Happy Halloween!

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.

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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