Oh, what a morning!

It was cold, just below freezing at dawn, and not as sunny as forecast, but the critters in Estabrook did not disappoint this morning!

By the time I was heading inland toward the pond, the sky had brightened enough for pictures, and as I was searching for a bird, I heard a rustling above and behind me. It took me a moment to find the source, but when I did, I was treated to this amazing scene.

I did not realize what I was seeing right away, and by the time I did, they had already gone their separate ways. Here’s the Mrs.


Meanwhile, at the pond, I caught a glimpse of our first gosling of the season. Woo Hoo! By the time I grabbed my camera, Mom had already tucked it under her wing, and all that was left to see was this empty eggshell. I bet we’ll see them out on the water tomorrow morning.

Also at the pond, but not on film, sadly, were the first pair of Caspian terns I’ve seen! I got a good look at their distinctive black face with my binoculars, but by the time I grabbed my camera, they had moved on already. Darn. I’ve gotta just mount that thing to my face.

By the pond and elsewhere throughout the park, the blue-gray gnatcatchers were plentiful, and here a male, with his Groucho Marx eyebrows.

And here’s a female without. They both preferred not to look my way.

At the north end, I encountered another special treat, and this time I have the pics! I glimpsed some swallows hunting over the river, and figured they were the tree swallows that we’ve seen before. As I walked up the path however, I happened to glance out over the water and could not believe my eyes.

Best of all, there were three (3!) different species of swallows in that little flock. Here’s the one tree swallow with its bright white throat. The images are all a little fuzzy because I had to shoot through the dense thicket you can see above. I’m amazed they came out as clear as they did.

Here’s the one barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) with its “rusty” “throat and forehead”, which I’ve never seen in Estabrook before, probably because we don’t have any barns.

And here’s one of the northern rough-winged swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis) with its brown back and chest that “fades to white,” and that I didn’t even know existed until this morning! Ha!

Finally, as if that wasn’t enough excitement for one morning, on my way home, a pair of robins and a pair of chickadees all shouting at once caught my attention. I tried to see what they were all shouting about, and look who I found trying to sleep through it all.

A gray morph eastern screech-owl in a hole so small I would have never thought to look in. I wonder if it knows the red morph we saw for a few days last week.

Lastly, at the far north end, the  Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) are blossoming!

Speaking of Dutchman’s breeches, I’ll be wearing them soon, at least if I buy any pants while I’m there, because I’ve accepted a one-year post-doc at the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands to “develop and execute an engineering research project for the ‘Bicycle of the Future’.” I ship out at the end of May, once the UWM semester wraps up, which means I won’t get to visit Estabrook Park every day, but beyond that, I don’t know. I’ll bring my camera, of course, and perhaps I’ll be able to show you some pictures of Dutch wildlife. I hear they have some.

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.

10 thoughts on “Oh, what a morning!

  1. Oh, man! What will we do without our daily dose of beautiful photos from Estabrook Park?? Hope you’ll be able to send photos of birds & other life in the Netherlands … we will definitely miss you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations on your new adventure and an interesting design project. Please share your adventures with us about Dutch wildlife and what it is like to live in the Netherlands. We will all miss your delightful Estabrook posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my gosh, I’m so excited for you! As much as I will miss your Estabrook pics, I look forward to waking up to some from your side of the pond! My hubby and I lived in Switzerland for three years and loved the experience. I wish you all the best!

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  4. Please take pics in the Netherlands! You’ve spoiled us with your wonderful daily wildlife pics! Enjoy your time there! My cousin and his family live in Amsterdam.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your observations and writeups. I saw a red headed woodpecker for the first time at Estabrook on Monday. Your future sounds very exciting. Best wishes to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am happy for you as you have a new adventure looming. But, you are going to be sorely missed by me and by my friends here at The Oaks. We love reading your daily posts! And, I have learned so much about what is going on right out my window (and down the path to the pond).

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I will certainly miss you and your photos. Looking forward to new Dutch photos as well as the Hubbard Park Friday nights with you and Anne.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dear Andrew,

    Congratulations on the post-doc assignment in the Netherlands. Well done! And the assignment itself – developing the bicycle of the future – sounds fascinating. What a wonderful opportunity for you (and Anne I presume). Your beautiful daily photos of life in Estabrook Park have brought me joy every day, and I will miss them. Just as I will miss you, even though I don’t know you. Perhaps you’ll be sending out photos of tulips sometime in the near future.

    With best wishes for your great success in this new chapter of your life,

    Sincerely, Jean Gurney

    Liked by 1 person

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