Winter’s last blast, or so we can hope…

The thermometer said 5°F, but my sources said the stiff breeze out of the northwest was making if feel like -15°F. Yikes! Anyway, the fresh snow and blue skies were very pretty, so maybe worth the price, but probably that’s about enough for this year, eh?

Most of the critters in Estabrook were still snug in their beds as I hiked through, but a few were hearty enough to brave the weather. The bufflehead pair, two pair of mallards, about a half dozen goldeneyes were enjoying their 32°F water, as usual, but I couldn’t get better pictures than yesterday, so I let them be.

Instead, it was the woodpeckers out against that gorgeous blue sky who made for the prettiest pictures, and here’s a female downy all fluffed up at the north end.

This male downy by the pond must have really hit quite a vein of tasty morsels because he just ignored me being only 10 feet away.

The wind had blown most of the snow off the branches, but not all of it, and this mourning dove found some to frame its portrait for us.

I finally found a nice clump of house finches, and one house sparrow, that I could capture in an image, warming up in the sun over the pond.

Back at the south end, and up on the bluff, a red-bellied woodpecker glanced our way for just a moment before taking off.

This pair of white-breasted nuthatches, however, may have been blinded by young love because they were far more accommodating. Here’s the male with his dashing black cap.

And here he is again, in the upper left, right after he found something and hustled down the tree trunk to give it to the female in her “grayer” cap, in the lower right. You can see she still has it in her beak.

Here she is again, looking quite contented now that it seems she has found such a keeper. We wish them well.

Just as I was crossing the Oak Leaf Trail on my way out of the park, I finally spotted our first furry folks out to soak up some of that fabulous February sun.

What a pair of snuggle buddies.

Lastly, the new petition to close the parkway through Estabrook again this summer appears to be up and running at last. If you agree with this sentiment, and I hope you do, you can sign it here:

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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