Branching out…

Man, if the mornings continue to be this nice, I might not want summer to end. I went out earlier than usual, in search of a mammal I haven’t seen in the park yet this year but rumored to be there lately, and Venus was especially brilliant in the clear eastern sky.

I had no luck with the mammal today, but I did see our young cormorant out for an early swim in the pond and then drying out on its usual perch in the southeast corner.

Neither heron were around this morning, but I did see a flock of Canada geese checking out the baseball diamond across the parkway from the pond. You can just make out the nice little layer of fog over the grass in the background.

Long-time reader and avid birder, Donna, invited me down to the lagoon in Veterans Park yesterday afternoon to look for a black-crowned night-heron rookery, which is said to be there, but I am sad to report that they were nowhere to be found when we arrived. Instead, we were treated to a green heron (Butorides virescens) on a ambulatory hunt, the likes of which I have never seen on the pond. Check out that neck!

Here it is again, in case you missed it the first time. It’s almost easier to believe that they are two different birds, right? The frogs just don’t stand a chance against technology like that. A good explanation with pictures is online here.

Also, growing beside the lagoon is a pretty flower that I haven’t yet seen in Estabrook Park.

The interwebs are having a little trouble positively identifying this one and suggest that it may be either longroot smartweed, water knotweed, water smartweed, and amphibious bistort (Persicaria amphibia), which is “native to much of North America;” or lady’s thumb, spotted lady’s thumb, Jesusplant, and redshank (Persicaria maculosa), which is “an introduced and invasive species in North America.” I’m afraid sorting that out might be above my paygrade.

Meanwhile, back in Estabrook, the recent rains have refilled the little stream that runs from the pond down to the river, which had run completely dry recently, and the tiny fish were back already! I read that there are a variety of techniques fish have evolved to enable them to survive in such an environment, and I don’t know which of those these little characters are using, but hats off to them!

I have previously reported that these might be creek chub, but the tail in this picture doesn’t look quite right, and the same goes for minnows. My best guess now is that these are some kind of darter, but Lord knows which one. There are over 200 species to choose from. In any case, a hearty welcome back to them, right?

Finally, I don’t think I’ve shown you a monarch butterfly on a pink coneflower since July, so here you go.

Lastly, the forecast is for clear skies again this evening, and the moon doesn’t rise till midnight, so don’t forget to look for the Perseids in the northeast, if you get the chance. Anne and I tried last evening, but we only spotted two, so we might try again.

Published by Andrew Dressel

Theoretical and Applied Bicycle Mechanic

2 thoughts on “Branching out…

  1. Wow, that green heron’s neck is really cool! You’re right, it is easier just to think they are two different birds.

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  2. Hi Andrew, that black-crowned night-heron with the telescoping neck has got to be one of the weirdest critters around! Does that work hydraulically? Dad

    On Wed, Aug 12, 2020 at 10:45 AM Signs of Life in Estabrook Park wrote:

    > Andrew Dressel posted: ” Man, if the mornings continue to be this nice, I > might not want summer to end. I went out earlier than usual, in search of a > mammal I haven’t seen in the park yet this year but rumored to be there > lately, and Venus was especially brilliant in the clear e” >

    Like

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