Holy macaroni, what a fabulous fall morning in Estabrook Park! The cold, wind, clouds, rain, and even mosquitoes seem to have all departed, if only for this morning, leaving just birds, birds, birds,! And some squirrels and chipmunks.
The big surprise at the pond this morning was this little yellow cutie with a very pink bill that some person must have left there for us. Dr Google suggests that a duckling with such coloration might be of the domesticated but uncommon Aylesbury breed from the UK, of all places. It seemed to be contentedly swimming around and filling up on flies from the water surface, so no need to panic yet, I suppose, but it will be fascinating to see or hear what becomes of it.
The big surprise on the river was this great egret busy catching fish. I’ve only seen one of these magnificent creatures in Estabrook once before, and that was in the pond on Mother’s Day last year. The fine folks at the Cornell lab of Ornithology explain that “if you live outside of the species’ breeding range, [which their map suggests we do] you may still see Great Egrets in late summer as they move about widely before heading to their wintering grounds” on the Gulf Coast or “as far as the West Indies or southern Central America.“
The egret was not the only fisher on the river this morning, and here’s a blue heron by the falls again.
I was afraid that all that wind yesterday would have blown all the warblers out of the park, and they’d all be sipping frozen piña coladas on the gulf coast by now, but perhaps the wind blew just as many in! Here’s one by the river that I’ve struggled to identify. It sure has a key marking of the yellow-rumped warbler, but none of the rest matches any pictures of them I can find, which all show yellow patches also on the neck and sides. Hmmm.
The rest of the bird looks like an immature pine warbler, but I can’t find a picture of a pine warbler with such a yellow patch on its lower back. Mysteries, mysteries…
This one looks like a pine warbler wondering where the heck we keep the pine trees.
Finally, this one threw me for a loop at first because I didn’t factor in that she’s bigger than most warblers or vireos. Instead, as far as I can tell, she’s a female scarlet tanager, and she’s on her way “across the Gulf of Mexico” to South America.
Lastly, there are still dragonflies around, if you can believe it, and this striking one appears to be a white-faced meadowhawk (Sympetrum obtrusum)
Once again, I had too many pictures today for just one post, so I’ve saved some for tomorrow, which works out well because I need to be in the maintenance yard parking lot and ready to cut buck thorn with Friends of Estabrook Park by 9am tomorrow. Maybe I’ll see you there!