Cold and blustery morning at Estabrook Park, but no snow!

Nobody new on the pond this morning. The canada geese pair, bachelor mallards, wood duck pairs, red-breasted merganser, and little pied-billed grebe were all there. The hooded merganser and pair of blue-winged teals were nowhere to be seen. There were plenty of birds in the branches and bushes, but it was far too cold for me to sit still long enough to catch one.

After checking in on Chet’s empty duplex, I headed down to the river to try to get out of the wind. I got really close to a belted kingfisher who didn’t notice me until I tried to pull out my camera. Luckily, a mature herring gull and the juvenile he bullied away were too interested in the fish on the opposite bank to pay any attention to me.

But, meh. You’ve seen pictures of seagulls before, so here’s one from yesterday afternoon when both geese were off the nest again and having an extended and animated conversation about something. At least I saw the operation from the start and there was no obvious instigating event. It just seemed that the one on the nest decided it was a good time to take a break. I still couldn’t see eggs in the nest, but I have a hope they are really there and just too low for me to see.

As always, I try to curate the best of my pictures on flickr at

Easter at Estabrook Park, part two (NSFW)

Oh yeah! I completely forgot to mention that I spotted the amazing activity pictured below on the lawn sloping down to the pond this morning …

(image from

At first, I thought it was just a weird version of those gummy-worm-type fishing lures (pictured below) because I was already bending down to pick up a couple of fish hooks, which seem like bad things for little webbed feet to be walking on, eh?

image from somewhere on the interwebs

As soon as I touched “it”, however, “it” sprang to life, separated into two, and each half quickly retracted back into its own hole. I definitely did not have time to get a picture of it, I am truly sad to report, but I did find this spitting image of the one seared into my brain online at, which also had these fascinating tidbits to report:

“Soil biologists believe that earthworms are the most abundant animal biomass in most terrestrial ecosystems, heavier per hectare than grazing mammals or insects.”
“After their bisexual exchange each Lob worm will lay about five eggs,” but the ones I saw were not necessarily “Lob worms”.

Happy Easter!

Easter at Estabrook Park

No snow, yet, so just a cool, damp, and quiet morning in the park.

The usual suspects were on the pond: the pair of canada geese, the little pied-billed grebe, the red-breasted merganser was back but the hooded merganser was gone. The pair of blue-winged teals and a few wood ducks were still there. The three amigos, the male mallards were there, but there was no sign of the female from yesterday.

Golden-crowned kinglets were flitting around in the bushes, just daring my to try to take their picture, and a yellow-colored warbler sang the song that never ends from the top of a tree against a cloudy grey sky. Also, a small bird of prey with a narrow tail glided way over head.

I had set out as early as I thought there was enough light for my camera in hopes of catching a glimpse of the easter bunny, but couldn’t find a one. Eagle-eye Anne texted me, when I was checking out Chet’s empty duplex, to say she saw some rabbits over on the Oakleaf Trial, which abuts the park, but by the time I got there, they must have eaten their fill.

Instead, the best picture today are of the flora. The bloodroots are just starting to open

And yesterday, when the sun was shining, I spotted the first Trout Lily

Image preview

As always, I post what seem to be the best of my pictures on flickr at

Estabrook Park, calm before the storm

Busy, busy morning on the pond, despite the frost on the grass! Maybe everyone’s trying to fill up and find a good place to wait out the snow forecast for tomorrow.

First up, the new guests. I had heard reports that blue-winged teals had been spotted, but I haven’t had the pleasure myself until this morning.

Also, the male hooded merganser was back, in place of the male red-breasted merganser who’d been around regularly for weeks. Along with the canada geese pair, mallard bachelors (plus a new female with a lot to say), wood duck pairs, and still the little pied-billed grebe, there were over a dozen birds from 6 species on the 1-acre pond this morning!

And that’s not all. The male red-winged blackbird finally posed for a picture, as did a female purple finch, and I spotted and got a not bad picture of a male northern flicker.

He would have looked magnificent if the sun had been out, and man oh man, they are shy.

Meanwhile, over by the river, there was no sign of Chet at his duplex. I just don’t know what’s up with that guy.

As always, I try to curate the best of my pictures on flickr at

Estabrook Park

Despite the cold, it was like “old home week” at the pond this morning with the pair of canada geese, the bachelor mallards, the wood ducks, and the pied-billed grebe. Plus the male red-breasted merganser was back along with one female mallard. A male belted kingfisher stopped by, but went away hungry.

