It's hard to believe at this time of year fall bird migration has already been underway for a few weeks. Genetically honed and adapted to Earth's natural cycles, shorebirds like the Least Sandpiper began leaving their Canadian breeding territories in late June, just after the summer solstice. I first noticed a few southbound shorebirds last week (Least and Solitary Sandpipers). Not far from my apartment, there's a drainage pond with good shorebird habitat where I can view and photograph these spectacular migratory birds. Though they've come far already, they still have a long way to go.
Tall St. John's Wort
Given the rather uncomfortable hot and humid weather this week, I probably won't spend much time outside. Before it got to warm yesterday morning, I went birding at Pheasant Branch Conservancy via bicycle and found 67 species (mostly by ear). The prairie has reached its summer apex and is adorned with wildflowers like Bergamot, Tall St. John's Wort, False Sunflower, and Purple Cone Flower. It's a beautiful sight, I just wish it wasn't so hot out!
There are still Yellow Warblers and American Redstarts singing, but their songs have become slightly less emphatic. I noticed that an Indigo Bunting was singing only fragments of his full song. I saw Eastern Kingbirds and Baltimore Orioles feeding their recently fledged young. Dickcissels are still singing along Deming Way, creating a lovely grassland rhythm from Song Sparrows, Savannah Sparows, and Eastern Meadowlarks.
"As a species, we are most animated when our days and nights on Earth are touched by the natural world. We can find immeasurable joy in the birth of a child, a great work of art, or falling in love. But all of life is rooted in nature, and a separation from that wider world desensitizes and diminishes our bodies and spirits. Reconnecting to nature, nearby and far, opens new doors to health, creativity, and wonder. It's never too late."
Richard Louv - The Nature Principle
Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Jul 17, 2011 8:00 AM - 9:45 AM
Great Blue Heron
Great Crested Flycatcher
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
All images © 2011 Mike McDowell