The band plays on!

It was an extraordinary morning in Estabrook Park, and not just for the spectacular weather, but also for the amazing variety of critters out and about. Perhaps last week reminded them that winter is on its way, and they are taking advantage of one more nice warm day to get ready.

First up is this hungry muskrat busy grabbing some plant from onshore and carrying it to the water to chew on it. I watched it make at least three trips, and it reminded me of a similar scene further upstream last spring.

I barely got on the move again, when a walnut rolling down the hill caught my attention, and it was soon followed by this adorable little red squirrel, who perhaps dropped it and now appears to be wondering if I’m gonna eat that. Nope, it’s all yours, little buddy.

I had barely gotten past the abandoned bridge abutment when my trifecta came in with this beaver swimming down the middle of the river.

How’s that for a way to start my day, eh? But wait, there’s more! Now for some birds.

Here’s a male downy woodpecker who swooped onto a thin tree hardly 6 feet from me, looked me up and down, and went right back to foraging.

There are still plenty of autumn colors to be found, and this quartet of mallards steamed through a pretty reflection of some.

As I finally approached the north end, I spotted this blue heron fishing off the east bank up ahead.

I did also see one kingfisher, one goose, a few killdeer, and a lot more mallards, but nothing I could get a good picture of, so I headed back to the pond to see if my luck would continue there.

This dashing cardinal did her part.

And this grey squirrel snuck down to the water to give us this scene of it taking a sip.

As I was about to head home, long-time reader Tamar and her man happened by, and they reported seeing a big raptor by the Congress Street underpass, so I hustled over there in time to find our osprey fishing yet again.

Here it is keeping tabs on me.

Here it is back to looking for fish in the river below and showing us the pretty off-white feathers on the back of its head that Tamar had noticed.

And here it is just before it swooped down to the river and out of sight. Let’s hope it caught something big enough to keep it around for a while longer.

You gotta love it when you think that must be the last encore, and the band comes out to play a masterpiece like this, right? I can’t wait to see what they’ve got for us tomorrow!

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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