Two reports for the price of one.

With the dark skies yesterday morning and then a trip to campus, I didn’t get to the park until late in the day, but it was a nice change of pace. I saw this little cutie crossing the trail up ahead and thought I’d missed my chance, but he or she waited patiently in the woods for me to get there and take this portrait. Thanks, honey, and I wonder if we saw you crossing the river with your mom just about a month ago.

In the weeds beside the soccer fields, yet another goldfinch was feasting on the gone-by bull thistle blossoms in the golden afternoon sun and against the nice blue sky that finally came out. Isn’t he a handsome devil?

In the big oak tree at the south end of the weeds, a nuthatch was foraging on the top side of a branch for a change.

Finally, as I was checking the bee balm, which seems to be in bloom throughout the park, for at least one critter to accept its sweet offer, I spotted this stunning eastern comma (Polygonia comma) who was not on the bee balm, but a lot less shy than the one I glimpsed last summer.

Although it wasn’t sampling the bee balm, it did land on my finger three times before it decided it had tasted enough bug repellent.

Before I could send you those pictures, it was morning again and time to go back to the park, and I was thrilled to find the crystal blue skies had stuck around, at least for a little while.

I spotted three blue herons in the river, and two of them were fishing in pretty surroundings.

At the pond, the status quo seems to have returned with the two wood duck hens and five ducklings, one black duck hen, and two mallard hen friends. The only notable development I saw was that the ducklings, who are just about five-and-a-half weeks old, are already starting to sport blue wing feathers, just like their mom. They grow up so fast.

Back at the soccer fields, the wren in the birch tree was doing a little house cleaning.

In between verses of his song.

Did I already mention the blue sky?

Anyway, if you haven’t been to the park in a few days, you wouldn’t believe how thick the monarchs have become. We appear to be having a bumper crop this year, and it sure is wonderful to see. Add the golden light from the morning sun and the bright pink of a bull thistle blossom, and that’s a combination I just can’t resist.

Finally, you may remember last summer when we spotted a turtle laying eggs on the island in the pond. Well, long-time reader, Carolyn, and her trusty side-kick, George, spotted her appearing to be trying again but right on the path through the woods to the pond this time. Oh, sweetie, I sure hope you know what you’re doing.

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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