The gloom continues…

The cool, damp, and dim mornings keep coming, and the park was nearly empty again today. The gang of four took advantage of the peace and quiet to sample the greenery on the east side of the southern parking lot, the crabapples and hostas in front of the Benjamin Church House, and the bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) acorns by picnic area 7. It’s nice that they let me tag along.

The river was quiet this morning, all the geese have moved on, and there were just a few mallards left. A blue heron was fishing when I arrived, but soon took off.

There is something in the water off the boat launch that swims fast and leaves a big wake. Yesterday, it looked just the the wake that a landing goose leaves, but there was no goose, and I thought I might be losing my mind and starting to imagine things. Today, it was much more obviously something was in the water, and it swam upriver for quite a ways. I can’t wait to catch a glimpse of who is doing that. It seems too fast for a turtle, and it’s probably not a freshwater shark because I saw no dorsal fin. Maybe a beaver?

Speaking of beaver, it’s hard for me to tell if they’re still making any progress on those cottonwoods. Maybe they’re just down to a harder layer and the going is slower or less tasty. I haven’t gnawed through a tree before, so I just don’t know.

The mudflats were mostly empty. One little bird, maybe a wren, toyed with me for a while, and this is all I have to show for my efforts. Definitely looks grey, eh?

Not much color again this morning, and I can’t believe I was photographing butterflies just last week. Therefore, just for the color of it, here’s another picture of common sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) from the mudflats this morning, that we first saw by the boat launch over a month ago. At the time, I had no idea how long the blossoms would last, and in this picture, you can see how the tiny, individual florets, slowly open from the bottom to the top, transforming the center from a hemisphere into nearly a full sphere as the ray florets press back towards the stem.

Maybe the sun will come out again for the weekend. At least we’re not getting snow yet, as my sister, Sue, reports from Colorado, right?

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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