We’re gonna need a bigger banner…

Holy smokes, was it ever a great morning in the park, and we’ve got several new arrivals to report! First up is the “uncommon and elusive” black-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus erythropthalmus), just in from northwestern South America and looking for your tent caterpillars.

Charles tipped me off yesterday, yes that Charles, that Ken had spotted one by the pond, and when I suggested that I might mosey on over there, he explained that he once ran the entire length of Estabrook Park just in hopes of glimpsing one. So I hustled over to the pond, instead, and had no luck yesterday, but this morning was the charm.

I didn’t see anything else new at the pond and so headed down to the river where I happened upon this amazing spectacle. I count 20 goslings, and the Pedia of Wik explains that Canada geese form crèches, in which adults will “care of another’s offspring,” and that is what I expect we have here.

Speaking of care, they were heading for the falls so I followed along to see how that would go, and they got out just in time to portage around on the Milwaukee Urban Water Trail.

Mom went over the log across the trail, and a few followed, but then one discovered that they could sneak under it instead, and that’s what all the rest did, including Dad. Ha!

There were still a couple of eastern kingbirds fishing over the same spot on the river as yesterday.

The catbirds were in the sumac again between the river and the beer garden.

And at the north end, I spotted this menagerie on one of the sandbars exposed by the low water. We’ve got a goose and three goslings (another goose ended up on the editing room floor), a mallard drake, a wood duck drake, and one spotted sandpiper, for good measure.

At the far north end, I finally encountered a blue jay that was more interested in chasing something in that tree, which I couldn’t quite see, than worrying about me for a change. For such brazen feeder raiders, they sure are shy in the wild.

Since the sun was coming out, and the day was really warming up, I swung back by the pond on my way south, and look who decided to show its face. Yup, the bullfrogs are finally up from their winter slumber.

Also up are the yellow iris (Iris pseudacorus) along the northeast shore of the pond.

And if all of that wasn’t enough of a sign that summer is finally here, look who just flew in from the mountains of central Mexico. Last year I didn’t spot my first one until June.

There were at least two of them and maybe more, and they did not want to settle down, so my pictures merely serve as proof-of-life so far.

Lastly, we’ve got a reader photo of the week sent in by frequent park walker and professional videographer, Armonie of Prime Time Visuals. He spotted this little cutie on one of the paved paths in the park, so watch your step!

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 “We’re gonna need a bigger banner…

  1. LOL, hope all my comments aren’t too much. AMAZING BANNER day Andrew! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post! Favorite is the lil’ one hopping over log; precious commodity.


    1. It is fun to get comments at all, and yes, I am mesmerized by how the goslings seem to fling themselves with near abandon into the task of following their parents or guardians and devouring whatever they can find to eat. Truly a joy to watch.


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