And so it begins…

Where to start? Where to start? Spring is really starting to spring, the sun was out, the air was calm, the temperature was mild, and the sky was blue, blue, blue.

Best of all, we’ve got three, not one, not two, but three new arrivals in the park to report!

First, and most exciting for me, because I’ve never seen this creature before, is the aptly-named Redhead (Aythya americana), another diving duck. There were two males and a female on the upper river with the mallards and goldeneyes. We are in their “nonbreeding” range, so these folks are just passing through, but we’re sure glad that stopped in, if only for a moment.

Next, and nearly as exciting, is our first hooded merganser of the season on the far shore of the river. I would see a male on the pond now and then all last spring, so it’s great to have him back.

Finally, the third fresh arrival has obviously been here for a day or two, at least, but I finally noticed it this morning. A common mullein (Verbascum thapsus), which has a slew of alternate names including wild tobacco, flannel-leaf, velvet-dock, beggar’s Blanket, Jupiter’s staff, and feltwort, to name a few. And I can’t believe the picture looks blurry. I only took one, it looked good in the tiny display, and I kept moving. Oh well. Maybe I’ll see it again tomorrow.

In other news, an eagle swung by the far north end and launch all the non-diving ducks into the air, but didn’t come south enough for me to take even a bad picture. Instead, here’s some mallards settling back down after it the coast was clear.

Here are some goldeneyes going about their business and not worrying about some stupid old eagle.

I did stop by the pond again to check on the ice situation, and it is still pretty icy, enough so for me to still walk on it. It’s gonna take a while still.

Finally, it was so beautiful out yesterday afternoon, that I popped over to the park just for a short visit, and look who I found.

As I mentioned yesterday, the quartet were not in their usually spot yesterday morning, but this one showed up for some solo work. She stood still for her close-up, below left, but when I kneeled down to try to get some blue sky in the background, she wasn’t having it, and slowly stamped her front hoof a few times. You can just make out that she has it raised in the image on the right above. When I finally stood back up, she decided we were done, slowly wandered off, and left us with the parting shot on the right below.

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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