Dance of the Sandpipers

I was treated to that rare and delightful phenomenon this morning when a pair of critters are so interested in each other that they mostly ignore me. This time, it was a pair of spotted sandpipers on the rocks in the river just below the falls, and I was up on the boardwalk partially concealed by the railing.

I can’t tell if it was part of a courtship or just a youngster still hoping to be fed, but one relentlessly followed the other as it foraged, and once in a while the chasee would relent to produce these scenes.

Either way, they sure are adorable creatures, aren’t they?

Further north, between the two islands, I spotted another tender moment when a wood duck hen nuzzled her duckling.

Then they continued their foraging with another hen.

Meanwhile, the geese are back, bigly!

And a mallard hen is still watching over her two ducklings.

On my way to the pond, I stumbled upon this amazing blossom, which believes, with 68.57% confidence, is Papaver rhoeas and known commonly as Corn poppy, Common Poppy, Corn Rose, Field Poppy, Red Poppy, Shirley poppy, or Flanders poppy. Take your pick.

And another blossom called Saponaria officinalis (96.96% confidence) and commonly known as Bouncing Bet, Latherwort, Soapwort, Common soapwort, or Sweet Betty.

The Pedia of Wik helpfully explains:

“As its common name implies, it can be used as a very gentle soap, usually in dilute solution. It has historically been used to clean delicate or unique textiles, especially woollen [sic] fabrics;[9] it has been hypothesized that the plant was used to treat the Shroud of Turin.[10]

A lathery liquid that has the ability to dissolve fats or grease can be procured by boiling the leaves or roots in water. Leaves are chopped, boiled, and strained; the liquid can then be used as soap.[11]

In the Romanian village of Șieu-Odorhei, natives call the plant săpunele. It is traditionally used by the villagers as a soap replacement for dry skin.”


“An overdose can cause nauseadiarrhea, and vomiting.[citation needed][12]

Despite its toxic potential, Saponaria officinalis finds culinary use as an emulsifier in the commercial preparation of tahini[13] and in brewing to create beer with a good head. In the Middle East, the root is often used as an additive in the process of making halva. The plant is used to stabilize the oils in the mixture and to create the distinctive texture of halvah.”

When I finally reached the pond, just about everyone was there.

The wood ducks:

A couple of green herons busy hunting:

Then this one jumped into the water, which I missed, and immediately returned to the branch with a little fish.


And a damp blue heron who took a break up in a tree, which gave me an opportunity to get closer than they usually permit.

Finally, at the soccer fields, our wren friend appears to have eliminated a step and now just sings from the lip of its cavity.

And a black swallowtail tried to dry out without the sun to help.

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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