southeast, you can barely make out the bridge in the center, the Inuksuit sculpture to the right, then a mini-shelter further to the right. The fog lingered until about 10:30am.  12/2/12 (Kevin Kane)

Dec 1, 2012: Wolf's November Species List


Ducks on the south lake near the bridge, 11/20/20. (Kevin Kane)

A total of 71 avian species (plus 1 sp.) was recorded this month, ranking this month as the 2nd highest November (tied with November 2011) among 15 years of records.

Based on citations in the 3rd Edition of “The Birds of Story County, Iowa,” by Stephen J. Dinsmore and Hank Zaletel (2001), plus my personal updates to the records, the Ruby-crowned Kinglet sighting on the 10th may be a new extreme late Fall record for Story County.

Listed below, following the species’ names, are the date(s) of sighting(s), plus the occasional miscellaneous information regarding numbers, gender (♂=male, ♀=female), age (im=immature, ju=juvenile, abp=adult breeding plumage, ad=adult, anb=adult non-breeding), color phase (b=blue, w=white), and location (BY=back yard, FY=front yard). The order follows the 52nd Supplement (2011) to the American Ornithologists’ Union Check-list of North American Birds and the 11th Supplement to the 7th Edition (1998).

AVIAN

SNOW GOOSE: 19 (1 ad w + 2 im w + 2 b), 25 (6), 28 (1 ad w), 29 (5 ad w + 3 b)

ROSS’S GOOSE: 19 (1), 22 (1), 29 (1)

CACKLING GOOSE: 12 (24+), 19 (60+), 22, 25, 27 (~17), 28-29

CANADA GOOSE: 1-5, 7-30

WOOD DUCK: 2 (1♂), 24 (1♀), 26 (2♂ + 1♀), 27-28 (2♀), 29 (1♀)

GADWALL: 1 (1♂), 4 (13), 5 (6), 11 (9♂ + 4♀), 22 (2), 23 (15)

AMERICAN WIGEON: 11 (1♀), 24-25 (1♂ + 1♀), 26-29 (1♂ + 2♀)

MALLARD: 1-5, 7 (77+). 8-12, 13 (120+), 14 (249), 15 (52), 16 (98+), 17-23, 24 (200+), 25-30

NORTHERN SHOVELER: 1 (3♀), 2 (1♀), 4 (17), 8 (1♂), 11 (4), 12 (1♂ + 1♀), 14 (1♂), 16 (2♀),

22 (20), 23-24 (2), 27 (1♂ + 2♀), 28 (4)

NORTHERN PINTAIL: 1 (1♂), 11 (10♂ + 7♀), 22 (1♂)

GREEN-WINGED TEAL: 1 (10), 2 (1♀), 4 (1♂), 7 (1♀), 13-14 (1♀), 22 (1♂ + 4♀), 24 (1♂ + 1♀),

25 (1♀), 27 (4♂ + 1♀), 28 (3♂ + 2♀), 29 (1♂)

CANVASBACK: 11 (1♂), 13 (2♂ + 2♀), 20 (2♂ + 1♀)

REDHEAD: 1 (2♀), 12 (15♂ + 16♀), 19 (2♂), 22 (9), 29 (1♂)

RING-NECKED DUCK: 1 (1♀), 2 (1♂ + 1♀), 3-4 (1♂), 11 (1♂), 12 (1♂ + 11♀), 16 (1♂ + 2♀)

LESSER SCAUP: 10 (1♂), 11 (36+), 12 (9♂ + 11♀), 13 (1♂ + 2♀), 22 (3), 24 (17), 25 (3), 27 (20),

29 (4♂), 30 (1♀)

BUFFLEHEAD: 12 (4♂ + 4♀), 13 (1♀), 22 (4♂ + 8♀), 27 (2♀)

HOODED MERGANSER: 2 (4♂), 26-27 (2♀)

RED-BREASTED MERGANSER: 17-19 (1♀)

RUDDY DUCK: 11-12 (1♀), 13 (7), 20 (1♀), 24 (2)

RING-NECKED PHEASANT: 1 (8+), 3-4 (+ 1♂ BY), 5, 7, 9-10, 12, 14-16, 18-19, 21-23, 24 (1♂ BY +),

25-26, 28, 30

PIED-BILLED GREBE: 1 (2), 2 (5), 3 (1), 4 (3), 7 (1), 10 (1), 13 (1), 15 (1)

HORNED GREBE: 2 (2), 4 (9)

DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT: 1 (1), 11 (2)

GREAT BLUE HERON: 1 (1)

BALD EAGLE: 5 (1 im), 7 (1 im), 9 (3 ad), 11 (1 im + 1 ad), 12 (1 im), 28 (1 ad)

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK: 20 (1 im), 25 (1 im BY), 29 (1 ad BY)

COOPER’S HAWK: 4 (1 ad BY), 9 (1 ad BY), 22 (1 ad), 23 (1), 24 (1 ad BY),

RED-TAILED HAWK: 1 (1), 4-5 (2), 7 (2), 9-11 (2), 12 (3), 13 (2), 15 (1), 17 (3), 18 (1), 22 (1), 23 (2),

25 (1 BY), 28 (3), 29-30 (1)

