Yet another “great” day in Estabrook!

It was cloudy again this morning, so I didn’t expect to see much, but the clouds weren’t very thick, the temperature was pretty mild for the season, and the winds were nice and light, so I still had hope.

The show began right away with this common merganser drake at the south end who was much less shy than his kind have been lately. Man, if I were that handsome, I’d be posing for pictures all the time.

Right above the shore behind him, our belted kingfisher was already on the hunt.

Back on the water, the merganser had floated down stream leaving this goldeneye drake to keep me company.

I was finally able to make some progress north and noticed that the red-bellied woodpecker with the nesting cavity overlooking the river had company this morning, and they were hammering away on the trunk in unison. How exciting for him!

Farther north, I kept my eyes peeled for our kestrel, and found her at the top of a tree on the far shore. Here she is keeping tabs on me.

Here she is stretching out her tail after I hope she realized I was as harmless as I’ve been every other morning.

As I approached the abandoned bridge abutment, I was stunned to find some of our deer just about to start their way across the river on the ice. It was a trio, perhaps the trio we’ve seen before, and they made it across without incident by the time I got to where you see them standing below.

At the far north end, our plastic owl was still at its post, guarding the roof of the Holiday Inn, so I’m pretty confident it really is a plastic owl. Sorry, Kyle.

As I made my way back south, I could here a few crows and even some mallards making a racket near the southern island. I thought there might be a hawk, so I hustled down there to see who it could be, and looky, looky who I found.

It kept turning its head this way and that, so I’m sure it is a real, live, great horned owl back in Estabrook Park. Hoo-h’HOO-hoo-hoo! There were even two of them, but I didn’t see the second one until it opted to fly a bit farther west. Darn.

I didn’t see the buffleheads above the falls again, so I kept moving, and as I re-approached the grassy area, I kept my eyes open in case our huntress had caught herself a mouse once more. I didn’t have any luck on that front, but I was thrilled to see yet another old friend farther south, where the ice peters out and the open water resumes.

Kyle and I had just been wondering yesterday where the great blue herons go to find open water when the river is all iced over. Maybe this one just followed the mallards.

I did my best not to disturb the heron, even lying flat on my belly as I slid out onto the ice to get a clear picture, and I am happy to report that it was still fishing in the same spot as I hiked southward out of sight. Phew!

Finally, to round things out, I spotted yet another of our successful huntresses, the hooded merganser hen, taking a breather on the ice this time.

Now, that’s what I call a great morning!

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.

6 thoughts on “Yet another “great” day in Estabrook!

  1. What an amazing morn you had!!! Wonderful to see all the friends – owls, ducks, herons, woodpeckers….. exciting to see them in mid-January!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One of the best days ever, Andy!!! The Great Horned Owl and the kestrel with her stretched out tail — absolutely amazing!!

    Liked by 1 person

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