Another cool and breezy morning in April. Who could have guessed? At least it’s not raining and the sun was even trying to come out.
My first greeter in the park was this chipper little goldfinch in nearly full breading plumage and doing his best to make sure everyone knows about it..
I stopped by the pond, of course, to check on our two soon-to-be mother geese, which were just fine, counted 7 wood ducks, and helped this little guy out of a predicament and back into the open water. It sure looks like one of the bullheads we saw schooling last summer, but now 3 times bigger. Yay!
Next, I headed to the river, for the morning robin egg check. The first nest I visited, the southern of the two, is usually unattended when I arrive, so I can snap a quick picture with my phone, but by the time I look down the river with my binoculars and turn to look again, mom is always back on the job. Meanwhile, the other nest, a bit to the north, is just about always attended. Different strokes, I guess.
Further north, I checked for the owl again, but no luck today, so I continued on to the northern island to see if maybe the shoveler was back, but also no luck. Since the river is so low, there’s a shoal of rocks mostly exposed now, where we saw the teals just last Friday, and the thought occurred to me that I could probably walk pretty far out into the river and still keep my feet dry.
Well, there was no one around to tell me not to, so out on the river I went, and I did finally spot a pair of teals, maybe our muckers from yesterday.
Then I turned to face south, for a look at that southern island from a new direction, and would you even believe what I saw!
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got goslings, and my bet is that they are not yet 24 hours old. So I hustled back across the rocks as fast as I dared, right back to where I usually stand to see the owl, and I got there just in time to catch a few pictures of their first brief swim in the river.
Then mom led them back up the river bank and back to what appears to be the nest on which she incubated them. You can even see the white down on ground in the middle picture below.
Once they settled in for their nap, I finally tore myself away and I started floating home on a cloud, for what must be at least the third time in as many weeks.
Luckily, though, the cloud kept me close enough to the ground to spot these exquisite specimens growing right beside the trail. For readers not yet acquainted with the mushroom that needs no introduction, these are morels, likely yellow morels (Morchella esculenta).
Finally, as crazy luck would have it, directly across the trail from those two, was another popular edible, a pheasant’s back, aka dryad’s saddle (Cerioporus squamosus), which one author calls “the ‘consolation prize’ for an unsuccessful morel hunt.”
Ha! And its only Monday.