Mingling with the Mallards

What an absolutely gorgeous morning in Estabrook Park! The sun was finally out, and the sky was breathtakingly blue. Plus, it had been nice and cold yet again overnight so the snow and ice on the trail were nice and crunchy. I can’t believe my continued good luck.

The mallards were at their usual spot, on the river just above the falls, and this morning they were joined by several familiar guests, some Canada geese and a red-breasted merganser, both of whom we saw a lot of on the pond last summer.

Further north, by the wildflower meadow, I was treated to the spectacle of this amazing creature fending off 3 crows, which were all bigger than it was. If I had to guess, it had caught something, and the crows were trying to muscle in on lunch. I was sure I had finally captured some images of an American kestrel, but our hero is clearly missing the facial markings of a kestrel and has a banded tail, and it’s beak is smaller and shorter than that of a sharp-shinned hawk, so I’m going to go with a merlin (Falco columbarius), who is in its migration range. I did not see if it was able to get its lunch back.

After all that excitement, it was nice to finally have an opportunity to get some pretty images of woodpeckers that have been keeping me company on the river trail all winter. Here’s a red-bellied and a female downy, as far as I can tell, intently looking for their lunches.

Last, and perhaps most surprising, is this little cutie, who appears for all the world to be a gray catbird, complete with “a darker cap and cinnamon under the tail”, way outside its winter range.

And that’s all for today, folks.

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.

6 thoughts on “Mingling with the Mallards

  1. Is the January calendar picture a grey catbird? The calendar is beautiful!!

    Sent from my iPad



    1. I can’t remember exactly what pictures ended up where in the calendars Lois printed, but if it is grey with a little black cap, then yes, that’s the grey catbird.


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