Lots of little ones

It was a picture-perfect morning in Estabrook with blue skies, calm winds, and cooler temperatures, and the little wood duck rapscallions were as energetic as ever on the pond.

I didn’t see the muskrat this morning, but a beaver swam by when I got to the river.

Further north, just about where the owl drama unfolded yesterday, I spotted at least 3 and maybe 4 great blue herons high up in a tree on the island, and here’s my best shot of 2 of them.

At the far north end, the shallow waters and sand bars round the northern island were littered with geese and mallards this morning, like we haven’t seen in weeks.

Here’s a pile of goslings snoozing in the sun:

Here’s a pair of mallards with young ducklings, perhaps the ones who fended of the owl yesterday.

And here’s a mallard hen watching over 7 very grown-up-looking ducklings, plus a pair of geese and one gosling in the background, for good measure. I don’t know about cygnets, we haven’t seen them in the park yet, but that one gosling sure makes for an ugly duckling.

Meanwhile, back on shore, I spotted the largest bumblebee I recall ever seeing going to town on several blossoms. Just look at the tongue it has!

I read that “there are 21 species of bumble bees in the eastern United States,” and several have that black spot on their back, so I don’t have much hope of identifying which one this is.

Speaking of venomous critters, check out this spider! Sadly, I’m having no luck identifying it any further. Tough crowd this morning.

Happily, there are a few new blossoms in the park, which I have been able to find.

Here’s Browneyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba), with 79% confidence, just starting to appear on the slope down from the beer garden.

Here’s meadow garlic (Allium canadense), with 93% confidence, opening throughout the park.

And here’s multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora), with 80% confidence, by the river at the north end, and which the bumble was enjoying.

Lastly, I’m starting to see land snails like this little guy on the mud flats, which are as dry now as I’ve ever seen them.

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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