Almost too much for just one report!

I’m too excited to bury the lede today, so let’s get right to it. I spotted a pair of North American River Otters (Lontra canadensis) in the river this morning who appeared to be hunting goslings, and this is the best picture I managed to capture.

It sure has the rounded nose and prominent whiskers of an otter, instead of the pointy nose of a mink, and they swam low with just their heads above water, instead of exposing most of their backs, as mink and muskrats do.

I was walking north along the river above the falls, and I spotted a goose with four goslings also heading north. I think we’ve seen them before.

As I tried to get their picture, I spotted a couple of dark shapes in the water behind them, and my first thought was beaver.

The critters continued the chase for a bit, but when the geese got into the open and shallow area between the islands, the pursuers appear to abandon their effort and headed back south. That’s when they came right by me.

Holy Moly! Right? Plus, this was on top of an already stellar morning.

I had already seen two deer along the now-carless road on my walk to the pond.

There was a wood duck hen with a pair of ducklings on the river.

And a red squirrel took the time to say hi.

As I stood on the river bank after seeing the otters trying to collect my thoughts, our river deer also came out to say hi.

At least two batches of mallard ducklings were rustling up their breakfast with their moms.

And this killdeer was up to something that I couldn’t decode. He or she seemed to hunker down in two different locations in between bouts of just standing there and shouting at me. Maybe it’s trying to nest there, but a low sandbar in a river, only exposed because of drought conditions, is a pretty risky operation. Wouldn’t you agree?

On my walk back to the pond, I spotted this gorgeous creature, who appears to be a pearl crescent (Phyciodes tharos), in the grass north of the beer garden.

At the pond, the wood duck hen and her ducklings, of which six of the original nine remain, (not all captured below) were between naps.

And the mallard hen was still there.

Finally, another little wood-satyr (Megisto cymela) gave me a chance to make sure I had the best picture I could.

If all that weren’t enough, yesterday afternoon was so nice I headed out in hopes of spotting a tiger swallowtail, and look who I saw instead. A doe and her fawn on the river just north of the Capitol Drive bridge. They seemed to be cool with me, but when a noisy group went by on the river trail, that was too much, and off they went. Oh well. Next time will be better.

Okay, okay, just one more picture. I finally spotted a monarch caterpillar on some milkweed, of course.

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.

6 thoughts on “Almost too much for just one report!

  1. What a morning! So much life going on along your pathways… and, to see otters on the hunt. Wow!


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