The sun returns, sort of…

At least it was dry this morning, for a change, and when the sun did peak through the clouds, even if only for a moment, it was magnificent.

Right off the bat, as I was crossing Wilson Drive on my commute to the park, I spotted a young deer peaking out from behind the cedars at the edge of the Shorewood Police Station parking lot, as if she hoped to sample some of the fine decorative vegetation across the street. I suggested, however, that even though those suburban shrubberies may be delicious, she’d be better off staying in the park, and she seemed to take my word for it.

Then I headed to the pond, where you will never guess who I found as I slowly circled the island looking for our ducks.

Yup, a whole family of little masked bandits, well a trio anyway, were busily washing and, I presume, eating their breakfast. I wonder what they found there. It sure wasn’t ducklings this time. Plus, they look pretty dry for having swum over. This whole scene raises more questions than it answers, and I thought I have plenty of time to research further, based on their initial non-reaction to me, but without looking up or otherwise indicating that they had spotted me, they all simply sauntered inland and out of sight. Rascals! Maybe next time.

Speaking of ducks, I did spot Mom and her six ducklings, and the American black duck hen was still there, but there was no sign of Mom’s new friend. Maybe that was just a one-time thing.

Wood duck hen with her six ducklings (there are two on the log behind her)
American black duck hen

On to the river, where all the beaver seemed to be already snug in their beds for the day and nowhere that I could find. I did see a blue heron fishing on the other side, but at a wide part of the river, so we’ll just let that go.

Happily, at the southern island, where the river get’s quite narrow, our old pal the great horned owl was back for another bath. I missed the actual bathing part, but this time it picked a nice close branch on which to perch, preen, and dry out.

Give all the feathers a good shake,
squeegee some on the front individually,
and fluff them up to air dry.

After a good fifteen minutes, it appeared that I was not going to see anything new, so I pressed on.

There was nothing new to report at the north end, so I came back south and again spotted the blue heron, who had kindly moved closer to the falls to give me a better shot. Here it is landing a little fish.

And here it is on the way to the lower side of the falls when the sun mercifully cast its warm glow upon the scene. Fine, but where where you 45 seconds ago when that would have really helped with those action shots?

As I continued south, I heard a catbird making its plaintive cat-call, “meow, meow, meow“, and quickly spotted it hopping around on branches close overhead. I’m not sure what message it was trying to convey, but I sure hope it eventually found satisfaction.

Further south, over the now-verdant mudflats, I spotted another wren boldly claiming his territory. They sure like those prominent perches.

Lastly, as I was searching for butterflies in the tall weeds by the soccer fields, look who I finally spotted.

Cedar waxwings at last! There were two on that branch, and a couple more nearby, but this is the one who was willing to pose for me a bit. Even the sun came out for a few seconds.

Ah! Now that’s a morning.

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.

5 thoughts on “The sun returns, sort of…

  1. Cedar Waxwings! Heron! Bandits! Cat bird! Owl! OMGoodness…WHAT a morning! Made our day!


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