One location that I have been visiting frequently on my trips lately is Whitewater State Park. Since I first visited whitewater back in January, during the Golden Eagle Survey, I have been looking forward to birding the park once the ice on all of the pools and ponds melted. Much of the ice has melted and some waterfowl has made its way to the park, I saw shovelers and ring necked ducks for the first time this weekend, but it will still take a bit more time before everything is thawed out.
Even though many parts of the park are still frozen, I have always found a lot of activity up at the visitors center. With several feeders, a small pond and lots of cover the back of the visitors center attracts many birds.
There are several tube type of feeders that attract many different types of small passerines.
The American goldfinch is a common visitor to the feeders. Right now the males are in the middle of molting into their breeding plumage. You can see on this one how the head has begun to turn that bright yellow that they get during breeding but the belly is still pretty plain.
Another bird that I saw a lot of earlier in the year was the purple finch. Sometimes it was difficult to ID these birds because there were also some of the similar looking house finch at the feeders but unlike most locations that I have visited the purple finch actually always outnumbered the more common house finch down at Whitewater.
Another visitor that I was always happy to see was the pine siskin. This year was a good year for pine siskins but Whitewater always seemed to have more then its share. Even after the other northern species have headed north, there were still pine siskin down at Whitewater this weekend.
Not all the birds feed at tube feeders though. There are several platform feeders and excess seed on the ground for birds like dark eyed juncos.
Spilt seed also helps to feed some of the local mammals, such as deer, opossums, and grey and red squirrels.
If you are looking for a little more exercise, there are several trails around the visitors center that lead into the woods, down to the river, or over to the campgrounds.