Several more firsts…

Alright. Let’s see if I can remember to include a title and press “publish” on the first try today. In any case, it was wonderfully dark, warm, and humid this morning with not much wind, so the bugs were thick and the little birds; the phoebes, kinglets, and warblers; were after them like crazy.

Here’s a yellow-rumped warbler by the river at the north end finally showing us exactly how they got that name.

As I was trying to get that warbler picture, I spooked a spotted sandpiper, our first of the season, who flew over to the island so that I could capture this fuzzy image. You can just make out it’s orange/yellow beak and eye stripe to distinguish it from the solitary sandpipers that haven’t arrive yet, as far as I know. Plus, it was doing that cool bobbing that spotted sandpipers do.

At the other end of that island, I spotted another pair of blue-winged teals, and here’s the dapper-looking drake. I mentioned it was dark out, right?

On the other island, the southern one, the great horned owl was less hidden than usual, perhaps to enjoy the nice warm air.

Back on the mainland, there must have been a northern flicker meet-and-greet because after I spotted this one, a male by the look of his mustache, I watched as at least 4 pairs took off across the river, two by two, from a big cottonwood tree while all flashing their distinctive white rumps.

At the pond, I saw my first turtle of the season, this shy red-eared slider.

Meanwhile, this little cutie was trying to get some shuteye.

On my way back south, I spotted this sparrow hopping in the grass and figured it was an American tree sparrow, which we’ve seen before, but the beak color didn’t look right, and that’s because it’s a field sparrow (Spizella pusilla) instead, which is an absolute first for me. Woo hoo!

Finally, I found another new spring flower up, these glories-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa forbesii) in front of the maintenance building. Yay!

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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