AMERICAN COOT: 1 (6), 2 (59), 3 (13), 4-5 (9), 7 (9), 8 (2), 9 (4), 10 (2), 11 (10), 12 (5), 13 (10),

14 (4), 15 (6), 16-17 (4), 18-23 (3), 24 (6), 25 (4), 26 (3), 27 (6), 28-30 (4)

KILLDEER: 11 (16), 12 (2)

BONAPARTE’S GULL: 11 (21), 12 (5)

FRANKLIN’S GULL: 11 (4)

RING-BILLED GULL: 3 (2), 11 (45+), 13 (2), 14 (10), 23 (64), 24 (3+)

HERRING GULL: 11 (1 im)

Gull sp.: 18 (1)

MOURNING DOVE: 1, 3, 8, 10-12, 14, 22

BARRED OWL: 17 (1)

BELTED KINGFISHER: 2-3 (1), 7 (1), 9 (1), 14 (1♂), 16 (1♀), 19 (1), 20 (1♀), 28 (1♀)

RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER: 1-5, 9, 11-13, 17-20, 22-23, 28-30

DOWNY WOODPECKER: 2, 4-5, 7-8, 10-19, 22-30

HAIRY WOODPECKER: 3-5, 7, 13, 17

NORTHERN FLICKER (Yellow-shafted): 10 (1)

NORTHERN SHRIKE: 1-2 (1), 10 (1), 17-18 (1), 28 (1), 30 (1)

BLUE JAY: 1-5, 7-10, 12-13, 15-19, 22, 24-25, 27-30

AMERICAN CROW: 1-5, 7-18, 20-25, 27-30

BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE: 1-5, 7, 9-18, 20-30

WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH: 1-5, 7-11, 13-14, 16-18, 22, 24-25, 27, 29

BROWN CREEPER: 4 (1)

RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET: 7 (1), 10 (1)

EASTERN BLUEBIRD: 4 (5)

AMERICAN ROBIN: 12 (1 BY), 17-18 (1)

EUROPEAN STARLING: 3, 10, 13, 16-17, 22, 24, 27-29

CEDAR WAXWING: 9 (2 BY)

YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (Myrtle): 8 (1)

AMERICAN TREE SPARROW: 1-5, 7-30

FOX SPARROW: 1-3 (1 BY), 9 (1 BY), 11 (1), 16 (1 BY), 20 (1)

SONG SPARROW: 1-4, 7-9, 15 (1), 21-22 (1)

SWAMP SPARROW: 1 (2), 3 (1), 4 (4), 5 (3), 7 (2), 10 (1), 21 (3), 24 (1), 29 (1)

WHITE-THROATED SPARROW: 4 (5), 10-12 (1 BY)

HARRIS’S SPARROW: 1 (10), 2 (5 + 1 BY), 4 (2 BY), 5 (1 BY), 9 (2), 10 (1 BY), 11 (1 BY + 3),

12 (5), 13-14 (1 BY), 23 (1), 24 (1 BY)

WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW: 2 (4), 3 (3), 4 (2), 9 (2), 12 (1)

DARK-EYED JUNCO (Slate-colored): 1-5, 7-30

NORTHERN CARDINAL: 2-5, 8-10, 12-22, 24-30

RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD: 1-2, 5 (1), 7 (12), 8, 18, 19-20 (1), 22 (1)

BREWER’S BLACKBIRD: 2 (8♂ + 1♀)

COMMON GRACKLE: 2, 7 (1), 29 (1)

BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD: 10 (1♂ BY)

HOUSE FINCH: 1-5, 7-20, 22-30

COMMON REDPOLL: 7 (~12), 9 (16), 18 (7), 19 (12), 24 (9+)

PINE SISKIN: 5 (1 BY), 7 (~20), 24 (2 BY)

AMERICAN GOLDFINCH: 2-5, 7, 9-13, 16-19, 21-25

HOUSE SPARROW: 1-5, 7-30



MAMMALIAN

AMERICAN MINK: 9 (1)

WHITE-TAILED DEER: 1 (1♀ w/1 yearling), 2 (1 FY, 1♂ w/spike antler), 5 (2♂ + 1♀ w/2 yearlings +

1), 7 (1♂ + 1♀ w/2 yearlings + 1), 8 (2♂ + 1), 9 (1♂ BY + 1♀ w/1 yearling FY),

10 (1 BY + 3♂), 11 (4), 13 (1), 14 (1♀ w/2 yearlings), 15 (6 + 1♂), 16 (1♂ + 2),

17 (3♂ + 1), 18 (1), 19 (1♂ + 6), 20 (2), 23 (2 BY), 24 (3), 26 (8), 29 (2♂ + 2)

FOX SQUIRREL: 3-4, 9-15, 17-18, 21-25, 27-30

MEADOW VOLE: 25 (1)

EASTERN COTTONTAIL: 1-2, 5, 7-12, 14-16, 18, 20, 22-23, 36-30



REPTILIAN

NORTHERN PAINTED TURTLE: 3 (5), 8 (1), 10 (2), 14-16 (1), 19-21 (1)



AMPHIBIAN

BULLFROG: 1, 3 (1), 10 (2), 20 (2)



LEPIDOPTERA

ORANGE SULPHURE: 3 (3), 10 (1), 18 (1)

WOOLLY BEAR (Isabella Tiger Moth): 8 (1), 14 (1)


Wolfgang Oesterreich
Ames