The sun returns at last…

I was thrilled to see a clear sky when dawn approached this morning, so I hustled into Estabrook Park to see if the sun would bring out anyone new. There was more activity at the pond than there has been in a few days with a green heron, a couple of wood ducks, and a few mallards, but the funnest bird was this male belted kingfisher whom I watched make several unsuccessful diving attempts for fish from the tree over the west lawn.


As I was watching the kingfisher, in hopes that I might catch him as he caught a fish, I spotted this fun little scene steaming west towards shore.


I had to shoot through some brush to get the picture above, so it’s pretty fuzzy, but I didn’t have to wait long before the little cutie headed back east to collect another bunch of leaves. Say “hi” to the muskrat who appears to have taken up residence in the pond.


From the pond, I headed back to the river and continued north where I found a pair of house wrens who appeared to be working on a nest. I read that “the male wren finds dry sticks, which he adds to the nest.”


So perhaps this is the female singing her encouragement.


Speaking of females, it took me a moment to recognize this little darling as a female American redstart.


As I was trying to get good pictures of the redstart, look who came cruising down the river. After a bit of a slow start, the goslings are really coming on strong.


Back on shore, I found another pair, this time of blue-gray gnatcatchers. Here’s the female,…


and here’s the male, with his iconic angry Groucho Marx eyebrows.


I was surprised to read that hermit thrushes, of whom I’ve been seeing so many this spring, are now considered “rare” because they’ve all moved north to their breeding grounds, and in their place, we now have Swainson’s thrushes, which look remarkably similar.


Back at the south end, it was a special treat to catch this brown thrasher at eye level and in the sun.


Speaking of “in the sun” here’s a Baltimore oriole looking pretty against a nice blue sky.


Finally, here’s a shaggy ink cap, lawyer’s wig, or shaggy mane mushroom (Coprinus comatus), as far as I know, and I read that “the young mushrooms, before the gills start to turn black, are a choice edible mushroom, but should be prepared soon after being collected as the black areas quickly turn bitter.” Plus, don’t eat them based solely on my identification! I’m no mycologist!


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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