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Jan 24, 2009 | by Adrian Binns

I spent a little time today at Roosevelt Park, a wonderful small park in South Philadelphia that is part of Fairmount Park. The park is an excellent location to find wintering Rusty Blackbirds and see waterfowl relatively close. I soon found the rusties amongst Red-winged Blackbirds resting in a tree beside the large lake. Periodically they would fly down and forage amongst the short grass and leaf litter. There was a nice mix of different plumaged males and females with their bright pale eyes and thinner bills easily separating them from the red-wings.

Though most of the small lakes were covered with ice, the Canada Geese and one Snow Goose have kept a small section of the main lake open which attracts a nice variety of ducks. American Coots, though duck-like they are actually in the rail family, and Mallards being the most common along with a few Northern Shovelers, Gadwalls, Bufflehead, American Wigeon, Ring-necked Ducks and two pairs of Redheads.

all photos © adrian binns


  1. giggles on January 25, 2009 at 1:47 PM

    I find it absolutely stunning that you seem to find so many variety of birds in such an “urban” space!! I may have looked at the rusty and thought…maybe…. a catbird, to my untrained eye…(but the redwinged I do know…) ….and so many different ducks!! Once I see mallards, I think “that’s” all there are…they are so common around here…..Amazing!

  2. Adrian Binns on January 25, 2009 at 7:24 PM

    Roosevelt Park is without a doubt the best local place to see waterfowl. They have the Delaware River close by and likely go back and forth. It it also a place to check for Canvasback’s.

    Along with Heinz NWR “Tinicum” which is not far away, these two lcoations are excellent for wintering Rusty Blackbirds, whose numbers are decreasing.

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