Horned Grebe, Mississippi River, Mud Lake

As so often these days I checked on the nest of the Great Horned Owl this evening down by Mud Lake at the Mississippi River. Nothing has changed yet, mother owl still sits on the nest. She faced the low sun and this helped to make a halfway decent photo today.

I tried to make some pictures of half a dozen Common Mergansers, feeding at the exit of the marina, but they never came close enough for a shot.

Another encounter today were several American Tree Sparrows that were hanging around in the bushes along the banks. This was the first time this winter that I have seen any. Other years I saw them more frequently along the Mississippi.

Red-winged Blackbirds are now present everywhere in the Mud Lake area. They stay here during the summer in large numbers and we have enjoyed watching them from our kayaks feeding between the reeds many times.

The sun had already disappeared behind the ridge when I finally discovered what I believe is a Horned Grebe. The bird was diving in the canal of the marina. I had the camera on tripod and used the flash extender to get at least a little color for this photo. This was the first time that I saw the Horned Grebe in Iowa. Their breeding grounds are from the Dakotas to northern Canada and Alaska.

Great Horned Owl