The Park Report, 1st Anniversary Edition!

That’s right, boys and girls, it was exactly 1 year ago today that I breathlessly fired off an email message to a few friends and family whom I thought might be interested to learn that there was a wood duck on the pond in Estabrook Park. Before then, I didn’t even know wood ducks existed, let alone what they looked like, or the fact that I could find them after a short walk from my front door.

But look at us now! We’ve seen 87 species, not counting fish, bugs, and sundry other creepy-crawlies because I haven’t gotten around to counting them all yet. I’ve taken 19,225 pictures, published 244 posts, and there are 75 of us, including me. Besides all the fantastic critters, I’ve found 2 tasty cans of park beer, several cans of park beans, a baggie of park oregano, 2 park folding knives, 1 fine pair of National GeographicTM branded park binoculars, which I now use almost every day, countless park fishing tackle, a bunch of park money (including a 50,000 Indonesian Rupiah note now worth $3.47 US because I didn’t trade it in when I could), several dozen park nerf darts, and all kinds of other park junk that Anne wishes I would just throw away. But Honey, these are my treasures!

Thanks to all of you for coming along on this adventure, and now onward to today’s activity! It would have been cool to have a picture today of something amazing, like a coyote catching a mallard from the river or a bald eagle catching a fish from the pond, but that is not how nature works, it seems. She’s got her own schedule, and all we can do is observe.

Alright, alright, I’ll stop typing and show you some pictures. At the top of the list is our first wee kinglet of the season, golden crowned by the looks of it, searching for a snack on its way to breeding grounds that start just upstate and continue all the way to Hudson Bay.

Next stop is the pond, where the goose shake-out continues, but our heroes seem to be holding on to their prime spot on the island. This ain’t their first rodeo, after all, and given how far she can reach her head down into her nest, she might already have some eggs in there, for all we know. She was at this operation long enough for me to get 7 pictures before she sat back down. Oh man, I sure hope that means 7 eggs!

Meanwhile, on the river, I spotted the buffleheads again, who immediately made a beeline out of range, our goldeneye odd-couple, lots of geese and mallards, and 2 pair of wood ducks.

Here’s the best shot I have showing the 2 goldeneyes so you can see that there really are two of them, and one has a yellow tip on her beak while the other one doesn’t. The second picture is just nicer, and shows how crowded the best spots on the river can get, but the kid turned his head at the last second. Isn’t that always how it is, Dads?

Here’s a shot of a wood duck drake and hen standing on the shore of the northern island, which a goose decided to photobomb at the last second.

Finally, as I headed out this morning, Anne asked if I was going to try to recreate that first photo from a year ago. Well, no, if only because it was not such a great picture, but I did manage to capture an image of another wood duck on the pond anyway. Ha!

And he’s gonna have to be your splash of color, too, because I didn’t see any new blossoms today. The snowdrops, crocuses, Siberian squill, and alpine squill are all still in bloom, so get out there and see them while you can!

PS. If you’d like your own pre-chilled park beer, a crew has been working on the Estabrook Park Beer Garden this week, and they say they are “currently targeting an open date in the first weeks of April.” See you there!

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.

9 thoughts on “The Park Report, 1st Anniversary Edition!

  1. Happy Anniversary, Andy! Keep up the fantastic work. This vicarious park experience is always a highlight to my day.



  2. Thanks for making park lemonade out of a year of COVID lemons 🍋 Andy.

    Here’s to many more posts, pics and pithy observations!


  3. Ummm….I lost a pair of Nat Geo binoculars and a paperclip in the park. Not the Rupiah, tho. That’s yours for keeps.
    Thank you for this gift, Andy. The Park Lemonade!


  4. Andy, I cannot thank you enough for this incredible daily journey of nature through Estabrook Park. I must remember to thank my good friend, Lois Wesner, for forwarding your email one day. I was instantly addicted. Do you take donations?

    Grateful Gail Levin


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