Monday, April 16, 2012

Mid-April Warbler Report!

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Maybe it's because the weather was so uncharacteristically warm during March, but to me it feels like it’s taking warblers forever to get to southern Wisconsin this spring. Well, there are Louisiana Waterthrushes at Baxter’s Hollow (to the north) and Yellow-throated Warblers at Wyalusing (to the west), but so far all I have seen are Yellow-rumped Warblers and just a single Pine Warbler. When looking back at mid-April in eBird for warbler species seen up to April 15th, here’s how previous years have compared:

Returning Warblers up to April 15th at Pheasant Branch:

2012: Pine Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler

2011: Louisiana Waterthrush, Northern Waterthrush, Black-and-white Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Northern Parula, Pine Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler

2010: Tennessee Warbler, Pine Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler

2009: Pine Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warber

2008: Louisiana Waterthrush, Yellow-rumped Warbler

2007: Yellow-rumped Warbler

Considering this data, it appears 2011 was a warbler anomaly and that maybe my present thoughts of 2012 are biased from my memory of last spring. In comparison, 2012 appears to be pretty normal. This type of seasonal bias has happened to me before with White-throated Sparrows when the previous year got me used to seeing high numbers of them. When numbers returned to normal the following year, my initial impression was that something bad must have happened to the sparrows because they had significantly decreased in numbers. But the truth was that there was an unusually high number of them the previous year at Pheasant Branch Conservancy.

Lots of Violets along the creek corridor path!

Tom Prestby recently wrote an excellent summary of the early returning migratory birds during March and how the weather played a role. Bird species that winter in the southern United States were able to take advantage of the warmer weather patterns, but neotropical migratory birds had no idea what was going up here weather-wise and are pretty much right on schedule.

Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Apr 15, 2012 7:15 AM - 9:15 AM
53 species

Canada Goose 
Wood Duck 
Blue-winged Teal 
Green-winged Teal 
Horned Grebe 
Double-crested Cormorant 
Great Blue Heron 
Red-tailed Hawk 
American Kestrel 
American Coot 
Spotted Sandpiper 
Ring-billed Gull 
Mourning Dove 
Great Horned Owl 
Belted Kingfisher 
Red-bellied Woodpecker 
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 
Downy Woodpecker 
Hairy Woodpecker 
Northern Flicker 
Eastern Phoebe 
Blue Jay 
American Crow 
Tree Swallow 
Barn Swallow 
Black-capped Chickadee 
Tufted Titmouse 
White-breasted Nuthatch 
Brown Creeper 
House Wren 
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 
Hermit Thrush 
American Robin 
Brown Thrasher 
European Starling 
Yellow-rumped Warbler 
Chipping Sparrow 
Savannah Sparrow 
Song Sparrow 
Swamp Sparrow 
White-throated Sparrow 
Dark-eyed Junco 
Northern Cardinal 
Red-winged Blackbird 
Eastern Meadowlark 
Common Grackle 
Brown-headed Cowbird 
Purple Finch 
House Finch 
American Goldfinch 
House Sparrow 

All images © 2012 Mike McDowell

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