An Enchanted Morning.

It was another fabulous morning in Estabrook Park, and I was just walking up the middle of the parkway, which has been close to car traffic since Memorial Day weekend, and I was approaching the middle parking lot, when this young deer, still sporting spots, simply could not figure out what to make of me. I’m gonna guess he’s a male, based on what look to be two pedicles on the top of his head.

His mom came out once, early on, to check out the situation, but seemed less than thrilled, and quickly headed back into the brush. It happens. Our young hero, on the other hand, seemed to be having the time of his life and pranced out twice to give me a closer look, coming all the way to the curb one time. I did my best to act like this was just a normal thing and nothing to get excited about.

What an adventure he looked to be having, and what an absolute treat he was for me to watch.

His was not the only debut this morning, either. Here are two more striking new blossoms on the slope up from the falls to the beer garden. On the top/left appears to be Royal catchfly (Silene regia), which is supposed to be “pollinated by the ruby-throated hummingbird“, so we’ll have to keep our eyes peeled for that; and bottom/left is a mystery that I cannot yet solve. Drop me a line if you have a good guess.

Meanwhile, two other beauties continue to dazzle on the same slope. Top/left might be small-head blazing star (Liatris microcephala), a not-very-dense dense blazing star (Liatris spicata), or even prairie blazing star (Liatris pycnostachya); and bottom/right is fairy wand, blazing-star, devil’s bit, false unicorn, or helonias (Chamaelirium luteum).

Finally, long-time-reader Gary commented on yesterday’s report that “an avid fisherman friend of mine verified that although that school of tiny fish you keep seeing are technically a type of catfish, they are actually baby bullheads. And darn cute bullheads they are. Much cuter now than when they grow up.”

I read about bullheads, specifically black bullhead catfish (Ameiurus melas), that they have “a squared tail fin, which is strikingly different from the forked tail of channel and blue catfish,” and sure enough, that’s the tail on our river fish from yesterday and on the ones in the pond a couple of weeks ago. Just look at all those square little tail fins. Thanks, Gary!

Let’s call that our report for today and take a break from the bugs and mushrooms for a change, eh?

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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