A late summer visit to the prairie offers dazzling fields covered in various goldenrods (Stiff, Showy, Common) and asters (New England, Silky, Calico, Frost). Because the Pheasant Branch Conservancy creek corridor is presently a bit noisy because due to the various trail improvement and bank stabilization projects, Sylvia suggested that we give Owen Conservation Park a chance this weekend. A wonderful idea!
We visited Owen Park Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Highlights included a family of RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS perched atop a few dead trees near the ponds. The corner was a veritable haven for woodpeckers. At one point we counted 25 NORTHERN FLICKERS, a few HAIRY WOODPECKERS, DOWNY, RED-BELLIED, and a single YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER. Another pleasant surprise was finding a GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH quietly foraging in the woods at the bottom of the hill. As has been the case for the past month, warblers were somewhat scarce. Birds may not be singing as much as they do in spring, but the combined choruses of crickets and grasshoppers provided calming natural music.
Black-horned Tree Cricket (female)
Location: Owen Conservation Park, Madison
Observation date: 9/18/09 – 9/20/09
Number of species: 53
Great Blue Heron
Great Horned Owl
Black-throated Green Warbler
All images © 2009 Mike McDowell