There’s a party going on right here.

The forecast for this morning was just too good to pass up, with temps in the 20s, to firm up all the mud, crystal blue skies, and light winds, so I squeezed in a trip to Estabrook before school, and the 6:15am sunrise sure helped.

Right off the bat, at the far south end, I was surprised to find the blue heron again so soon. The look on its face suggests that it was not as thrilled to be there this morning as I was.

Farther north, by the abandoned bridge abutment, and once the sun started reaching down into the valley, a group of grackles were soaking it up, and these three kindly perched close enough together to make a single presentable image.

Above the falls, the water was as crowded as yesterday, if not more, and here are three drakes in a row: a common merganser, a greater scaup, and a hooded merganser, from left to right.

Here’s a closeup of the scaup on that pretty water.

Here’s a common goldeneye pair that might as well be on golden pond!

And here’s a common merganser hen who caught herself a nice little fish, her girlfriend who just wants to help, and a pair of mallards looking on in bemusement.

Between the islands, there were even more birds, if you can believe it, and this panorama is chock full ‘o goldeneyes, common mergansers, and hooded mergansers.

Here are a bunch of goldeneye drakes trying to impress a hen.

And here’s a little train of bufflehead drakes following one hen while a second hen looks on.

And that’s not even counting the dozens of Canada geese, mallards, and even a pair of crows cawing from the northern island. The place really had a carnival atmosphere this morning.

Meanwhile, over by the pond, a trio of white throated sparrows stopped by, and this one was a tad too slow to completely evade my camera.

Finally, I counted four red-winged blackbirds around the pond, so they all couldn’t have the prime spot atop the tree at the center of the island, so this one had no choice but to let us have a closeup.

Then I had to hustle off to campus, but today is so nice, I think I’m gonna go give Estabrook a second look when I get home.

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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