Wide-eyed for a white-eyed

There was no fog, the sky was clear, and the air was nearly still, so it was a perfect morning for taking pictures in Estabrook Park. With nothing to block the sun, the light came nice and early, and I crossed Wilson Drive at 5:35am in hopes of beating the crowds.

First off, I was thrilled to find that the wild turkey from yesterday is still in the park and has moved down the bluff and a bit north.


The toads have begun singing along the river, but the crèche of seventeen goslings was at the spot on the river where I usually stop before heading up to the pond, so I skirted around them and went straight up the bluff instead. Things were quiet at the pond with just the regulars up and about; the family of Canada geese, a few wood ducks, and a couple of mallards; so I went back to the river.

At the north end, I didn’t see anybody new or especially photogenic on the water, but I heard an unusual song in the trees along the shore, and I could barely believe my eyes when I found the singer. It was a white-eyed vireo (Vireo griseus), and we are just beyond the north end of their usual range, so they are considered rare here. How’s that for a treat!


On my way back south along the top of the bluff, I spotted my first great crested flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus) of the season, …


our first rose-breasted grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) for this year, …


and only the second or third chestnut-sided warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica) I believe I’ve ever seen.


Back at the pond, there was another unusual call, and this one was being made by the very first orchard oriole (Icterus spurius) I’ve ever seen.


Also at the north end of the pond was this female Baltimore oriole, with a dark but not black head, working on a nest. I usually only see the nests in the fall, when the leaves are off the trees again, but this one is in a dead tree, so maybe we’ll get to see it all summer. One can hope, right?


Nearby was a male Baltimore oriole, with a jet-black head, striking the best pose we’ve seen from one so far this year.


Back down at the river, I finally caught a common yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) out in the open, if pretty far away.


Lastly, this chipmunk was in no hurry to give up the nice little spot in the sun it had found for itself.


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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