The kids are alright.

First things first, since I know you’re worried, all the ducklings looked hale and hearty this morning: the single wood duck on the pond, two broods of five mallards each on the oxbow pond, and one brood of two older mallards on the river south of the falls.

The wood duck hen even snagged another frog! I’ve been watching the wood ducks on the pond since March, and man, she sure had me fooled.

Once again, the younger brood of five seemed skittish, heading for the hills as soon as they see me, and the slightly older brood with one yellow duckling seemed to like posing for the camera.

Also looking fine this morning was our old friend, the great blue heron. After I startled him twice (by accident!) as I just walked along the river trail, he finally moved to the far side of the river, where he seemed able to ignore me and concentrate on his fishing.

Even the little sandpiper was out and running around on the far riverbank.

There’s a funky-looking new mushroom growing out of the side of a tree on the riverbank. Apparently, this is what dryad’s saddle, aka pheasant’s back (Cerioporus squamosus) looks like when it is young, tender, and “in the “pig nose” stage.”

Finally this splendid common toadflax, yellow toadflax, or butter-and-eggs (Linaria vulgaris) is blossoming at the top of the wall beside the falls. I read that “because the flower is largely closed by its underlip, pollination requires strong insects such as bees and bumblebees.” They are in the same family, plantain (Plantaginaceae), as snapdragons (Antirrhinum), but the Linaria genus is distinct and commonly called toadflax instead.

And there you have it. It’s supposed to be a scorcher out there today in the upper Midwest so be forewarned if you venture out. The humidity is high, and the sky is even hazy, so I feel like a kid again enjoying the classic “hazy, hot, and humid” from my youth in Ol’ Conn.

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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