Monday, May 14, 2012

The Beauty of Baxter's Hollow

"Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life."

~ Rachel Carson

 Blue-winged Warbler 

Today I visited one of my most cherished natural areas in Wisconsin, Baxter's Hollow in the Baraboo Hills. The hollow's wild jewels come in many sizes, forms, and colors and much can be seen and heard just by walking the narrow road that runs alongside of Otter Creek. A solitary excursion in the woods under a clear blue sky; I drank in the vivid scenery and birdsong that punctuated the babbling creek.

Yellow Lady's Slippers

I wonder if the people who were driving up and down the road in search of their quarry noticed the stunning Yellow Lady Slippers or the regal Giant Swallowtails absorbing the sun's warmth. When approached, they told me they heard the diminutive song of a Cerulean Warbler, so each according to his or her intent and pace.

Giant Swallowtail

Blue-winged and American Redstarts were the most vocal warblers, but I detected few other woodland voices, including the Cerulean's. However, notably absent were Hooded and Canada Warblers, but I wonder if I only missed them. Three empidonax flycatchers were present; Least, Acadian, and Alder. There were also singing Scarlet Tanagers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings, Yellow-throated Vireos, and a few Pileated Woodpeckers calling in the distance.

American Redstart

 All images © 2012 Mike McDowell