Birds of a feather…

It was a slow morning in Estabrook, after all the noise last evening, and the mammals seemed to be taking the day off. The greatest concentration of firework detritus was by the pond, so I was quite surprised to find all the usual avian denizens going about their morning routine as though nothing had happened.

The American black duck hen was still sticking like glue to her new friend the mallard hen.

And Mrs. Wood Duck was still enjoying the company of her new special friend

While the kids foraged on their own in the yard.

At the river, the water is beginning to recede a bit, after all the rain we’ve had, and the killdeer are back on the exposed rocks. There were at least 3, and this one wanted all my attention.

When I opted not to give chase, however, it got back up and just watched me while a sandpiper began foraging in the background.

Eventually, the killdeer gave up on me and just flew off.

In the meadow, the only critter up this morning is this plush looking silver-spotted skipper.

I stopped by the pond again on my way south, and a green heron evaded me, while the ducklings settled down for their early morning nap.

Meanwhile, the adults settled down on the other end of the pond.

At the soccer fields, the wren was back to singing and keeping an eye on me.

On the next birch tree over, there was a woodpecker that looks like a female downy, but with grey feathers instead of white. She even has the couple of little black squares in the white stripe down the side of her tail. Curious. I don’t think it’s some effect caused by my camera because the birch bark is nice and white.

Julie Craves, supervisor of avian research at the Rouge River Bird Observatory at the University of Michigan Dearborn and research associate at the university’s Environmental Interpretive Center, explains that “woodpeckers’ white feathers are also susceptible to becoming gray and dirty from soot or other substances,” and maybe that’s what’s going on here.

Lastly, a sulfur was sipping its fill from the Canada thistle this time.

Oh, and before I forget, on our way home from our first in-person get together at Anne’s folk’s place yesterday (thanks Joanne and Don) in who knows how long, Anne spotted these two amazing creatures working a soybean field in the warm afternoon sun.

Them there are sandhill cranes, if’n you ain’t from around these parts.

Plus, I forgot to mention that I found my first park tequila yesterday. How fun is that?

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.

3 thoughts on “Birds of a feather…

  1. Brilliant pic can see the key differences Am Black Duck (purple patch, brown tail feathers) and Mallard (blue patch with white tipped tail feathers)


    1. Thanks. It is so fun to get to see these fascinating behaviors. As soon as the mallard landed, the black duck made a bee line for her, and the two have been inseparable since. Meanwhile, the wood ducks are a whole other story.


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