Back in Estabrook, at least for a day…

Big Bend National Park and Terlingua in West Texas were amazing, and we saw a lot of wild life, but it is also always great to be back home and get a chance to visit Estabrook Park. I ship out back to South Holland tomorrow, so this might be my last post for a while.

Despite the freeze overnight, as anyone who ventured out on the Oak Leaf Trail this morning knows about, today got off to a gorgeous start in Estabrook with mild temps, almost no breeze, and plenty of sunshine. The first critter I saw taking full advantage of the situation was this musk rat just off the shore of the southern island, where we saw a beaver up on the ice back in December.


At the north end, I spotted a couple pairs of common mergansers, a single goldeneye drake, about a dozen geese, and a few dozen mallards. The surprise visitor, however, was this Cooper’s hawk right overhead.


Out on the water and ice, a lone herring gull found itself a good-sized fish, perhaps already frozen


There was no sign of the great horned owl this morning, but up by the pond, the saw-whet owl was in its usual spot and as impossible to photograph as ever.


Finally, I took one last swing by the river and arrived just in time to catch this beaver giving us a swim-by.


That’s it for Estabrook today, so let me leave you with one more picture from Big Bend, a pyrrhuloxia perched in the bushes by Sam Nail’s old ranch, perhaps waiting for us to clear out so it can get a sip of water in peace. Welp, we’re gone now, so there you go, little buddy.


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.

5 thoughts on “Back in Estabrook, at least for a day…

  1. The coloring of the pyrrhuloxia you posed on Jan. 8 is very different. How can this be? Please email me. Youth wants to know!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I believe they are both males, so I suspect the differences are due to different poses,, different light, and the vagaries of color capture and reproduction. The first bird is in an island of shade surrounded by bright light, so his colors are darker and greyer. The second bird is in a scene of low, but consistent light and he is showing us more of his red feathers.


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