Monday, June 18, 2012

Weekend Birding Results!

The oak savanna at the Dane County parcel of Pheasant Branch Conservancy was bustling with bird activity this weekend; it's a veritable outdoor aviary. Many young birds have fledged and their parents are busy feeding them. Male birds continue to defend territories with song and aggressively chase intruders away from their turf.

Indigo Bunting

As we roll into summer, adult birds are beginning to lose some of their spring splendor with worn plumage, but their colors are still pretty dramatic. The songs of Indigo Buntings and Orchard Orioles sounded intact, but Baltimore Oriole voices seemed fragmented and a little less energetic.

Fledged Orchard Oriole

This young Orchard Oriole was enjoying a banquet of crickets and grasshoppers delivered by mom (below). Follow this link for short clip of the feeding action!

Orchard Oriole (female)

Baltimore Oriole

Cedar Waxwing

All of the above bird photographs were digiscoped from one trail location at the conservancy. I was standing in some shade beneath an oak tree ... and just waited. I get quite a few phone calls and emails from people asking me how I'm able to obtain the results I get with digiscoping. There's no secret or trick, really. As with most things, mastery is achieved through patience, dedication, and a lot of practice. I was at this same spot for four hours waiting for any bird to perch within 25 to 35 feet. That's how close you need to be in order to get sharp feather detail. Over an adequate period of time at a "birdy" location, the magic moment will eventually happen. You've got to be ready when it does. The action of pressing down a shutter button is the same no matter what you're taking a photograph of; it's everything before that moment that matters.

Dogbane Leaf Beetle

Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
June 16th & 17th, 2012
64 species

Wood Duck   
Ring-necked Pheasant   
Great Blue Heron   
Turkey Vulture       
Red-tailed Hawk       
Sandhill Crane   
Spotted Sandpiper   
Ring-billed Gull   
Rock Pigeon   
Mourning Dove   
Yellow-billed Cuckoo       
Chimney Swift   
Ruby-throated Hummingbird   
Downy Woodpecker   
Hairy Woodpecker       
Northern Flicker   
Eastern Wood-Pewee   
Willow Flycatcher   
Eastern Phoebe   
Great Crested Flycatcher   
Eastern Kingbird   
Warbling Vireo   
Red-eyed Vireo   
Blue Jay   
American Crow   
Northern Rough-winged Swallow   
Tree Swallow   
Barn Swallow   
Black-capped Chickadee   
Tufted Titmouse   
White-breasted Nuthatch   
House Wren   
Marsh Wren   
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher   
Eastern Bluebird   
Wood Thrush   
American Robin   
Gray Catbird   
Brown Thrasher   
European Starling   
Cedar Waxwing   
Common Yellowthroat   
American Redstart   
Yellow Warbler   
Chipping Sparrow   
Field Sparrow   
Savannah Sparrow   
Song Sparrow   
Swamp Sparrow   
Northern Cardinal   
Rose-breasted Grosbeak   
Indigo Bunting   
Red-winged Blackbird   
Eastern Meadowlark   
Common Grackle   
Brown-headed Cowbird   
Orchard Oriole   
Baltimore Oriole   
House Finch   
American Goldfinch   
House Sparrow

All images © 2012 Mike McDowell

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