The wood ducks are back on the pond…

Our top story this morning is the exciting return of the wood ducks to the pond in Estabrook Park. There were three drakes and two hens in all.

The lighting was a little tricky this morning, but the drakes were looking resplendent nevertheless.

In other news, the Canada goose situation continues to be an evolving story. When I first arrived at the pond this morning, there were nine (9!) of them on the water, and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen so many. Our heroes, who’ve been there since March 6, and who I hear have nested there for years, were having a heck of a time keeping all the interlopers at bay, despite a lot of honking and other heroic efforts.

I left them to sort it out amongst themselves while I went to check out the river, and when I returned, they had managed to get the crowd down to just six. One couple was on the western lawn, one couple was on the back (NNE) side of the island, and our heroes where back in their spot on the southern tip of the island. That’s still 200% more geese than the status quo last spring, but they seemed to have agreed to a truce for the moment, and everyone was peaceably going about their business.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Gadwall was also on the pond with several mallards, and one lone goldeneye hen was still on the river with a slew of mallards and geese. I didn’t see the buffleheads today.

The one other exciting spot, which I was not able to document, sadly, was the merlin quickly gliding over the wildflower meadow at tree-top level. Happily, a fellow amateur naturalist, Jim Kogutkiewicz, spotted it just yesterday a bit south along the river and posted a stunning picture on instagram, which I hope you check out. We of course don’t know if all these merlins are one-and-the-same bird, or even the one we saw in Estabrook back in January, but how many could there be, this far out of their range, right?

Finally, color continues to pop out of the ground, and for these, I’m going to go with alpine squill (Scilla bifolia), as opposed the the siberian squill we saw just yesterday, and whose blossoms face downward.

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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