Estabrook Park icing over!

There was ice on the pond this morning, near the edges, thick enough to hold my keys! I took a picture for proof, of course, but it’s not much to look at. I can’t believe I’ve already seen frogs and tadpoles this “spring” swimming under the surface. Happily the sun was nice and bright, the breeze was light, and it soon felt warm enough for the nesting goose to get up, swim across to the lawn, and take a break.

I have noticed many fewer incidents lately of other geese needing to being chased off and a huge uptick in the number of red-winged blackbirds cavorting over the pond and flashing their colorful shoulder patches.

All the usual suspects were on the pond, and I didn’t see any new swimmers this morning, but there were plenty of new avian discoveries hopping about on the ground and in the nearby bushes. New for me were a veery (a type of thrush) and the colorful swamp sparrow pictured below. I also finally saw a mourning dove in the park and a female yellow-bellied sapsucker. Pairs of the sapsuckers and downy woodpeckers have been making quite a show of checking out trees together.

Not to be completely outdone, the mammals keep putting in appearances, like the eastern cottontail I spotted yesterday afternoon hiding in the brambles, of all places, between the park and the Oakleaf Trail. It’s west of Wilson, and so perhaps isn’t personally eating your tulips if you live on the east side.

Still no sign of activity at Chet’s duplex, but the little pied-billed grebe caught and choked down yet another fish nearly as long as its neck. Considering what I see all the other birds making do with, I seriously wonder what he’s doing with all those calories.

I try to keep a collection of the best images fresh on flickr at

Published by Andrew Dressel

Theoretical and Applied Bicycle Mechanic, and now, apparently, Amateur Naturalist. In any case, my day job is teaching mechanics at UWM.

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