Everything but the kitchen sink…

The stunningly beautiful morning got off to a picturesque start when this great blue heron on the pond paused in front of a rose bush on the island, probably the same multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) that we saw last week, instead of behind a bunch of dead and gray sticks.

I didn’t see it catch a fish, though, and as I progress around to the north side to check on the wood ducks, this little sweetheart seemed about as surprised as I was that we would bump into each other on that path.

The deer took off, and I found the wood duck hen snuggling with her ducklings. It was a pretty chilly morning compared to the last few days, and I wished I had worn more than shorts and a t-shirt. In any case, I didn’t get to count the ducklings today, but not a bad visit to the pond, eh?

As seems to by my routine these days, I headed to the river next, found no one at the mud flats, and our new bestie suggested I try just a bit north on the path again.

Sure enough! Here’s the first batch of wood duck ducklings I believe I’ve ever seen on the river, and I’m quite sure the ones we just saw on the pond are still there, so that makes two for the season. Woo Hoo! Go wood ducks! Right? Who could possibly not want to see more?

Even this squirrel seems to be asking if I just got a load of that.

At the far north end, the killdeer were out again, but nobody wanted to put on a show this morning.

And it appears that we have yet another batch of mallard ducklings. I count 6 in this one. Mom was leading them past that rock and they all just scrambled ashore and make like they were getting ready to stay out of the water. Anyone who has taken swimming lessons in a pond on a cool morning can relate to that. After a brief standoff, she did eventually induce them to hop back in and continue to follow her. Moms can be tough.

In my way back south, right at the base of the stairway to the beer garden, I finally spotted something I looked for all last summer, after spotting the pretty yellow flowers, but could never find, a yellow salsify (Tragopogon dubius) gone to seed. It looks like a dandelion, but huge, at almost 3 inches in diameter. I read that it also goes by yellow goatsbeard, came from Eurasia, is “in the daisy family (Asteraceae),” and was “apparently introduced as garden plants in the early 1900s.”

Further south, this toad waited very patiently for me to pass so it could take care of that dang ant.

This northern cardinal called down to me as if to say “You’re not gonna leave without a single passerine picture, are you? With this sky? Come on, man! This weather won’t last forever, you know.”

Finally, at the southern soccer fields, I finally found a “Lord of June dragonfly”, a common green darner (Anax junius) that is, ready to sit for its portrait. Thank goodness for cool mornings! I have nowhere near the Photoshop skills necessary to make that thing up.

Lastly, the bull thistle blossom from yesterday continues to make progress and is starting to attract pollinators. Sweet.

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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