You will not believe the afternoon I had

Let’s start with the easy stuff. The six goslings on the pond are doing just fine, and here they are on a cruise with Mom and Dad, now that the weather has improved a bit.

Although there may be some tension brewing between the siblings, but what else is new, right moms?

Meanwhile, on the river, a new batch of goslings appears to be fresh out of the nest. Woo Hoo!

Back on shore, the infamous prairie warbler is still kicking around and drawing a crowd. I pointed out stairway three to a woman who heard from a guy at the pond that he had just seen it there. I don’t know if she ever found it, but when I got back from counting swallows and sandpipers on the river, I found it about 50 yards south of the stairway. It let me try to follow it around with my camera for a while as it jumped from branch to branch in the treetops, and then it must have gotten tired of that game so it came down closer to the ground and began to sing a song instead. Thanks, little buddy!

Just south of the prairie warbler, I came across this little cutie, and that “uniform bright cinnamon brown above” and faint spots that fade out mid-chest means I can finally be sure it’s not a hermit thrush or a Swainson’s thrush, and we’ve got ourselves an honest-to-goodness veery (Catharus fuscescens) at last, just returned all the way from “central and southern Brazil.” Welcome back, Sweetie!

Farther south and back out on the water, a pair of blue-winged teals were rustling up some afternoon victuals, and when they spotted me, the drake lingered for a second while the hen snuck out of sight. That’s some mighty-fine strategery, right there.

Then the mammals, who we usually only get to see once a week or so, really kicked it into high gear. They started off small, and here’s an eastern chipmunk who acted as if I surely couldn’t see it now.

Then they started to grow, and here’s an eastern cottontail who knew that I knew that it knew I was there, but it was taking a “wait and see” approach before scampering into the brush.

Next, I was stunned to find a coyote out in the middle of the day, but there was something on the ground up there that it did not want to abandon.

But before I could go see what the coyote was so attracted to, I came across this beauty just starting to grow his antlers and appearing absolutely fascinated to learn what I might be. It cautiously approached me more than once, even coming completely out of the brush for a closer look, and each time I deployed my best “sit down and don’t move a muscle” tactic.

But wait, there’s more. Here’s his buddy, or maybe his brother, who has just a little more antler already, but wasn’t quite so bold.

And if you can even believe it, there were three of them, and the third one was the shyest of all. That’s as close as he dared come.

By now, after all these years, I’ve already had the pleasure of a pretty close facsimile to each one of these experiences before, from time to time, but to have them all occur on a single afternoon? Be still my heart! I sure am going to miss these visits while I’m gone.

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.

3 thoughts on “You will not believe the afternoon I had

  1. What a day indeed! The photos are stunning. I have a squirrel that is splotchy with white and grey hanging out–he has a lot of character. I wish I could come close to getting as good of photos of him.

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  2. First, thanks for the reminder about “strategy.” And I appreciate your “sit down and don’t move a muscle” tactic.

    Liked by 1 person

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