An exciting new guest at the pond…

I had a great visit back east, although I hardly took any pictures, and now it’s great to be back in Estabrook, where it looks like you’ve had some rain lately. In my rough estimation, there are about a year’s worth of branches and trees down in the park. Yikes!

Happily, I didn’t see any new trees down in the pond, and it sure needed the water, so the pond was looking good this morning. The mallards and wood ducks, of whom I counted over a dozen combined, were busy sampling whatever the storm knocked out of the oak tree over the path or from the bushes below it.

The wood duck with the limp that we spotted last week was still there, but hung back a bit, as you might imagine, so didn’t make the best picture.

A blue heron and at least one green heron were also in attendance, but the blue heron looked like it was also going easy on its left foot or leg, and I sure hope that heals up soon.

The big surprise on the pond is a new heron, which I don’t believe I’ve seen before, and that appears to be a young yellow-crowned night heron (Nyctanassa violacea), although their breeding range only extends north into southern Illinois and southern Indiana, so it’s a long way from home.

Note specifically the reddish iris, dark skin in front of the eye, and short black bill compared to the yellow iris, yellow skin, and longer bill with pale yellow in it that the young black-crowned night heron has, which we saw on the pond last summer.

Here are some more pictures of our exciting new guest.

How’s that for a welcome-home surprise, eh?

Finally, there is yet another thistle in bloom, and this one might be tall thistle (Cirsium altissimum), a native for a change, but I’ve gotta confirm some additional identifying details before I can assert so. In any case, the bumblebees were making the best of the situation.

This one even seems to be a little impatient with the young blossom it is on.

Lastly, Connecticut wasn’t a complete bust, picture wise, and here’s what I got.

A cute catbird from a walk with my dad.
An eastern tiger swallowtail on some butterfly bush in my brother’s yard.
A black swallowtail on a marigold in my brother’s yard .
Some Indian pipe from a walk with my brother and his dogs.

Oddly, the tiger swallowtails were nearly as plentiful there as the monarchs have been here, and the monarchs were about as rare there as the tiger swallowtails have been here this summer.

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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