The sun returns and so do a few characters.

The forecast was for clear skies, for a change, and so I hit the park nice and early even though it was a bit chilly. I could see a blue heron and both sets of ducklings on the pond, but there just wasn’t enough light yet for my equipment, so I let them enjoy their breakfast in peace and headed to the river, were there was at least one beaver about and playing very coy with me.

There were also three more blue herons on the river, down from the four from the previous two mornings, so perhaps there is an ideal temperature for them: not 55°, not 68°, but 63°. Now that’s science, right there! Anyway, I think we’ve seen enough herons lately, so I let them be and headed back to the pond for some nice morning sun action.

Before I could get there, however, I came across this freshly-fledged northern flicker, looking sharp in his almost-adult feathers and acting way less shy than his folks have been lately.

Here he is getting a morning morsel from Dad, who was much more elusive.

And here he is waiting pretty patiently for the next one, which wasn’t long in coming.

Once I did arrive at the pond, the sun did not disappoint. The wood duck ducklings were lounging in the shade on the east side, but the trees and bushes behind them were alit and reflecting beautifully off the water.

And our newest arrivals, the mallard ducklings, were basking in the full golden glow across the water.

Since the sun was out and things were warming up, I stopped by the weeds beside the soccer fields to see who was around, and the place was hoppin’!

Here’s a female twelve-spotted skimmer (Libellula pulchella), whom we haven’t seen since last summer, and who closely resembles the female common whitetail we just saw on the 4th.

Here’s another Halloween pennant, whom we saw for the very first time on the 3rd.

And here are a couple of shots of a monarch, of which there were several I am thrilled to report, gettin’ juiced up on a bull thistle blossom.

Finally, as I headed home, I spotted a long string of Canada geese heading south, perhaps on a training flight. I read conflicting reports on when exactly they molt their flight feathers and so cannot fly, so I can’t tell if this might be the last flight before being grounded or the first flight after being grounded, but it was a nice sight to see either way.

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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