Monday, August 15, 2011
A visit to a southern Wisconsin woods during mid August is rich with sublimity and sensations of reminiscence. The vegetation remains green and lush, but changes are taking place. There's something unique about the fragrant air; a mix of late summer wildflowers and traces of moist decay. Freshly fallen cottonwood leaves are starting to gather along the trail. Even the sky seems bluer this time of year. All of this, plus the cooling temperatures, are some of the most enjoyable signs of the impending fall and still reminds me of going back to school. But now my classroom is outside and I enjoy teaching others the subtleties of confusing fall warbler identification.
Along with serenading crickets and cicadas, Eastern Wood-Pewees are the most visual and vocally obvious birds of the creek corridor. However, the cool weather from the north brought a few migrant songbirds with it. At Pheasant Branch Conservancy on Sunday I found a Canada Warbler and Black-and-white Warbler, neither of which had given up on singing just yet. Most other birds I encountered during my outing belonged to species found throughout summer at Pheasant Branch.
Coming around a corner, I found a gorgeous young Great Blue Heron regally perched in the morning sunlight. It remained motionless for two exposures before flying up the corridor for a more secluded spot. If I'd had more time I would have oriented the camera portrait-wise so not to clip off its feet, but I'm content with the photograph I got!
All images © 2011 Mike McDowell