Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fear not the Winter

It was overcast throughout the entire day, but I still wanted to get outside for fresh air, exercise, birding, and do some kind of photography. Starting the morning at the Prairie Café over some hot breakfast, Dottie and I prepared our plan for a full day of birding. She recently bought herself a pair of snowshoes so we decided Indian Lake Park's trails would be a good place to break them in. Sylvia was going to join us, but she had to head up to Wausau at the last minute. According to Dottie, Sylvia's Mom might not be doing so well.

Sans our third musketeer, we took a circuitous route along backgrounds in hopes of finding some interesting birds. I was optimistic about our chances of finding a Snowy Owl, but no such luck. We did find a few mixed flocks of Horned Larks, Lapland Longspurs, and Snow Buntings between Middleton and Waunakee. There were also two Rough-legged Hawks; one light and one dark.

Once at Indian Lake Park, we found Eastern Bluebirds, Cedar Waxwings, White-breasted Nuthatches, Black-capped Chickadees, American Goldfinches, House Finches, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, and Downy Woodpecker. We heard a Barred Owl call one time but were unable locate it after a brief search. Because the hilly terrain of the park can be acoustically deceiving, we weren't exactly sure what direction the call had come from.

It looks like Pileated Woodpeckers have been busy! We found several freshly excavated cavities during our hike through the hills. I settled for landscape and scenery photography in black-and-white along the park's extensive trail system. I'm certainly no Ansel Adams, but I do find it enjoyable.

All images © 2009 Mike McDowell

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