Hoodies, Herons, and Scaups. Oh my!

I waited for the snow to subside before heading out this morning, in hopes of keeping my lens clean, and I was glad to find there were still plenty of pretty sights to see so late in the day.

Here’s our first great blue heron since January, before the deep freeze. “Welcome back, Beautiful!”

Another new sight for the season was the pair of geese at the pond taking another step towards nesting on the island. Here’s one checking out the little strip of open water off the southern tip.

This gorgeous female cardinal was also at the pond and looking for something good to eat.

Back down on the river, the male scaup was still on the water above the falls.

Around the northern island, I counted about 4 dozen geese, nearly the same number of mallards, 8 common merganser, 14 goldeneyes, and 5 buffleheads, but I didn’t see the scaup hen today. This time, the buffleheads comprised 3 drakes and 2 hens.

On my way back south, after I thought I had seen everything there was to see, look who else I found on the water above the falls. A little horde of hooded mergansers! There were 4 drakes and 2 hens, but I have no idea if the hen who stuck with us on the lower river through the deep freeze was among them. We sure can hope that she finally found her clan, right?

Here’s a closer look at one of the drakes. Who wouldn’t wait two months on a frozen river for a piece of that?

Meanwhile, I saw a mature bald eagle twice today, but it might have been the same bird. The first one was flying north over the river and escorted by two noisy herring gulls. The second one was about 2 hours later and also flying north, but over the bluff without an escort. There is some excitement that the frequency at which we are seeing two adults and that one time I caught one with a branch might mean a pair is looking to nest in the vicinity. If that came to pass, Milwaukee County would finally join the other 71 counties in the state with active bald eagle nests.

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.

4 thoughts on “Hoodies, Herons, and Scaups. Oh my!

  1. Your wonderful photos and sitings really make my day. I live near Estabrook and you inspire me to hike there and be more observant.

    Liked by 1 person

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