Further into the park, towards the river, I spotted a pair of Eastern phoebe’s demonstrating their flycatching prowess to each other, a golden crowned kinglet, and a pair of american goldfinches feasting on the branch of a tamarack tree just starting to leaf out.

Finally, Chet was back in the lower unit again, but he had no visitors that I saw this morning.

As always, I try to curate the best pictures on flickr at

Thirsty Thursday at Estabrook Park

It was a cold and blustery morning at the park, and the canada geese, mallards, wood ducks, and grebe were all going about their usual routine.

With nothing new on the water, and upon the suggestion of new reader Donna Miller, I focused on the bushes and finally managed to catch a couple of still images of the tiny birds flitting around in  there.

The better shot is of a ruby-crowned kinglet:

The worse shot, barely good enough for identification, is of a yellow-rumped warbler, I believe. I expected it to be a golden-crowned kinglet, but note the yellow patches at front of wings as well as the crown.

There was no sign of activity at Chet’s duplex. 🙁

As always, I try to curate the best pictures on flickr at

Hump Day at Estabrook Park

Big day at the park this morning, but nothing too exciting at the pond:

  1. It was very foggy and very still.
  2. The mergansers appear to have all moved on.
  3. The pair of canada geese might still have eggs in the nest after all.
  4. The 3 pairs of wood ducks and 3 mallard bachelors are still hanging around.
  5. The pied-billed grebe and the belted kingfisher both caught fish this morning.
  6. The Narcissus blossoms are finally opening, and the daffodils are right behind them.

The really big news, however, is from further west, along the Milwaukee River, and it is very exciting!


Just as I had nearly given up all hope, I spotted a little head and beak poking out of the lower level.He must have really expanded the inside, because he had receded completely out of sight when SHE SHOWED UP TO LOOK INSIDE!She hung out for a minute or so, and then she flew off. Soon after, he came out to make a couple of calls before also flying off IN THE SAME DIRECTION!That’s all we know at this point, but I will definitely keep you posted as further developments develop further!

Note his full head of red feathers, left and right, and her patch of white feathers on top, in the middle.

As always, I try to curate the best pictures on flickr at

The Estabrook Park Report, Tuesday Edition

It started out slow, with just a couple of mallards and the pair of geese, and I was just about to move on, when a couple with an energetic dog off its leash came by. The dog may a beeline for the shore and immediately attracted the attention of the goose. Soon after, though, it spooked a couple pairs of wood ducks that I am almost positive were roosting on a tree branch over the pond, based on the trajectory they took across the pond. Man, that would have been an awesome shot! I’ll have to check for that first thing from now on.

After all that excitement, I spotted the pied-billed grebe, fishing as always.
At last, the belted kingfisher showed up, and she must finally have been hungry enough to hang around a bit. She flew between a few trees before diving into the water for breakfast. Here’s a picture of her, from across the pond, on a branch with a fish in her beak just before she popped it into her gullet. Woo Hoo!

As always, I try to curate the best pictures on flickr at

Monday, Monday in Estabrook Park

It as a slow Monday morning at the pond. Just the pair of canada geese, 3 male mallards, and a pair of wood ducks on the water. The red-winged blackbird continued to evade a good photo op, but I did catch a female downy woodpecker.

The better show was yesterday afternoon when the sun came out. Long-time subscriber, Carolyn Bucior, alerted me to the presence of turtles sunning themselves, and by the time I got there, I found one by itself on one log and three lined up on another. In the close-up below, you can see the red “ear” that helps identify the red-eared slider.

Also, the little pied-billed grebe seemed to be drying himself out to get ready for a cool night.

As always, I try to curate the best pictures on flickr at

If it’s Sunday, it’s The Estabrook Park Report

There was a lot of action this morning, but I don’t have much to show for it. Both Canada geese were off the pond honking at some other geese when I arrived. The exposed nest looked empty, but I can’t say for sure. The nesting pair did return, and one of them did climb back up on the nest after some more extended honking between them.

The belted kingfisher was back a couple of times, but never settled down long enough for me to get a shot. A red-winged blackbird, which are usually quite bold, in my experience, was quite shy this morning. There is now a big school of carp, some of whom are orange, that I see regularly. I’ve seen one frog in the water, and heard there is also a snapping turtle, which I have not yet seen.

My one okay picture is of a red-tailed hawk causing a bunch of ducks make about as much noise as the geese usually do. They quieted right down as soon as he flew off.

As always, I try to curate the best pictures on flickr at