A rewarding morning in Estabrook

Our string of picture-perfect weather continues, and there are still enough critters out and about to make a visit to Estabrook interesting.

I thought at first that I would have to report that there were finally no herons on the pond, but our night-heron had simply moved to a new spot on the island.

There were no mallards this morning, but still seven wood ducks, and here are a pair of hens collaborating.

And a couple of young males working alone.

As I was trying to get the night-heron picture above, I noticed there were several robin-sized birds also in that same tree.

It turns out that they are thrushes, but I didn’t get a good enough picture to distinguish between wood thrushes, hermit thrushes, or even Swainson’s thrushes. Heck, I can’t even really see the difference between the pictures on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website. I’ve never seen a group of thrushes like that before, though, so these are probably migrants, which would eliminate wood thrushes, but that’s as far as I can go. Maybe I’ll have better luck next time.

I didn’t see any warblers at the pond today, so I headed to the river, where I spotted our regular blue heron on break.

The three mergansers, probably female or young hooded mergansers, from Wednesday are still there.

And a mallard drake is coming out of eclipse and getting some of its fancy breeding plumage back.

I didn’t see the shovelers again, nor any other exciting new migrants, so I made my way south, and as I stepped onto the boardwalk below the beer garden, I spotted a plastic bag in the river below. I didn’t feel like going to get it because, if you’ve been there you know, I would have to walk all the way to the south end of the boardwalk, climb down to the river, and make my way all the way back to the north end to get that bag. Oh well, that’s how I spotted the beaver that one time last March, so I sucked it up, went after the bag, and this was my reward.

You guessed it! Our first clubtail dragonfly! Yay! There are at least 33 species of clubtail dragonflies in Wisconsin, however, so good luck identifying this one for sure, but I like the looks of the elusive arrow clubtail (Stylurus notatus spiniceps) with those green eyes, don’t you? I wish there was a little more light at the time so I could have closed the aperture a bit and had a little more depth of field, but it takes a while for the sun to reach down to the river there. Oh well.

Finally, as I was wandering around below the boardwalk, I also spotted this tenacious little black-eye Susan growing straight out of the barren rock.

Lastly, but by no means leastly, look what I found as I made one last sweep of the southern parking lot on my way out of the park. Some kind soul already enjoyed three of them and must have wanted me to have the rest! Am I right?

Now that’s some sweet reward, eh?

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.

One thought on “A rewarding morning in Estabrook

  1. I so love that sweet night heron…and any bird standing contrapposto.
    And yes. That half six-pack was definitely left for you. Your reward for picking up trash.

    Liked by 1 person

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