Yesterday afternoon felt a lot like late winter: blustery but mild. I walked around my local park to see if the weather change had brought any change in the bird life. The snow is finally melting significantly, which left the ground soft and mushy wherever it was exposed. For the most part, the bird species were the same as during the past few weeks.
My favorite sighting of the afternoon was a raft of Common Mergansers in the vicinity of the train bridge. (Unfortunately, they were too far to take good photos of them.) Usually I see a handful on the river, or maybe a single bird. Yesterday I counted one raft of at least thirty, with other individuals scattered along the river. Seeing such a large group makes me wonder if these birds are already staging for their northward migration, or perhaps stopping to rest and feed as they journey from points farther south.