Birds, bugs, a bunny, and a bunch of ducks.

Might as well get this out of the way first: I saw no otters today, and I’m as disappointed about that as I’m sure you are. Oh well, and here’s hoping they come back someday, but if not, we’ll always have yesterday. The closest I got to an otter today is this little cutie pie, not even six inches long yet.

I waited out the morning rain (yay!) and the dim light so didn’t get to the park until after breakfast. When I finally did, I was immediately greeted by this happy sight, an American goldfinch who apparently just can’t wait any more for the Canada thistle blossoms to open. He was really tearing those buds to shreds.

I saw the bunny along the now-closed parkway (yay!) on my way to the pond, which looked wonderfully refreshed by the rain, and where the wood ducks were already enjoying their first break of the day. Mom was doing her stretches, and the six ducklings were intermittently preening and just lounging in the sum.

Then a dog walked by, and mom just bolted. Seriously, she leapt into the air and flew away, but the ducklings seemed not very put out by it, and the two on the right simply moved down the log to join the other four. In short order they all went back to lounging in the sun.

Eventually, the mallard hen, who only showed up on the pond two days ago, swam over, and I half hoped I’d get to see some amazing interspecies tender moment, or something, but no. She just wanted the best spot on that sunny log, and the ducklings quickly got out of her way.

Now, before we all judge her to be some kind of grumpy old meanie, remember that we have no idea what kind of spring she’s had, right? Maybe she just needs that spot more than the youngsters do.

On to the river, where you’ll never believe who I saw.

Sure enough, a solo wood duck hen. Maybe it’s Mom from the pond, and she really just needed a break after riding out the overnight thunderstorm with six young ones under her wings.

Further north, mallard ducklings continue to abound, and here are two batches.

One sight I haven’t seen for a while, on the river or otherwise, is a couple of wood duck drakes. The drakes were accompanied by yet another hen and still looking sharp, but not quite as sharp as a few weeks ago.

Almost all the sandbars that have been exposed recently are back under water, and I don’t know where the sandpipers are gonna find any sand to pipe these days. I sure hope that killdeer from yesterday wasn’t messing around with any eggs on that little bit of now-submerged soil.

In the remains of the meadow at the far north end, a male common whitetail dragonfly (Plathemis lydia), finally agreed to sit still for a few seconds.

Finally, back at the weeds along the edge of the soccer fields at the south end, a pearl crescent, possibly the one from yesterday, was willing to let me capture an image of the underside of its wings.

Quite a difference, eh?

Lastly, just for symmetry, a pretty pair of goldfinches were mining the nearby burdock seeds from last year.

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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