Friday, December 15, 2006

December Birding

This morning I walked the entire length of the Pheasant Branch stream corridor and also the prairie at the north end of the conservancy. I found 30 bird species. The biggest surprise was a Great Blue Heron just south of the big springs. I have found over-wintering Great Blue Herons in Dane County before, but this is the first one I’ve seen at the conservancy in December. Luckily for the heron the springs doesn’t freeze and there are plenty of fish, so I’m not worried for it.

I found 3 Great Horned Owls but no Barred Owls. Two owls were together and most likely the same pair that’s been present at the south stream corridor for the past several years. I was able to get some nice pictures of their young from last spring. I hit the jackpot for songbirds at the dead-end path on the north stream corridor...there were White-throated Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, Winter Wren, juncos, nuthatches, cardinals and more:

Canada Goose
American Black Duck
Great Blue Heron
Red-tailed Hawk
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Winter Wren
American Robin
European Starling
American Tree Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Great Horned Owl image © 2006 Mike McDowell

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