A break from the rain and a bit of sun

After all the recent sogginess, it was a very nice morning in Estabrook. The crowd of wood ducks on the pond has subsided a bit, but the surprise sighting was this giant snapping turtle appearing to try to climb up onto shore.

I wasn’t able to get close enough, sadly, to tell if it is the same one that we saw last Friday, but it was huge. I wonder what’s instigating all this activity?

Anyway, there was also a pretty little yellow-rumped warbler flitting between the trees and bushes at the north end.

After that, it was on to the river for me, and north of the falls there was a bunch of geese just off the tip of the southern island and looking nice in the morning sun. Our pair with three good wings between them is in this sextet, and I think the one on the far right has the bad wing. It is nice to see that it still seems to be otherwise healthy, and it has a nice group of companions.

As I was trying to get the best composition of birds, and pretty reflection off the water, a whole flock of additional geese steamed in.

And then I notice there were a couple of interlopers photobombing my goose shot. Here’s one of them.

Yup, there was a pair of tiny blue-winged teals calmly foraging amongst the giants. Here are the little cuties together and from a different angle.

When I reached the north end, between the two islands, a raptor shot across overhead accompanied by the rattle of a kingfisher. When the raptor perched on a tree across the river, I could finally see that it was a young Cooper’s hawk.

Also perched, but at the top of a tall tree on the northern island, was this blue heron.

When I looked again a bit later, I was thrilled to see that there were two of them. The place is starting to look like a rookery. How cool would that be, eh?

Back on shore, the dark-eyed juncos are really getting thick on the ground, literally, and a whole flock were foraging in the gravel of the path along the river. Here’s a shot showing two of the seven subspecies: an “Oregon” (Junco hyemalis oreganus) on the left, and a “slate-colored” (Junco hyemalis hyemalis) on the right. We’re lucky enough to be in the winter range for both.

On my way back south, I was greeted by this little red squirrel, of whom we haven’t seen much lately, and it seemed almost as curious about me as that young deer from just over a week ago.

It actually climbed down that tree trunk a bit to get a better look.

All the recent rain certainly seems to have brought out the mushrooms, and besides the shaggy manes scattered about, this big clump was growing out of the lawn by the southern playground, but I don’t know what they are. Do you? The big one in the foreground was about 3 inches across.

These tiny ones, also a mystery to me, are growing out of a crack in an old log. The caps were an inch across at best.

Finally, here’s yet another bumblebee on yet another yellow flower. It was nice and warm by the time I walked by, so it was quite active.

I’ve gotta go to school in the morning, so I’ve saved a couple of pictures from today to show you tomorrow. Tune in then to get the rest of the story.

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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