Once again reality was not nearly as soggy as the forecast, and it was not a bad morning for seeing the sights in Estabrook Park. Things are starting to quiet down on the river, and I didn’t see a single common merganser today. There was still one pair of buffleheads, one pair of hooded mergansers, and a few goldeneyes, however, and here’s one of the immature males swimming all by his lonesome.

As I was searching the water at the north end, my new buddy came by to do the same. When I first spotted it soaring in, I tried to duck behind a tree, but I haven’t yet learned a way to predict if and where they might land, so when it did land, it was nearly overhead. I really didn’t want to spook it away, so I did the only thing I could think of at the time and just laid down on the wet grass, which did the trick. I’m sure it saw me, but it must have figured anyone fool enough to lay down on the wet grass like that could not possibly be a threat.

After a while, my neck was starting to cramp from trying to take pictures on my side, so I just rolled onto my back and propped my camera on my belly. Eventually, I began to wonder how long it was gonna stay there and how long I was gonna have to lay there. Luckily for me, not everyone was as excited to have an eagle perched nearby as I was, and this bold little red-winged blackbird came to my rescue.

This is the last shot I got before the eagle decided it had had just about enough of that pesky little bird, and it headed back north.

But before it went, however, it really showed off the jewelry it is sporting on its left ankle. I read that uncolored, metal bands are “federally regulated … with a unique 9 digit number to identify individuals.” Unfortunately, I can read only 4 of the 9 digits, “9-445”, so that’s as far as we can go for now. I have never seen one of those in the wild before.

On my way back south, a trio of golden-crowned kinglets teased me as they danced from limb to limb, and this was the best picture I could get.

At the pond, the pair of geese were still there, but not nesting yet. Instead, the prettiest picture came from one lone, red-breasted merganser drake who seemed quite sleepy, and only a few of my pictures catch him with his eyes open.

There were also plenty of male red-winged blackbirds around, and these two got into such a tussle that it took them to the ground. That’s also something I have never seen before.

Lastly, it appears that the recent rain and warm weather has already got some mushrooms sprouting. Does anyone know what kind these are?

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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