Calm returns and life resumes…

It was a mighty fine morning in Estabrook Park. The air was a cool 39°F, but the breeze was pretty light, especially down along the river, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, so the sun was warming things up quickly.

I stopped by the pond and found our newest visitor, the hooded merganser hen, still hanging out with the wood ducks, mallards, and even Canada geese.


This mallard hen gave me quite the look after she came all the way up on the west lawn and I had nothing for her to eat. Sorry, Honey! I’m not that guy.


Meanwhile, down at the river, a great blue heron was taking full advantage of that warm sun.


There was nobody new or especially photogenic this morning at the north end, but when I turned south, I found one of my favorite little cuties, a red squirrel, busily foraging for breakfast. I don’t know what kept them out of sight until this morning, but I saw two today.


A bit beyond the squirrel, I was thrilled to find that the fur we’ve been seeing might have been two raccoons all along, and this morning one of them had its eyes open. Yay! Boy, that sure looks cozy, doesn’t it?


Farther south, the great blue heron was still in the same spot, but the bigger surprise was this American coot foraging at the water’s edge with a pair of mallards. Hot diggity, another unusual bird. With prominent white feathers on the underside of its tail and a much less prominent white beak, it looks just like a cross between the Eurasian coots and the moorhens I see in South Holland.


Anyway, the blue sky makes a welcome background for this busy female red-bellied woodpecker.


And finally, I heard the weird song of this European starling long before I was able to spot it. Happily, it just kept on singing, and my gaze eventually stumbled upon it.


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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