Long-time readers may recall my trip to Kohler-Andrae State Park last summer, when I was thrilled to show you a couple of sandhill cranes and a colt. Well, the critters up there must have heard about all the sightings we’ve been having since then here in Estabrook because they sure have come out in droves this summer!
On my first excursion, Sunday afternoon, I finally managed to capture a portrait of several marsh wrens (Cistothorus palustris), whom I don’t believe we have in Estabrook, and who had completely evaded me last summer.
They even obliged me with a couple of their classic reed and cattail poses. Sweet.
The next morning, I got out before sunrise and ended up losing track of all the deer I encountered, but here’s one handsome buck and two different does with their fawns.
If you are questioning how I can assert that they are different does, I’ll just say, “look a little closer” and leave it at that. If you just like pretty pictures, maybe don’t look too close.
At one point on my walk, I came across an actual wildlife traffic jam as a pair of deer crossed the frame between a turkey in the foreground and a pair of cranes in the background. It was crazy!
The other huge sighting came this morning when I finally managed to capture a few images of some of the many American white pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), whom we’d seen flying overhead, and who are on the extreme eastern edge of the migratory range. For perspective, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology reports that they are “one of our largest flying birds: considerably larger than a Bald Eagle; smaller than a California Condor.” They weigh from 10 to 20 lb and have wingspans of 8 to 9.5 ft!
We’d seen them fly over several times, but I don’t tend to carry my camera with me all day, so it sure was great when the birds and my camera got their acts together.
This morning, as I checked the boardwalk through the marsh from the campground to the Black River, I could hear a bunch of splish-splashing through the reeds but couldn’t see anything.
When I finally stood on top of a bench, I could just see them busily fishing with their huge bills in the lily pads on the river, but only through the thick reeds. That’s when I had the potentially-problematic idea to run back to camp to borrow my father-in-law’s folding ladder.
Good thing it was just 6 am because I bet that sight would have raised some eyebrows. Anyway, with Anne helping hold it steady, I could finally see over the reeds from the top rung, and I didn’t even fall off the ladder into the marsh, so here we are. What a treat to see, eh? And thanks to Don and Anne for their help!
There were also plenty of song sparrows, red-winged blackbirds, goldfinch, cedar waxwings, eastern kingbirds, blue jays, green herons, crows, and monarch butterflies, all of whom we’ve already seen plenty in Estabrook, so I’ll spare you from those images this time.
Instead, I am thrilled to finally show you pictures of an eastern bluebird, whom we did see last summer in Estabrook, but who seem to be missing this summer. I’m just happy to see them wherever they want to be.
Finally, I believe I’ve spotted my first American redstart at long last, but see my comment above about cameras, so that’ll give me something to work on when I go back later this week. Wish me luck!