Monday, May 12, 2008

Sunday Evening Birding

Scarlet Tanager (male)

Arriving home from the Horicon Marsh Birding Festival yesterday, I read a report on the Wisconsin Birding Network that several Black-throated Blue Warblers were found at Pheasant Branch Conservancy. This is probably the warbler I covet the most. I called Dottie and Sylvia, but had to leave each of them a message about the birds at the stream corridor. Off I went!

Within minutes of arriving, I was able to find a beautiful singing male Black-throated Blue, but the bird disappeared before I could get my digiscoping gear setup. About 20 minutes later Dottie’s husband Mark showed up and we continued to bird the east section of the corridor trail hoping to relocate the elusive warbler. Eventually Dottie, Sylvia and a few other birders joined in the search, but it was beginning to look like the others wouldn’t get a glimpse of the bird.

Scarlet Tanager (female)

Birding the west trail, we found a pair of Scarlet Tanagers that made very cooperative photographic subjects. We also found a Magnolia Warbler, a few American Redstarts and a gorgeous Bay-breasted Warbler. After a while, it seemed like we were finding the same birds over and over, so we went back to the east trail. I was getting tired of lugging my spotting scope and tripod around, so I stashed it in my car before giving the Black-throated Blue a final search effort.

I explored the upper trail while the rest of the group was just below on the main trail. Within minutes, I could hear excited birders celebrating. I made a mad dash across the stream, hopping over a line of partially submerged rocks. Sure enough, the Black-throated Blue Warbler reappeared for the group. I followed it up to a side trail where we enjoyed watching it forage from only 20 feet away in great light. It would have been an outstanding digiscoping opportunity, but I’ll settle for the tanager images this time!

Location: Pheasant Branch
Observation date: 5/11/08
Number of species: 54

Wood Duck
Turkey Vulture
Cooper's Hawk
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Barred Owl
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Least Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
Golden-winged Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Palm Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Waterthrush
Common Yellowthroat
Scarlet Tanager
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch

Scarlet Tanager images © 2008 Mike McDowell

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