Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Ends

American Goldfinch

The final day of July has arrived. I'm looking forward to cooler temperatures and hopefully more rain during August. Prairies are still pretty dry, but improving. In about week or so we should begin to see the first northern warblers passing through southern Wisconsin as they journey to their wintering grounds. This is an exciting prospect, but it's been a good month for birding at Pheasant Branch Conservancy. I tallied 80 bird species, which is a new personal record for the month of July. With the exception of releasing the oriole yesterday, I didn't drive my car to go birding at all this month, but that will likely change as migration picks up in mid to late August. There's a lot of good birding via bicycle to be done yet this year.

Compass Plant

I bike the conservancy trail system every few days or so, birding mostly by ear as I pedal along. Most times I don't bring my binocular. During my ride I'll occasionally stop and listen at specific areas for a particular species I know is on territory and wait for it to vocalize before moving on. Because I bike the same route at approximately the same time of day, bird songs are generally heard in order, like audio tracks on an album. I know where to stop and listen for Wood Thrushes, Sedge Wrens, and Field Sparrows, for example. But one always has to be listening for the unexpected!

All images © 2012 Mike McDowell

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