All kinds of critters about today…

The big news in Estabrook today is that the Parks Department has closed the parkway to through traffic for the summer again as part of the Milwaukee County Active Streets Program, and it is glorious! I walked the length and just enjoyed listening to the birds. As I approached the north end of the closure, I spotted this little guy in the grass beside one of the old fruit trees there. The shades of grey on its head make me think it might be a young grey catbird.

I took that picture, and as I turned to leave it in peace, it flew up and tried to land in or on my camera case! Happily, it was content to perch on my finger instead, and I was able to return it to a branch up in the tree. Best of luck, little buddy.

I didn’t linger, in hopes that Mom would come by, and continued on to the pond, where I bumped into long-time reader, Sheila B, who wondered how I find all this stuff. I head a green heron overhead and spotted three on the wing, but they kept going and so did I.

At the river, as I bent down to pick up a Styrofoam™ cup, I got close enough to the water to notice this spectacle. The shallow water was teeming with tadpoles, and given the date of Toad-a-palooza this year and that toad eggs “can hatch in 2–14 days“, plus their “skinny tails in relation to the size of their black bodies“, I’m gonna guess they are American toad tadpoles. Fantastic!

Just a bit north of there, I stepped off the path and bent down to retrieve a Lunchables® wrapper and spotted this guy just floating in the water right by the shore. He or she did swim around just a bit, and slapped the water with their tail once, but they didn’t swim away, and after a few pictures, I backed away and continued my journey.

I’d barely taken 10 steps before I saw this little rascal, who didn’t seen to know what to make of me. It slow-hopped up the path a bit and then turned around and came back even closer that it was at the start. It finally ambled onto a side path and let me pass.

At the far north end, I didn’t see our ducklings, but I did spot our fifth butterfly of the season, this time a beautiful eastern black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes asterius), fresh out of its overwintering chrysalis and soaking up some morning sun.

On the clover nearby was this little sulfur, who does have a pretty clear pink edge, so I’m gonna go with pink-edged sulphur (Colias interior).

While there, I glanced at the river and was greeted by yet another spectacle in the shallow water between the east shore and the northern island. It went on for a while and even chased away a pair of geese!

If I had to guess, I’d go with “fish spawning in the shallows”, and if you really pressed me, I’d go with smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu), based on this fishing report I found online, but don’t quote me.

On my walk home, a cute little red squirrel posed for this slightly blurry picture through the sticks…

I noticed that the false Solomon’s seal (Maianthemum racemosum) is starting to open…

And, finally, this little great crested flycatcher struck a pose that I just couldn’t ignore.

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.

5 thoughts on “All kinds of critters about today…

    1. Oh man! I know. It happened to quickly, I’d wonder if I was imagining things if I hadn’t taken a picture. I think the poor little kiddo might have a problem with at least one eye, but maybe it just needs some rest and some worms. I sure hope Mom finds it. Nature can be tough, eh? If it squawks like a baby blue jay, anyone could find it.


  1. Wow, the bey-bey catbird! On your finger! What sweet little tufts on its head. They know when they find a good helper.


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