You may have heard that there was a chance that the aurora borealis would be visible in Milwaukee last evening, and the skies were crystal clear, so Anne and I took a stroll through Estabrook to look for them. We didn’t see the northern lights, I am sorry to say, but we did see a deer or two calmly strolling across the soccer fields instead, which was almost as eerie.
It was a happy omen, however, because the skies were pretty clear still this morning, and when I got to the park nice and early, I was greeted by three deer right at the end of the southern parking lot. They looked perhaps like a doe and two young ones. Best of all, I was on my bike for a change, which I believe allowed me to roll up closer than I could have gotten on foot, and they seemed quite unperturbed. The background was the parkway, so not very pretty, but this close-up of Mom keeping her eyes on me came out nice.
I was able to roll away leaving them in peace.
A little further north, where the park gets real narrow and there’s a guardrail between the parkway and the path, I had to stop again. This time for an osprey in a tall tree on our side of the river.
I was able to capture a couple of images through the branches, but by the time I was able to line up a big enough gap for a clear image, it had had enough of me and glided to another perch over the far shore. It was a much longer shot, but the background was much nicer. Either way, that is one fierce looking bird, eh?
When I finally got to the pond, I could only see a half dozen mallards, but long-time reader Lisa soon stopped by, and she pointed out the kingfisher and thought she heard a bluebird. I was unable to line up either in my viewfinder, however, so I told her about the osprey and headed for the river.
Just as I got to the stairway down to the falls, the osprey came gliding north at about treetop level with what looked like a small fish in its talons, and I just enjoyed the sight. Then, as I approached the north end, I could see it on the water in the middle of the river again, but by then it was onto all my tricks, and I couldn’t get close before it retired to a branch on the far shore.
The consolation prize is that as I came to the clearing beside the northern island, Lisa was already there, having wisely skipped the wild goose chase I had suggested, and so I was able to point out the osprey in person.
We didn’t see anyone else there besides a slew of mallards and a few geese, so I headed back south. Since I had parked my bike by the beer garden, it was easy to make one last swing by the pond, where I was surprised to find a quartet of geese. We haven’t seen the likes of them on the pond since May.
At that point, the sun was out, and the water was pretty, so I took a couple of mallard pictures, too. I figured, “what’s the harm, right?”
Nope. No harm at all.
I hope you have a safe Halloween, and I’ll see you in November.