This male Harlequin Duck was photographed at the cruise ship dock in Juneau, Alaska.

The female Harlequin Duck was photographed at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Illinois on 2/16 2012.

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The male Harlequin Duck is a small slaty duck with chestnut sides and odd white patches and spots. The female Harlequin Duck is a dusky brown with three white spots on the side of its head, and no wing patches. It has a habitat of mountain streams in summer and rocky coastal waters in winter, and favors extremely turbulent streams. Its diet consists of mollusks, crustaceans, plant material, and insects.


The Gray Jay was photographed at Denali Princess Lodge In Alaska.

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The Gray Jay is a gray fluffy bird about the size of a Robin with a white forehead, black cap, and gray back and wings, a light striped gray breast, and gray legs. The juvenile is darker sooty gray all over with a whitish chin whisker. They have a range of boreal forests of North American, Canada and Alaska. They have a habitat of spruce and fir forests. It has a varied diet of insects, spiders, berries, seeds, fungi, small rodents, small bird eggs, and carrion. They can be fearless, a nuisance, and steal food at campsites.


The Mew Gull was photographed on Nenano River and spruce tree tops at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge in Alaska, and the bridge crossing on Salvage River East.

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The Mew Gull is smaller than a Ring-Billed Gull with white head, breast and bottom, a gray back, small greenish yellow bill and greenish legs. Its wing tips are black with white spots. It has a range of Northern Eurasia, western North America-that includes the bottom half of Alaska and northwestern Canada. It has a habitat of coastal waters in winter, and lakes and rivers in summer. The diet is mostly small fish along the coasts, mostly insects along inland lakes and rivers, but also eats crustaceans, mollusks, earthworms, small rodents, young birds, berries, and grains. Nest may be on high ground, on top of a stump, or in a dense low spruce up to 20ft above the ground-all near water.


The Atlantic Black Guillemot was photographed at the cruise ship dock in Juneau, Alaska.

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The Black Guillemot, during the summer, is a small black ducklike bird with a large white shoulder patch, bright red feet, black pointed bill, and orange-red inside of mouth. In winter it is pale with white underparts and a barred back, with black wings having the white patch.. It has a range of the North Atlantic sector of Arctic south to New England, USA. It has a habitat of inshore waters of the ocean rocky shores and islands. They mainly eat fish and crustaceans, some mollusks, insects, and plant material.

This lone Glaucous Gull was photographed north of Bradford Beach in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Lake Michigan.

This lone Glaucous Gull was photographed north of Bradford Beach in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Lake Michigan.

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The Glaucous Gull is a chalky white gull with a gray mantle, frosty white wing tips, flesh colored legs, and large yellow bill. Adults have a pale gray mantle. It has a range of the Arctic; circumpolar, and comes to the Great Lakes and the northeast US coast. Also Alaska, western Canada coast, and northwestern US coast. It is the only large Gull common to the High Artic. It has a coastal habitat and seldom comes inland. The diet is highly variable, includes fish, mollusks, crustaceans, worms, sea urchins, insects, birds, eggs, berries, seaweed, and carrion (dead animals).

The Bonaparte’s Gull is the smallest Gull usually seen in North America.

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The Bonaparte’s Gull is a small gray and white Gull with red legs, and a black head in the summer. The winter adult has a white head with a black earspot. This is the smallest gull usually seen over North America. It nests in trees and not on the ground, as other gulls do. Its normal range is from Alaska to central Canada. It winters on the Great Lakes and the coasts of the United States. Its habitat is Ocean Bays, rivers, and lakes. The diet is insects, crustaceans, and fish.

This Red-Tailed Hawk was seen and photographed at the Wehr Nature Center, Franklin, Wisconsin

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The adult Red-Tailed Hawk is a large brownish broad-winged wide-tailed hawk with a Rufus tail. An inhabitant of open country it is commonly seen perched on polls or  trees, or sailing over fields and woods. Although adults can be recognized by the reddish brown tail, the rest of the plumage can be quite variable. Red-Tails can range from blackish to rufous- brown to nearly white. Their diet is mammals, many birds, and reptiles. They have a habitat of open country, woodlands, prairie, groves, mountains, plains, and roadside. Their range covers Alaska, Canada, and the United States.

This Common Redpoll photo was taken at the Bong State Recreation Area in Kansasville, Wisconsin

The female Common Redpoll

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The Common Redpoll is a streaked gray-brown finch with a black chin, dark streaks on the flanks, and a bright red cap. The male is pink breasted and the female not. Its range is northern Canada and Alaska and wintering irregularly in the northern and central United States. The habitat is birches, evergreens, and tundra scrub, and in winter weeds and brush. They actively feed on seeds from trees and weeds. Their flocks are seemly always on the move.

I specifically went to the Bong State Recreation Area in Kansasville, Wisconsin to find and photograph the Common Redpoll. I had struck out several times before and also at other locations where they had been seen. It was reported as seen around evergreen trees eating the berries at Bong. Upon arrival at the Bong entrance I met other Milwaukee birders who stated the Redpoll was seen at the evergreens and the bird feeders, but was not regular-good luck on finding them. I went to the bird feeders. On the first and second try at the feeders no Redpolls were seen. I asked other birders and they stated they had seen them around the evergreen tree areas. I walked by the evergreen trees at several areas, and heard birds but saw none. I tried a phishing call but nothing came out. I went back to the bird feeders and saw House Finches, American Goldfinches, Downy Woodpeckers, Northern Cardinals, White Breasted Nuthatches, Ring-necked Pheasant, and American Tree Sparrows. Several Redwing Blackbirds flocked in and chased the birds at the feeders away. Upon getting ready to leave Bong I noticed different colored birds that were gray-brown with some pink and red coloring flocking in. I had never seen these before so quickly took photos at the feeders, not knowing what species I was taking. The sun was so bright that I couldn’t get a good view of the birds from the camera. While walking to the car I saw a couple of birders and asked if they had seen any Redpolls. They pointed in the direction of a parking lot, and said they had seen them in the evergreens and around the grounds. They also pointed out another birder who was also going to view them. I caught up to him and found out he was from Racine, Wisconsin and an avid birder who had just arrived for bird sightings. We slowly walked toward the evergreen trees and he started phishing, since no birds were seen, only heard. Immediately the birds started to move and flocked to a bare tree in front of us. They seemed to stop to stare at us. He stated these are Redpolls. I was amazed at the Redpolls response, but immediately started taking photos. I got four photos before the flock took off as quickly as they came.

After getting back home where I could view the bird photos better, it was determined that I had taken several male and one female Common Redpolls at the feeders, one female Common Redpoll, and two Hoary Redpolls from the evergreen trees. Also photographed at the feeder were a bright red male House Finch, and an orange variant House Finch. All in all it turned out to be a fairly good bird sighting and photo day, even though the best occurred in a short burst of time.