A sunny September Saturday in South Holland

After a bit of a cold snap last weekend, the weather is back to near perfect here in South Holland, with temps in the 70s, clear skies, and a light breeze. Plus, the sun already doesn’t rise until almost 7am, so I even got to sleep in a bit this morning.

Once again, the birds on the water, which I mistook for mallards at first glance, turned out not to be mallards. This time, they were gadwalls, nearly a dozen of them, and here’s a drake and hen taking a break from breakfast together. We’ve seen both gadwall drakes and hens in Estabrook Park, but I haven’t seen them here before, and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen them together until now. Ta da!

Gadwall (Mareca strepera) drake and hen

This pretty lapwing was oddly tolerant this morning. They haven’t let me get this close since back in June.

Northern lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

I could have sworn that I’ve already mentioned that there are Canada geese here, but I can’t find when I did, so today I finally have photographic evidence. It appears they have gotten here both on their own and with some help, but it was not clear into which category this one falls, and it would not say.

Canada goose (Branta canadensis)

Farther afield, here’s another buzzard, surveying the situation from eye level.

common buzzard (Buteo buteo)

As I was trying to get a presentable picture of the buzzard, I heard big whooshing noises, and I looked up to find that they were made by these huge mute swans cruising overhead at just a couple dozen feet. I read that “the mute swan is one of the heaviest flying birds. In several studies from Great Britain, males (known as cobs) were found to average from about 10.6 to 11.87 kg (23.4 to 26.2 lb), with a weight range of 9.2–14.3 kg (20–32 lb).”

mute swan (Cygnus olor)

Near the other end of the size spectrum, this great tit was busy gleaning seeds from an old blossom.

great tit (Parus major)

Finally, there are still butterflies around, and here’s another map, …

Map butterfly (Araschnia levana)

and here’s another speckled wood.

Speckled wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria)

Let’s see if the weather holds through tomorrow morning. That sure would be nice.

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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