Gobble gobble

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, at long last my quest has borne fruit, and we now have photographs, such as they are, of a female wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) in Estabrook Park. I have searched high and low for over a year, and once thought I heard their call across the river, but never once have I spotted one until this morning when I came across this beauty calmly foraging for her breakfast on the lawn to the east of the pond.

If you live nearby, you might be wondering “What’s the big deal? Aren’t they everywhere?” Yes. Yes, they are, and one was even a nuisance to some on the UWM campus a few years ago, but still it’s nice to finally see them, or at least one, pay Estabrook a visit. I sure hope she finds it to her liking and stays a while. Maybe we’ll even get poults next spring. Can you even imagine!?!?

Meanwhile, on the pond, I didn’t see the raccoons this morning, but the ducks were out.

At the river, a pair of beaver were in their usual spot. One who appears smaller and younger was munching away until someone walked by on the path.

Then it appeared to tug a couple of fresh branches to a more-secluded location while another one, who appears to be larger and older, gave me this look.

At the falls, the blue heron was taking a break from fishing as I passed by.

While at the north end, I spotted another, younger one, without all the showy feathers, intently fishing in calmer waters.

By the time I made my way back south, the older one had resumed staring at the rushing water.

It was a slow morning for critters, boys and girls, and you know what that means? That’s right! It’s time for some flower pictures. Woo hoo!

First, we have this handsome little blossom growing along the river path, that looks like a strawberry, but grows at the end of a stem over a foot tall. Instead, it’s tall cinquefoil, prairie cinquefoil, or sticky cinquefoil (Drymocallis arguta), with up to 6 extra leaflets in addition to the 3 that look like strawberry leaves, and no red berries, tasty or otherwise, just seeds in a little pod. We saw its yellow cousin, common cinquefoil (Potentilla simplex), last summer.

Next, I wish this were American bellflower (Campanulastrum americanum), but it is probably the invasive creeping bellflower (Campanula rapunculoides). At least it’s pretty and seems much better behaved than garlic mustard or even dame’s rocket.

And lastly, here’s some nice, native, northern bush honeysuckle, low bush honeysuckle, dwarf bush honeysuckle, or even yellow-flowered upright honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera), which is supposed to be an important source of nectar for bumblebees. Yay!

Then the rain came, I hid under an oak tree for a bit, and then I hurried home for some breakfast.

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.

2 thoughts on “Gobble gobble

  1. Another nice ‘walk’ with you in the Park, the grey day made brighter by your wildflowers. Hoping you someday capture a strutting male in his all-out feather display for that graceful lady turkey!


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