Calm returns to Estabrook

After a couple of days of deer chasing herons, geese chasing deer, and herons chasing geese, everyone seemed relaxed this morning, and I have no drama to report. Phew.

Just as I entered the park, I scanned the horizon in hopes of spotting some deer at the tree line or even cavorting on the soccer fields, as we often did last summer, and look who I saw just peeking over the edge.

I strolled on over, she didn’t budge, I took this picture and left her there peacefully chewing her cud.

Now that’s a nice way to start the morning.

At the pond, the wood ducks were busy foraging as the light slowly came up. There are still six ducklings, but you know how they like to spread out, so this is the best framing I could come up with.

Long-time reader and trained-birder, Donna, has confirmed my guess that the other hen on the pond recently is actually an American black duck, not a mallard, as I had mistakenly assumed initially, and this morning she caught herself a crayfish for breakfast. Mmm, tasty!

That reminds me of the time last summer when the wood duck hen on the pond with one duckling caught and ate a frog before my very eyes. They’re flexitarians, I guess.

At the river, I spotted the beaver again, but only one this time. There were some ripples under a log, but the second one declined to show itself today. With these shy critters, who are supposed to be “active mainly at night“, we’ll have to take what we can get.

The falls were devoid of action, with no geese nor herons, so I continued on to the north end, where I found what appear to be, from the size of them, a brand new batch of ducklings for what might be their maiden voyage.

The first thing Mom wanted, after being hunkered down on her nest for the last 27 or 28 days, was a good stretch.

Here she is pausing from her well-deserved preening to keep tabs on me.

Then, finally, it’s off to the buffet for the little ones. Fill those little crops!

And still, Mom keeps an eye on me.

There are also plenty of geese on the river, too, but I heard nary a honk out of them today.

On my walk home, this little character put on an amazing aerobatic display chasing some bug just over the grass for a dozen yards before returning to this branch. I’m going with blue-gray gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea), maybe a female or nonbreeding male, whom we haven’t seen in weeks but are still around, apparently.

Finally, the Canada thistle, growing along the edge of the soccer fields, is coming in, and this little Peck’s skipper (Polites peckius) is one of the first I’ve seen take advantage.

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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