Birdwatching at Riverstone Pond
The Riverstone pond, located just behind Pinkerton Retirement Specialists, is an excellent habitat for easy bird watching. The next time you're in the area, enjoy a delightful 3/4 mile loop on a paved trail around the pond. Here's a sampling of the different kinds of birds our staff has seen near and on our pond.
Unique among North American raptors for its diet of live fish and ability to dive into water to catch them, Ospreys are common sights soaring over shorelines, patrolling waterways, and standing on their huge stick nests, white heads gleaming.
Red-tailed Hawks are large hawks with typical Buteo proportions: very broad, rounded wings and a short, wide tail. Large females seen from a distance might fool you into thinking you’re seeing an eagle.
White-feathered heads and tails gleam in contrast to their chocolate-brown body and wings. Look for them soaring in solitude, chasing other birds for their food, or gathering by the hundreds in winter.
Great Blue Heron
This stately heron with its subtle blue-gray plumage often stands motionless as it scans for prey or wades belly deep with long, deliberate steps. In flight, look for this widespread heron’s tucked-in neck and long legs trailing out behind.
The Snow Goose is a white-bodied goose with black wingtips that are barely visible on the ground but noticeable in flight. The pink bill has a dark line along it, often called a "grinning patch" or "black lips."
Setting off crisp black-and-white plumage with a yellow bill and red eye, the slender Western Grebe is an elegant presence on lakes and ocean coasts of western North America.
The Red-breasted Merganser is a shaggy-headed diving duck also known as the "sawbill"; named for its thin bill with tiny serrations on it that it uses to keep hold of slippery fish. Males are decked out with a dark green shaggy head, a red bill and eye, and a rusty chest.
Common Mergansers are streamlined ducks that float gracefully down small rivers or shallow shorelines. The males are striking with clean white bodies, dark green heads, and a slender, serrated red bill. The elegant gray-bodied females have rich, cinnamon heads with a short crest.
They have intriguing social lives in which females take the lead and males raise the young. With their richly spotted breeding plumage, teetering gait, stuttering wingbeats, and showy courtship dances, this bird is among the most notable and memorable shorebirds in North America.
A relatively small swallow of western North America. Adult males have a white face and show turquoise-green upperparts and a purple rump in good light.
Mallards occur throughout North America and Eurasia in ponds and parks as well as wilder wetlands and estuaries. The male's gleaming green head, gray flanks, and black tail-curl arguably make it the most easily identified duck.
These tawny birds run across the ground in spurts, stopping with a jolt every so often to check their progress, or to see if they’ve startled up any insect prey.
The big, black-necked Canada Goose with its signature white chinstrap mark is a familiar and widespread bird of fields and parks.
Most Ring-billed Gulls nest in the interior of the continent, near freshwater. A black band encircling the yellow bill helps distinguish adults from other gulls—but look closely, as some other species have black or red spots on the bill.
Bufflehead - Male
A buoyant, large-headed duck that abruptly vanishes and resurface as it feeds, the tiny Bufflehead spends winters bobbing in bays, estuaries, reservoirs, and lakes. Males are striking black-and white from a distance. A closer look at the head shows glossy green and purple setting off the striking white patch.
Bufflehead - Female
Females are a subdued gray-brown with a neat white patch on the cheek.
Common Goldeneye - Male
The male Common Goldeneye with its radiant amber eye, glistening green-black head, and crisp black-and white body and wings. These distinctively shaped, large-headed ducks dive for their food, eating mostly aquatic invertebrates and fish.
Common Goldeneye - Female
The female has a chocolate brown head with the same bright eye that gives this species its name.
The Cedar Waxwing is a silky, shiny collection of brown, gray, and lemon-yellow, accented with a subdued crest, rakish black mask, and brilliant-red wax droplets on the wing feathers. In fall these birds gather by the hundreds to eat berries, filling the air with their high, thin, whistles.
They often mix with ducks but, they're closer relatives of the gangly Sandhill Crane being part of the rail family. Males and female Coots look alike but females are smaller.
Redhead - Male
Males have a gleaming cinnamon head setting off a body marked in black and business gray. These sociable ducks molt, migrate, and winter in sometimes huge flocks, particularly along the Gulf Coast, where winter numbers can reach the thousands. Summers find them nesting in reedy ponds of the Great Plains.
Dark-eyed Juncos are neat, even flashy little sparrows that flit about forest floors of the western mountains and Canada, then flood the rest of North America for winter. They’re easy to recognize by their crisp markings and the bright white tail feathers they habitually flash in flight.
Ring-necked - Male
The male Ring-necked Duck is a sharply marked bird of gleaming black, gray, and white. Of all the diving duck species, the Ring-necked Duck is most likely to drop into small ponds during migration.
Ring-necked - Female
Females are rich brown with a delicate face pattern. At distance, look for this species' distinctive, peaked head to help you identify it.
Two scaup species live in North America: the Greater Scaup prefers salt water and is found in America and Eurasia, while the Lesser Scaup prefers freshwater and is found only in North America. The Lesser Scaup is one of the most abundant and widespread of the diving ducks in North America.
In addition to the typical blue-gray bird with two dark wingbars, you'll often see flocks with plain, spotted, pale, or rusty-red birds in them. Introduced to North America from Europe in the early 1600s, city pigeons nest on buildings and window ledges.
American Wigeon - Male
A common and increasingly abundant duck, the American Wigeon breed in northwestern North America and is found throughout the rest of the continent in migration and in winter. Its small bill and the male's white forehead, as well as certain aspects of nesting and feeding behavior, distinguish this species from other dabbling ducks.
American Wigeon - Female
Females and nonbreeding males are warm brown with a brownish gray head and a dark smudge around the eye. Both sexes have a pale gray bill with a black tip.
The Pied-billed Grebe is common across much of North America. These small brown birds have unusually thick bills that turn silver and black in summer. These expert divers inhabit sluggish rivers, freshwater marshes, lake, and estuaries.
Merlin's are small, fierce falcons that use surprise attacks to bring down small songbirds and shorebirds. They are powerful fliers, but you can tell them from larger falcons by their rapid wingbeats and overall dark tones.