Familiar faces, and some new ones, too.

This morning was quite nice, about 10°C warmer than yesterday, with still air and blue sky again, at least for a while. I borrowed a bicycle and rode along the old Farmington Canal to see who I could see.

My first customer was this northern mockingbird in almost the same spot as I saw one last December. If it is the same bird, it sure made me work harder for a picture this time. In any case, the last time anyone reported seeing a mockingbird in Estabrook Park was May 2021, so maybe I’ll get to see one there, too.


I saw swallows flying and tried to ID them in the air, but if you’ve ever tried, you know how fast they are and how tricky it can be. I saw the white bellies and so figured them to be tree swallows, at first. Then a couple perched on an overhead wire, and I couldn’t believe how close one of them let me get, so now I can clearly see that their red faces make them barn swallows. We’ve seen barn swallows in Estabrook, but with more color on their bellies, and we’ve seen barn swallows with white bellies, but those were in South Holland.


I’ve also seen a lot of grey squirrels before, but never one posing quite like this little fella. You?


Another bird that has just recently returned to Estabrook is the eastern kingbird, and I was happy to see a few here as well this morning.


There are a lot of water features along the path, it was once a canal towpath after all, and so you can almost bet on seeing a green heron. I saw two, and here’s the one who posed in the best light.


Once the sun was high enough in the sky to reach down into that little pond, the turtles came out to sun themselves in droves. I’ve never seen so many in one place before. I count 9 in this picture but counted over two dozen in the immediate vicinity.


There were plenty of song sparrows singing up and down the path, just as along the Milwaukee River, and here’s the one that perched in the nicest spot.


Finally, there were also a few house wrens, but there were far more Carolina wrens belting out a different tune.


Lastly, this little cutie pie is a young grey squirrel who I heard had recently been orphaned when a hawk snatched its mom. It was gnawing on solid food this morning, so it does have that going for it, but it was showing no better skill at staying out of sight than its mom apparently did. I suppose that’s how nature works. Right?


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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