It was literally a frosty morning in Estabrook. Temperatures didn’t get below the mid-thirties overnight, but the crystal clear skies allowed for enough radiant cooling for a nice coating of hoar frost to form on the grass and leaves. That’s our first frost for the season, I believe.
Our resident osprey was in one of its favorite spots again, on a tree overlooking the river where the path is separate from the parkway by just a guardrail.
There were a few mallards on the pond, but I may have overexposed them yesterday, so we’ll give them a pass today and let the river do the heavy lifting instead. Besides dozens of more mallards and a pair of geese, I saw up to six kill deer foraging together, and these three were kind enough to arrange themselves for this portrait.
I am also thrilled to report that we seem to have another new guest, and I believe she is an American widgeon hen (Mareca americana). Her plumage looks right, with a “warm brown body and a dark smudge around the eye“, and we’re in her migratory range. My only hesitation is that her bill doesn’t look light enough above the dark tip, but perhaps that’s just due to the lighting on the river this morning. This picture, from Bird Watch Daily, matches our visitor better.
She stuck close to the mallards, but she was super shy and would take off as I approached the shore while the mallards would barely even bother to look my way.
I soon left her and the rest of the birds on the river alone and headed back south. Just north of the falls, this herring gull was far less shy for the camera.
The river valley provided a nice respite from the brisk breeze out of the west, so I continued south along the eastern bank, and this blue heron, who may have been thinking the same thing, provided one more pleasant surprise.
Lastly, as I exited the park, I saw that the parks department has opened the barricades on the parkway, so it appears the “active streets” program has come to an end, at least for the season, which is a shame. Worse, I heard a rumor that they may not close it again for next summer, so watch this space for a chance to sign my new petition urging them to close it again next spring.