A whole lot going on in Estabrook!

What a perfect morning in Estabrook! The air was cool, dry, and calm. The sky was blue, and the sun came out. There was even another running race on the path and the Farmers Market on the parkway. Happily for us, the critters weren’t too put out by the crowds yet, seemed to enjoy the nice weather, too, and so were out in droves.

I stopped by the pond first, and I finally captured an image to show you how the male wood duck ducklings are starting to show some of their colors.

By comparison, the females already have that characteristic white teardrop around their eyes.

The night-heron was still with us and asleep on its favorite branch already.

Long-time reader, Lisa, stopped by and helpfully pointed out the green heron “in the greenery” for me.

This came in super handy when I heard a splash behind me as I was trying to capture some shy little songbird in the trees over the pond, because I knew right what it was and spun around in time to capture this fun sequence.

So, that’s how you swallow a frog whole. Thanks, Lisa! Remember to extend your neck.

Anyway, I did manage to capture that little bird in the trees, and it was a female redstart again.

And this time she showed off her distinctive tail feathers for us.

As we have seen, the squirrels have been quite active lately, and this morning they demonstrated what some of that activity is all about.

That was enough pond action for me, so I headed to the river where I found yet another cormorant.

Which went for a little swim.

And then hung itself out to dry in the beautiful morning sun.

A pair of kingfishers were making a racket over the river, and here’s one taking a quick break.

Further north, between the islands, I spotted a pair of migrants taking a break on their journey south.

Yup, shovelers, and yes, that’s their real name. We haven’t seen them since April, when we learned that their genus name is Spatula. Here’s one of them stretching its wings.

There was another visitor on the river, and this one looks like a female hooded merganser, whom we haven’t seen since July.

There was also a blue heron strolling among the mallards.

The biggest surprise on the water, however, at least size-wise, was this pair of deer making their way to the west side. We haven’t seen river deer since June!

Back on shore, I spotted a pair of flycatchers, and I think the first one is a willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii) with a distinct little ring around its eye.

The second one looks more like an eastern wood-pewee (Contopus virens) with much less of an eye ring.

I finally started heading back home, but the fun wasn’t done yet. Here’s our first waterthrush of the fall migration on its way back to Central America and hard at work in the very dim light right at the water’s edge, as usual.

And here’s a nonbreeding/immature spotted sandpiper beside the waterfall.

Well, that’s 15 species for the morning, if I’m right about the two flycatchers and we ignore the frog and the mallards. I would have never guessed we’d see so much this late in the year, and after all that, I think I’m gonna need a nap!

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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