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

The Estabrook Park Report, Saturday Edition

There were new birds on the pond this morning! Woo hoo.

Besides the usual cast of characters, the nesting pair of Canada geese, the fraternity of bachelor mallards, the pairs of wood ducks, the solo male red-breasted merganser, and the solo pied-billed grebe (who caught a fish again this morning, I honestly don’t know where it puts them all), this morning we were treated to the additional head feather stylings of a female hooded merganser and a non-breeding male hooded merganser. They pretty much stuck together and flitted back and forth across the pond a few times.

The female is in back with black eyes and a yellow bill, the immature male is in front with yellow eyes, a black bill, and a hint of white in his hood that he will show off when he matures. I don’t yet know if this is some sort of “robbing the cradle” situation or more of an “oedipus complex” situation. Perhaps time will tell.

Meanwhile, I heard and spotted, but could not catch on “film” what appears, for all the world, to be a Belted Kingfisher. I hope to see more of him in the coming days.

Finally, I stopped by Chet’s duplex, but there was still no sign of him. I’m no structural engineering, but I can spout enough malarky with authority to play on on the TV, and my bet is that the upper unit leaked into the lower unit, and every female who took the time to look spotted this right away. Better luck next time, Chet.

Lastly, the Glory-of-the-Snow are blossoming

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

The Estabrook Park Report

Grey skies, so the pictures aren’t as pretty as yesterday’s.

  • The pair of Canada Geese are still watching over the pond and incubating their eggs. The male honked at multiple fly-bys, and finally scrambled to chase off another couple that wouldn’t take no for an answer.
  • The Mallard Fraternity is up to 5 members this morning and starting to do some bottom feeding.
  • The male Red-breasted Merganser was back and using a new fishing technique this morning. Instead of just diving, he merely puts his face in the water and trolls forward until he sees something worth diving for, I guess.
  • The Pied-billed Grebe was back and fishing as he’s done before, spending more time underwater than on the surface.
  • The white-haired geezers were also out in force.

I’ve posted a couple of new pictures at

The Estabrook Park Report

  • There was frost on the grass, but the sky was clear, and the breeze was just about nonexistent. The surface of the pond was a mirror.
  • The pair of Canada geese are still there, and I even got a not great shot when the one on the nest stood up, and you can see the tops of some eggs.
  • There are now 3 full pairs of Wood ducks, but based on their antics this morning, they may be still in negotiation. At one point, they along with one mallard and one goose were up on the lawn and chasing each other around. They kept hoping back into the water and back up on the lawn. The only thing missing was the song from the end of a Benny Hill episode. It’s called “Yakety Sax”. Not a lot of people know that.
  • There were no Mergansers this morning, but I did spot the Grebe for just an instant.
  • The Mallards took off just as I walked up, so I don’t have a good count, but at least three flew overhead.
  • A robin started singing its brains out just above me, so I took a picture.
  • Still no sign of Chet at his duplex, but there were a couple of red-bellied woodpeckers on a willow right by the pond. I could only get a picture of one, so can’t tell if they are a pair. The male was calling like crazy, hopped into his new hole, the second one arrived, and they they both flew off.
  • Oh, and yesterday I forgot to mention spotting a single crane flying north over the pond.
  • I’ve posted the best pictures on Flickr at

Another busy morning in Estabrook Park

  • The pair of Canada geese were still there with one on the nest and the other chasing away interlopers.
  • The male Mallards are now up to four. Perhaps they’re starting a fraternity.
  • The two pairs of Wood ducks were still there and a little less skittish.
  • The single male Red-breasted Merganser was there and even rolling onto his side to preen his belly.
  • The single Pied-billed Grebe was there and caught a little fish for breakfast.
  • The Red-bellied Woodpecker, Chet, as nowhere to be found. Maybe he was out looking for breakfast, too.
  • I’ve started posting the best pictures on flickr at
  • and here’s the Grebe with his fish.

Cold but busy morning in Estabrook Park

There was no sign of the Hooded Merganser this morning, maybe he continued north, but the male Red-breasted Merganser was back and busy fishing.

There are now two male and two female Wood ducks that kept themselves busy swimming and flying laps on and over the pond.

The little Pied-Billed Grebe was still there and seemed to spend nearly as much time underwater ason top.

This morning there were also three male Mallards, and the two Canada Geese are still there: one on the nest and the other warding off unwanted intruders. Someone’s dog came within a couple of feet of discovering just how aggressive a goose can be when defending its home turf.

Meanwhile, over by the river, our little buddy, Chet, was still hangin’ in his duplex. I could hear plenty of other Red-Bellied Woodpeckers calling away, but he’s just biding his time, I guess.

New guy at the Estabrook Pond

Besides the Canada Geese, including one who appears to be nesting on the island, mallards, and wood ducks, this morning I spotted a male Red-breasted Merganser who perhaps is taking a breather on his way north. Their breeding grounds are supposed to start just north of here, at least on the world map.

Also, the Red-bellied woodpecker I spotted yesterday or the day before is waiting out the rain in his new duplex this morning.