Moms take a break

It was a mild, if dark and overcast, morning in the park, and the goose incubating on the northern tip of the island in the pond opted to take a little break. First she carefully covered all her eggs with down…

Then she and her steadfast mate took a moment to get reacquainted….

And finally, she got some “me” time.

Also on the pond this morning were a pair of wood ducks, but only this solo portrait turned out presentable.

And a pair of blue-winged teals, who were much shyer than even the wood ducks.

Along the river, both robins were also on break when I walked by. On my way home, I noticed that they were both back on the job.

Our next picture reminds me that I must apologize for my misidentification yesterday. The sparrow I showed you is a white-throated sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis), not white-crowned, and here’s a blurry shot from this morning of an immature one whose yellow hasn’t come in yet. Thanks to Donna and Charles for pointing out my mistake so that I could correct it.

At the north end, I spotted the young goldeneye and Mrs. Gadwall, but no shoveler nor teals today. Instead, I stumbled across the yellow marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris L.) that were now in full bloom along the stream that crosses under the bridge near the northern soccer fields.

While I was down by the stream fumbling with my camera, Jennifer and Julie crossed the bridge on their morning walk and tipped me off to the flowers blooming at the far north end, near the intersection of Hampton and Port Washington, on the west-facing bank that must get nice afternoon sun.

Most remarkable for me are the Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) because I’ve never seen them before, so thanks to Jennifer and Julie for that tip!

Also there are a few yellow trout lilies (Erythronium americanum), which make a nice addition to the white trout lilies (Erythronium albidum) that have been in blossom throughout the park for the last week or so.

Lastly, on my way back south, I encountered the first bumblebee of the season that I could capture on film. Interestingly, it was conspicuously skipping over the violets and focusing exclusively on the creeping charlie (Glechoma hederacea) blossoms.

Okay, now for a special treat. Here are some pictures of the owls nesting in Downer Woods sent in by Kelly and her husband Mark.

Amazing, right? I am told that Kelly does all the work spotting with the binoculars, and Mark is just the photographer. In any case, the results are spectacular.

Thanks to Kelly and Mark!

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 “Moms take a break

  1. So happy to share the owl family in Downer Woods! Mark is over the moon with his one month old, new photography hobby and feels HONORED to be part of your blog…made his day! Mom goose sure is beautifully nurturing. Thanks for inspiring us all to connect with nature. Happy Sunny Saturday!


  2. The owls!!! They are so amazing. Thank you Kelly & Mark for sharing with Andy….and us. Made my day.
    Da baaaay-beeeeee!


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