Things big and small…

It was yet another beautiful morning in Estabrook Park, and there was a light fog hugging the soccer fields. All four deer were out again, but there were also a lot of walkers and joggers trying to get by, so they didn’t get a chance to pose for a family portrait this time.

Our new pall, the juvenile black-crowned night-heron, was hunting up breakfast on the pond again from the “island” that had been overrun by turtles earlier this week.

And the young great blue heron was doing the same on the river.

It was still too cool for the butterflies to be out and about when I was in the park this morning, but they were making the best of the abundant Queen Anne’s lace yesterday.

One novelty along the river trail, which I’ve been observing for weeks but didn’t manage to sort out until this morning when it is almost all passed by, is this fascinating “dog sick slime mould” or “dog sick fungus” (Mucilago crustacea). It is bright white, like spilled Dairy Queen “vanilla” soft serve, and not to be confused with the similarly-named dog vomit slime mold (Fuligo septica), which has a “peculiar yellowish, bile-colored appearance,” and often grows on overwatered mulch. Although both are slime molds, “organisms that can live freely as single cells, but can aggregate together to form multicellular reproductive structures,” the two are only in the same class Myxogastria, which contains 888 species!

Speaking of Queen Anne’s lace, check out the beautiful spiral pattern in this one. It looks like a spiral galaxy, and I only see it so clearly every once in a while.

And speaking of spiral galaxies, Anne and I went out last evening to look at Jupiter and Saturn again, which were magnificent and are heading towards a great conjunction in December. There was no sign of comet NEOWISE anymore, and I failed again to capture an image of the raccoon, but we did get to see the Andromeda Galaxy. It’s actually a barred spiral galaxy, just like the Milky Way, but it barely looked like more than a white smudge to us, without some way to capture light of a period of time. Its photons, I am amazed to read, have been traveling for “approximately 2.5 million” before striking my retinas.

So long, for now, and enjoy the nice weather while it lasts, because I hear it’s gonna get hot and humid again for the weekend.

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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