Everyone comes out for a perfect morning…

I had been wondering when we’d see a rose-breasted grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) in the park, and I just figured that they were all still over at Bonnie and Gary’s feeder. Well, they couldn’t have picked a more-beautiful morning to finally come visit Estabrook.

I first spotted a pair at the top of the bluff by the river but couldn’t get a good shot before they bugged out for the other side. Then, when I circled back to the pond, I could hear a song like a robin’s, but better, and remembered that was the sign of a grosbeak I read about last year. Sure enough, high up in a tree, in the warm morning sun and against a perfect blue sky, I found this handsome devil serenading the world.

Here he is taking a breather.

Also at the pond, the warm sun had brought out the turtles again.

Finally, the goslings were on the western lawn stopping traffic on the parkway again.

A sad detail is that the families are down to 5 and 7 from the original 6 and 8, and I suppose we can hope that someone, perhaps a hawk or owl, had mouths of its own to feed, right?

On my way to the river, I had the great fortune to encounter six (yes 6!) deer crossing the path right in front of me as though I wasn’t even there. Among them I counted three sporting antlers in various stages of development. That’s a first for me in the park, and here’s the best image I captured.

At the river, the robin chicks continue to turn worms into feathers, and here’s a shot of mom pausing to reflect on the plight of poor John Gurda.

Also at the river I spotted this striking white-throated sparrow sporting the “tan-striped” form. Wait till Fox News hears about this!

Finally, the the American white water-lilies (Nymphaea odorata) are starting to appear on the water, and if last year is any guide, blossoms are just over a month away.

On my way home, I hear a ruckus in the woods and spotted a whole brood of squirrels chasing each other around a tree. One kept coming back to hide in this hole.

Lastly, when I reached the southern soccer fields, I finally got a chance to photograph one of the cabbage white butterflies (Pieris rapae) I’ve been seeing intermittently for the past couple of weeks.

I read on the Pedia of Wik that “they overwinter as pupa,” which probably explains how they can appear so early in the season. The monarchs probably haven’t even cleared customs at the board yet. I figure they’re still about two weeks away.

PS. I may be off the air for a few days. Anne and I are going to my niece’s wedding out east this weekend, and it will be my longest absence from the park since this whole operation began. Wish us luck, and if I see anything good out there, I’ll be sure to tell you about it.

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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