A new bird for a new year!

Happy New Year! I hope yours is off to as nice a start as mine is. This morning looked like many recent mornings with low, dark skies, but as Forrest Gump always used to say, “Estabrook Park is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

This morning, I was thrilled to spot a new raptor in the park, “North America’s littlest falcon”, an American Kestrel (Falco sparverius), and the little bit of brown on the top of her head leads me to believe she is female.

She looked just like a mourning dove when I first spotted her at the north end, but when she didn’t take off right away as mourning doves tend to do, I took a closer look. What a treat!

Until I had spotted her, I was just trying to get something to show you at all. Thus, I already had another kingfisher picture from the south end…

A chickadee picture from farther north…

And a coy gray squirrel from just short of the north end.

On my way back south, I spotted the male bufflehead again hanging out with the mallards above the falls.

Finally, as I approached the south end again, I spotted a few mallards working their way upstream just offshore, and the one at the end of the line looked different. Sure enough, that’s because he’s a gadwall drake. Ha!

Long-time readers may remember that we had a gadwall hen hang around for weeks last spring, first on the pond, and then on the river, but I think this is our first sighting of a drake. How sweet is that?

The forecast looks pretty promising right now for some snow overnight, and the sun might even come up on partly-cloudy skies tomorrow, so we might finally get a break from all the gray. Keep your fingers crossed!

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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