Solving some mysteries…

It was a perfectly gorgeous morning in the park, though cold enough to frost the grass, and either that or the high water has silenced the toads, at least for now. In any case, I am happy to report that what I did see this morning should clear up a few mysteries.

Mystery number one: is that how the robin chicks are supposed to look? The images below showing mom pumping worms into them suggest that the answer is yes. So yay, they really are alive, and boy to they look hungry!

I even spotted two adult robbins at that nest for the first time, and managed to capture an image just as one flew off, but it’s not very pretty. It’ll be something to look for next time.

Mystery number two, at least for me: why am I hearing a house wren now every time I take a picture of the robin on her nest. The images below speak for themselves, I believe.

Just in case they don’t speak as clearly to you, that’s a house wren going in and out of its nesting hole in an old tree trunk right near where I stand to take pictures of the robin on her nest.

Mystery number three: whose tail feathers were those we saw at the back of a nesting hole in a tree trunk yesterday. Answer: a downy woodpecker.

I also spotted two of them on the trunk as I walked up, and a beautiful view of one coming out of the hole, but I was too slow with the camera to show you those.

I also spotted tree swallows popping out of a hole way up in the trunk of a tree on the northern island, but the images aren’t worth showing. Instead, I found these two resting on a branch close enough that you can see the shiny dark-blue feathers on the tops of their heads.

So that makes six birds we’ve seen going in and out of nesting holes in the park so far this spring: red-bellied woodpeckers, black-capped chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches, a house wren (above), downy woodpeckers (above), and tree swallows (or so I claim). I had no idea there would be so many.

Now, on to the warbler report, and first up, at the north end of the park, near where we saw the yellow-rumped warbler almost three weeks ago, is this striking black-throated green warbler (Setophaga virens). Don’t you just love the names on these little rascals?

Next is this aptly-named yellow warbler (Setophaga petechia).

Finally, the palm warblers are everywhere, and this one wanted us to have a slightly better picture than what I was able to show you yesterday.

Oh, one interesting thing I heard first this morning, while listening for warblers, was something that sounded like a gerbil gnawing on its Habitrail®. I searched and searched, and after I gave up and started walking south, I spotted this critter right over the trail methodically ripping strips of bark off a dead tree. One author claims that they use it for nesting material.

I heard plenty of Baltimore orioles again this morning and captured this image of a male showing off his racing stripes

The solitary sandpipers have been pretty quiet, but they are not yet quite at their breeding grounds, and they sure seem to be in no rush to get there.

Okay. Last one. We’ve got just one more new arrival, and this one’s not a warbler. While there is such a thing as a black-throated blue warbler, their blue is really more slate, if you ask me. Instead, if you want a really blue bird, you can hardly do better than the indigo bunting (Passerina cyanea), and I spotted this one today on the trail amongst the warblers and sparrows, just in from south Florida, the Caribbean, or Central America.

Before I go, I saw no goslings on the river again, but the goslings are still on the pond, the second goose is still incubating on the island, and there were blue-winged teals amongst the wood ducks and mallards this morning.

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.

4 thoughts on “Solving some mysteries…

    1. You and me both! Every time I saw them motionless, my heart sank, and I always waited to see if Mom would go back on her nest. Thank goodness she always did!


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