Friday, August 18, 2006

Switching to Songbirds...

The Ashton K Pond has dried up and shorebird reports from Nine Spring have been rather sparse. This morning I decided to switch over to songbirds. I birded along the stream corridor of Pheasant Branch Conservancy, where this time of year it looks, smells and feels like a tropical rain forest with plenty of mosquitoes to render truth to such a notion. Still lush and green, a careful observer will note some leaves have already changed to fall colors. Well, September is only a few weeks away...

Most of the birds I saw or heard were residents like Tufted Titmice, Blue Jays, Northern Cardinals and Carolina Wrens and an assortment of woodpeckers. To my delight I found and watched a Northern Waterthrush foraging along the stream rocks. Given their recorded breeding range in Wisconsin I suspect it was an early fall migrant. The only other warbler was a lone Tennessee Warbler in the upper-story near an Eastern Wood-Pewee. Nearby but only heard was a Baltimore Oriole's cheerful song. A statuesque Green Heron at the duckweed pond demonstrated inordinate fishing patience, but I let it be without disturbance.

The perfect moment of the morning came when a Carolina Wren perched about 20 feet away on a branch, threw its head back and belted out its fantastic “tea-kettle” notes. I froze. Though I had my scope and camera along, it happened too fast to document. Instead, I spent those few moments admiring the wren through my binoculars. Without warning, the bird dashed back into the thicket with a few scolding notes and then all the other wrens were quieted.

In another week or two, this place is going to be swarming with wood warblers.

All images © 2006 Mike McDowell

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