Plenty of activity, despite the weather.

Given the rain last night, including thunder and lightning, and the howling winds, I didn’t have great expectations for my visit to Estabrook this morning. The most noticeable effect of the recent weather was the huge loss of river ice.

I am happy to report, however, that all that newly open water hasn’t gone to waste, and here’s another greater scaup who dropped in to take advantage of some above the falls.

Between the islands, there are still dozens of geese and mallards, plus this odd little grouping of a common merganser hen and drake, a common goldeneye hen and drake, and a bufflehead drake.

The northern island was overrun with geese, and here’s another scaup, a hen this time, relaxing on the water off its northern tip.

I’m pretty sure I spotted four bufflehead drakes and one hen, and here’s one of the drakes preparing to chase away two others as the hen preens herself and a goldeneye drake wonders how he got himself mixed up in this little love quadrangle, and yes, I could really have used a polarizing filter for this picture.

Finally, on my way back south, I spotted this handsome song sparrow busily chirping and foraging on the riverbank.

I could still hear the red-winged blackbirds at a couple of places along the river and by the pond, but the red-bellied woodpeckers were oddly silent this morning. I saw an eagle soar overhead, but it’s talons were empty today. I believe I spotted my first couple of grackles for the season, and I’m sure I heard the distinctive call of a killdeer as it flew past.

Now I see snow is in the forecast for tonight, so I can’t wait to see what the park looks like 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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