The big news in Estabrook is that the water fowl are starting to arrive back on the pond. We first saw a couple of Canada geese surveying the frozen situation from shore Saturday, but now that the open water is up to a solid (liquid?) 5%, there are a fine-looking pair of mallards…
… and more than just the pair of Canada geese.
Well, it was just three, and the couple concertedly chased of the bachelor who appeared to going stag. Maybe he was just trying to stake a claim before she got there, as a surprise, but the couple were not having it.
Then the two couples took a quick dip together to sample some of that finely-aged, pond-bottom muck that they haven’t tasted since last fall.
After all that excitement, I headed over to the river, where I didn’t expect to see much because the river trail is just mud now. Right off the bat, however, I spotted some gulls chasing of a small raptor of some kind, maybe our Cooper’s hawk, but didn’t get a picture.
Once I got to the water, I was thrilled to see that, between the two islands, it is still full of mallards, goldeneyes, and mergansers, including this dashing trio of commons…
… and more red-breasted mergansers than I believe I’ve ever seen in one place before, including this debonair quartet.
On the way back from the river, I happened upon this cute little nuthatch who had a lot of grooming to do. A second one appeared for an instant, which would have been an amazing shot, and then they were off.
Back at the pond, the geese were gone again already, but the mallards were enjoying an after breakfast preen in the warm morning sun, …
… and our little buddy, the red squirrel was looking hale and hearty after the cold winter.