April starts off with a bang! Wow!

What an absolutely magical afternoon in the park. Holy mackerel! Off the bluff, beside the river, the cool breeze from the lake was gone, the sun was warm and bright, the sky was deep blue, and the birds were everywhere!

I encountered several groups of golden-crowned kinglets (Regulus satrapa), incessantly hopping from branch to branch almost silently as they searched for a bite to eat. Here’s a sampling of what I saw.

I had gone to the park in hopes of finding a newly-golden gold finch because I saw several on my walk to campus this morning but only had my phone with me at the time. Sadly, this was the best I could do, but you can definitely see the new color coming in. I’ll get you a better picture soon.

I also had a hope of finding some skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), which I had heard is now up. It took me all the way to the north end of the park to find some, and here it is.

Meanwhile, back on the trail, the brown creepers are also plentiful now. It is mesmerizing to watch them creep up a tree, so come see them while they last.

Further south, I spotted our first killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) in the park. Woo Hoo!

It turns out that there were two of them, and they made their characteristic call when they took off. I believe they nest on the open ground under the solar farm across the river.

While I was trying to keep tabs on the killdeer as it kept walking away, this mallard hen seemed so unperturbed, I just had to take her picture.

Just south of the southern staircase, I happened upon Gina Szablewski, who posts pictures on Instagram for Friends of Estabrook Park, and she asked me if I’d seen any flickers or sapsuckers yet, because they should be here by now, but I hadn’t.

Well, not 50 feet down the path, look who showed up, our first northern flicker (Colaptes auratus) and our first yellow-bellied sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) of the season. Ha!

As I kept trying for a better shot of the sapsucker, I got it mixed up with a downy woodpecker, so now I have a ton of pictures of a downy woodpecker, who has a much whiter belly.

Here’s one last little cutie who stopped by to watch me struggle my camera, and he or she is either a veery or a hermit thrush, but we’ve been through this before.

Okay, okay. Last find. I spotted this beauty while I was hunting around beside the stream looking for skunk cabbage. It pays to look, eh?

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.

2 thoughts on “April starts off with a bang! Wow!

  1. The brown creeper is interesting — looks a lot like the bark on the tree. And, YOU FOUND $10!!! Don’t spend it all in one place. (In the past, two years in a row I found $10 in the leaves — one feels SO lucky!)


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