A slow start but a big finish…

This morning really got off to a slow start, and I’d be tempted to think that the heat had something to do with it, but who knows. I didn’t see anything on my way to the pond, and there I only saw the same regulars that we saw just yesterday, so I headed to the river, where I almost made it to the north end before I even turned my camera on. At last, the mallard hen with three ducklings led them through a pretty reflection of the trees on the island lit by the sun.

Then a youngish-looking blue heron was fishing off the southern tip of the northern island, so things were starting to look up.

Overhead, this little cutie flew in to pose for a second, and after consulting with the experts at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, I’m gonna go with Acadian flycatcher (Empidonax virescens). Now we’re cookin’! We’re just inside the northwest corner of its range, but Donna, if you know a better fit, I’m sure you won’t hesitate to drop me a line.

As you can see, things had really started to turn around, and they just kept getting better. I had barely finish with the flycatcher, when this slightly faded beauty stopped in, our first red-spotted purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax) for this season, and not a second too soon, either. Woo hoo! Last year it took me several tries to finally find one this obliging.

Well, since my luck had clearly turned around, I swung back by the pond, and look who was there.

Yup, one of the green herons that have really been giving me the slip lately. It was on quite the roly-poly little log and appeared to be having a heck of a time staying upright but not so much that it couldn’t snag a little fish anyway.

But still, it was roly.

Meanwhile, the American black duck hen and her best buddy the mallard hen were enjoying their morning preen together in the sun.

I didn’t see Mrs. Wood Duck’s new special friend, so she was giving the ducklings some attention, for a change. First, there was a winding cruise through the algal mats.

And then a short visit to the west lawn.

When she decided that it was time to go, one duckling had an opinion to share.

Finally, for the cherry on top, just as I was about to call it a morning, I heard the cry of this youngster perched on the WITI TV tower and probably demanding to be fed. My guess is that it’s a fledgling from the pair of peregrine falcons in the nesting box on the UWM EMS building, and that brings our bird-of-prey count to 7!

So Estabrook Park pulled through again for us, and you’d think that after all this time, I’d have learned to have a little more faith.

Oh, and before I forget, I heard a cicada singing already before 8am, so you know it’s gonna be a hot one. Stay cool out there!

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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