Triple the fun!

I went to check on the goslings first thing, of course, and I was thrilled to find them doing just fine and back at the mainland breakfast buffet. Best of all, there was even another batch!

While I was trying to get the picture below showing both families at once a hawk shot right through the scene at about 4 feet off the deck. I thought for sure it was a Cooper’s hawk, and I couldn’t see where it landed, but the geese didn’t seem to care what kind of hawk it was nor where it landed and just made a bee-line for the water.

After they were all safely afloat, I started to proceed north, and that’s when the hawk came out of hiding and flew straight towards me at just about eyeball level. Like a true pro, I simply froze and enjoyed the sight as it flew right past me not even 10 feet way. Where’s the cameraman from Wild Kingdom when we need him?

The hawk, it appears, had its heart set on a gosling, took another pass at them on the open water, was rebuffed by the parents, and finally perched on this branch just above them to plan its next move.

Anyway, when it appeared that the hawk was gonna hang out there for a while, I tore myself away from all that excitement, and I continued north once again. That’s when I encountered new goose family number three (3!).

Holy Mackerel, that’s a lot of goslings!

On my way back south, I checked on the two nesting robins, who are still doing fine, and swung by the pond to find the two nesting geese doing the same. There were also two other pairs of geese, four mallard drakes, and eight wood ducks on the pond this morning.

Back at the river, over the mudflats, this sparrow posed so nicely that I had to take a picture, and given the location, it should come as no surprise that it appears to be a swamp sparrow (Melospiza georgiana).

Further south, I did finally spot a couple of tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) perched on branches for a change and so finally managed to get images sufficient to make a positive ID. Maybe next time the sky will be that beautiful blue we get from time to time, and maybe they’ll perch on my side of the river.

Continuing south, I annoyed yet another robin by bumbling too close to her nest, which I simply did not see until she warned me about it, and I apologized profusely for my error.

Man, our odds of seeing freshly-hatched robin chicks keeps going up.

Anyway, while trying to get the picture above, from a comfortable distance, I noticed a serviceberry tree (Amelanchier arborea) in blossom halfway up the bluff. They also go by equally colorful “shadberry” and “juneberry”.

Back along the river, I spotted this little bird right at the water and thought it was yet another sparrow, maybe a chirping sparrow because of the eye stripe, but upon closer inspection, I am currently convinced it is instead a northern waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis). It’s right on the water, after all, and just look at that thin little beak and dark belly streaks. Best of all, if you’re a warbler nut, it’s not even a thrush at all. Instead, it’s a “thrushlike warbler”, and a legitimate member of the family Parulidae, the “new world warblers”. They winter in the Caribbean and Central America, and this one has almost reached its breed grounds just a little bit north of here. Man, the picture is so brown, I was almost not going to use it. Good thing I checked, eh?

Turns out, we’ve even seen one of these before, last fall. On September 6, 2020, it was the first migrant that we saw heading south.

Oh! Before I forget, the trilliums are starting to bloom! Specifically white trillium (Trillium grandiflorum), I believe.

Finally, look who I saw keeping an eye on me as I tried to take a picture of some flowers.

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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