Estabrook still surprises…

The weather was perfect again, and with the nip in the morning air and some leaves beginning to change color, it’s really starting to feel like autumn in Estabrook. After finding no herons or just the sleepy night-heron at the pond recently, I was surprised to find three different herons there is morning.

The young night-heron was sleeping, as usual.

But there was also a blue heron taking a break.

And a green heron was hard at work.

But that wasn’t even the biggest surprise! Along with the four young male wood ducks, five female wood ducks, and one mallard hen, there was a new adult male in full breeding plumage. We haven’t seen one of these in months!

You could tell he was new in town because he held back when everyone else came up on the lawn to see if I was the old guy with a camera who would feed them. Sorry, kids, that’s not me.

Anyway, I eventually moved on to the river and found one of the hooded mergansers taking a break from feasting on crayfish.

I also finally took this bittersweet picture. A Canada goose with a broken wing has been staying in the vicinity of the islands for a couple of weeks now, and its partner is staying with it. This morning is the closest to shore that they’ve come and the closest I’ve seen them together.

Farther south, along the river, a chipmunk waited for me to hurry up and take this picture so it could get back to stuffing its cheeks.

And a young blue heron was fishing at the falls, which is another sight we haven’t seen in a while.

Finally, I stumbled upon two interesting new blossoms in the park. The first is blue mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum), growing right beside the river.

And the second looks like an amaranth, growing out of a pile of dead leaves in the gutter of the closed parkway, but I can’t find a close match. Can you?

Here’s the leaf, in case that helps.

I wonder what surprises Estabrook has up its sleeves for me next time.

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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