Have a look at this bird:
and now this one:
They look a lot alike. The principal difference is that the first bird has a cleanish white chest and the second does not. The bird with the white-ish chest is a female Common Merganser. The other is a female Red-breasted Merganser.
Common Mergansers are also a few cms longer.
Species list: mute swan, mallard, common goldeneye, bufflehead, long-tailed duck, lesser scaup, common goldeneye, red-breasted merganser, common merganser, ring-billed gull, blue jay, black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, American robin, brown creeper, European starling, northern cardinal. (17 species)
Some botany on this 3 degree, overcast morning:
Thanks to Joan Cotton for these photos of a Coyote crossing to the Island on the ice taken 2 years ago during one of these walks:
This morning’s group:
I hear a murmur faint and sweet,
And lo! The ice breaks as I look,
And living waters touch my feet. – Jane Goodwin Austin (1831–94)