Happy October!

Wowza! That high pressure system parked over Michigan just keeps delivering the hits. What a morning it was in Estabrook, and if I were to ask for perfect weather, I don’t know what I would change.

Life on the pond continues with the new normal: a slew of wood ducks, one bright yellow duckling, and no herons, grebes, or mergansers.

The first sight to greet me at the river was this handsome red-tailed hawk on a big log jutting out just over the water, and maybe it had been getting something to drink as I walked up.

At the north end, I was thrilled to see our new guests again. Yesterday, I posted the one picture I had gotten on Wednesday, and I thought it was a brown-headed cowbird. Luckily, diosaalx6 saw it and wrote in to tell me that it was a female rusty blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) instead, which is a new bird for us in Estabrook. Yay! Thanks, diosaalx6!

Well, there were three or four of them back in the same spot today, and here is a male and female together,

Just a male,

And just a female.

A bit further on shore was another white-throated sparrow, and this one seemed to say, “that’s enough with the grey rocks, mud, and dead grass, already. How about including some pretty foliage in the background for a change? It’s autumn for crying out loud!”

Meanwhile, out on the water, a youngish-looking great blue heron had bigger fish to fry.

Oh, and there are still waterthrushes about, but this one wasn’t quite as bold as the one I saw on Wednesday.

On my way south, there were a group of grackles foraging in the woods above the trail, and this one somehow didn’t notice that I was taking its picture.

I had begun to think that we had seen our last warbler, not counting the waterthrush, of course, but look who I saw sampling the buckthorn berries just south of the falls. You can just make out the tell-tail yellow patch on its lower back that makes it a yellow-rumped warbler.

Given that its only got to fly to southern Illinois to reach its wintering grounds, we might be lucky enough to continue seeing them here for a while. Yay!

Finally, when I went out looking for butterflies Wednesday afternoon, I didn’t come home completely empty handed. Here’s a turkey vulture who was circling over the meadow by the river at the north end.

Lastly, when nature only gives us cabbage whites and sulphurs, I guess I’d better take pictures of cabbage whites and sulphurs, eh? Well, in that case, here’s a sulphur from this morning sipping nectar from the pretty little light-purple asters beside the Oak Leaf Trail.

PS. The hourly forecast for the Shorewood Fish & Feather Festival tomorrow is now “mostly cloudy” from 11-12, so if you’re planning on stopping by to say “hi”, and I sure hope you do, you might want to come earlier rather than later, but I’ll be there rain or shine.

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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