Lunchtime in Estabrook

Well, the blue skies are long gone, but at least the ice cold temps have stuck around so the river trail is still nice and firm. As usual I startled the mourning doves from their recent favorite foraging spot on the ground near the abandoned railroad bridge abutment south of the falls, and they decamped to this branch across the river. Today I counted 10 of them in the tree, and these three were the most presentable.

I probably hadn’t gotten 50 feet further north, just past the abutment, when I spotted this little guy quite intent on finishing his lunch. Yup, that’s a muskrat alright, and maybe even the same one we saw at the pond last summer.

He did briefly duck under the ice, swim about 20 feet down river, hung out for maybe a minute, and then swam right back to where I first saw him. That must be some tasty lunch!

As super good luck would have it, long-time readers Dan and Emma just happened to come by, so they got to see today’s hero, too. I told them they are now my witnesses that I really am seeing at least some of the amazing sights I’m always telling you about.

Anyway, I continued north and got to see a crow seeming to checking out what the mallards are all chowing down.

Then, as I approached the Port Washington Road bridge at the north end, there were three crows making a ruckus in a tree over the trail. Last summer, I was surprised to learn how skittish crows are in the wild, so when these three just kept cawing away like crazy as I approached their tree, I gave the whole scene a closer look. Holy Moly, I’m sure glad I did!

The red tail pretty much gives it away, don’t you think? As you can see, given the choice between posing for my camera or leaving that squirrel behind, it chose to pose and pose and pose. Too bad about that blue sky, eh? I wonder if those were the same three crows hassling the merlin just yesterday?

After all that excitement, I headed back south, toward the mallards, and took advantage of them hanging out on the east side of the river for the first time I’ve observered.

I wonder what it was that caused just about everybody I saw to be much more willing to sit still for my camera today than they have been heretofore. Maybe it was just my lucky day, eh?

PS. Still no ermine sightings. Sorry Carolyn.

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.

11 thoughts on “Lunchtime in Estabrook

  1. I think they sat still for you because it’s Sunday, a day of rest, a day to just relax. After all, it’s been a busy and stressful week. Nice pics!!

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  2. Great photos! I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a red tail that close and didn’t realize they had that splotch of yellow above the beak. No love for muskrats on the home farm as they were always causing trouble at the pond, but I secretly was in awe of any critter that could make my Dad that mad!

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