These kids are sticking around…

It was yet another beautiful morning for a walk in the park. Our new friend, the juvenile double-crested cormorant was on the same log in the pond as yesterday, and this morning struck the classic cormorant pose intended to dry out his or her feathers after a fishing expedition, which suggests that maybe he or she might be hanging out for a while. Yay!

Also on the pond, and perhaps making its debut there, is this juvenile-looking great blue heron, perhaps one we’ve already seen on the river a few times.

I also saw a solitar wood duck hen on the pond, making it a three-fowl morning, but I didn’t see the juvenile black-crowned night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) this morning. Perhaps it was just resting on the branch of a nearby tree. Yesterday, I watched it hop up into a tree and simply disappear.

On the mudflats by the river, we’ve got somebody new, a cloudless sulphur (Phoebis sennae) that took me forever to look up. The difficulty was that it is close to white, as we might expect of the garden whites in genus Pieris, instead of the yellow we might expect of a sulphur in genus Phoebis. Upon closer inspection, however, several sources reveal that “some summer form females are pale yellow or white” and “female is lemon yellow to golden or white on both surfaces,” so that’s what I’m gonna go with.

Supposedly, this “butterfly gets its name for the fact that the topsides of its wings are bright lemon yellow and free of any markings,” but she didn’t show me the tops of her wings, so I can’t confirm that. reports that “the Cloudless Sulphur cannot survive northern winters, and is considered a stray in Wisconsin. The species does not stray to Wisconsin every year, and it should be considered a rare find,” if I have identified her correctly.

Also on the river this morning I spotted another newcomer, this striking American vervain, blue vervain, or swamp verbena (Verbena hastata), which is growing out over the water from the far side of an old concrete bridge pier a couple hundred yards south of the falls.

I had actually spotted it a week or so ago and even took a nice picture of it in the afternoon sun, but I mistakenly figured it was just invasive purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), and so I didn’t bother reporting it. Ha!

Well, the sky has clouded up now, and I hope we get some rain. The stream from the pond to the river has run dry again, so I think we could use it. Adiós amigos.

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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