Today I took my Beginning Birding 2 class down to Ankeny for our all-day excursion. The weather wasn't nearly as spectacular as Monday but at least it wasn't raining.
Can you spot the bird in the photo?
There were even more geese than Monday and lots more ducks, too. Also, more predators! We logged Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Harrier (4 individuals), American Kestrel, Sharp-shinned Hawk, and Merlin. The Merlin was very showy and rocketed past us several times showing off its pointed wings and perfect falcon shape. Here are two very blurry scope shots. The Merlin shows a darkish malar stripe coming down from its eye. The Kestrel's is black, the Peregrine's is more of a hood. You can also see a light eyebrow. Since the bird was perched in the same tree as the Sharpie we had great looks at both to see differences in these small raptors.
Can you see the bird now?
If you guessed Downy Woodpecker then give yourself a pat on the back!