Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Still Rainless

"A change in the weather is sufficient to recreate the world and ourselves."

~ Marcel Proust

Pheasant Branch Conservancy early in the morning.

The weather has certainly improved temperature-wise for now, but we remain rainless in southern Wisconsin. We've recently been downgraded to moderate drought from abnormally dry on the U.S. Drought Monitor. It hasn't rained here since sometime in May and yesterday our governor declared that forty-two counties are under a drought emergency. Naturally, I spent a lot less time outside when temperatures soared beyond the hundred mark, but I still managed to visit Pheasant Branch early in the morning a few times to check up on the birds. They seem to be doing fine, thankfully.

Young Eastern Kingbirds.

The Yellow-breasted Chats are very challenging to find now that the male's vocalizations have decreased to only an occasional note or two. A super-spectacular digiscoped chat portrait will have to wait for another season. The Orchard Orioles have dispersed after successfully fledging their young. Indigo Buntings are singing less frequently. At present there is a family of Eastern Kingbirds that are quite entertaining to watch. Their gregarious young perch on bare oak branches acting like they own the entire place. Their parents are busy stuffing dragonflies and other large insects down their throats as quickly as they can. One time one of the young kingbirds discarded some dragonfly wings by letting them fall, but the adult doing the feeding swooped down in a flash, snatched them up before they hit the ground, and then proceeded to make sure junior didn't waste them! "Yes, you must even eat the wings!"

A youngster!

One of the adults scans for food.

As you can see from the list below, there are plenty of good birds during the month of July at Pheasant Branch Conservancy, though it's one of two months (the other being January) I spend less time birding than usual. This time of year I typically do most of my eBird counts via bicycle. I can cover a lot more ground in a comparatively shorter period of time. I'll return to creek corridor birding when the first warbler flocks begin to show up around the second week of August. Hopefully we'll get some rain before then!

Purple Prairie Clover

Date range: Jul 1, 2012 - Jul 31, 2012   
Location(s):  Pheasant Branch Conservancy
Total # of Species: 72

Canada Goose   
Wood Duck   
Blue-winged Teal   
Ring-necked Pheasant   
Great Blue Heron   
Green Heron   
Cooper's Hawk       
Red-tailed Hawk   
American Kestrel   
Sandhill Crane   
Spotted Sandpiper   
Ring-billed Gull   
Mourning Dove   
Barred Owl   
Ruby-throated Hummingbird   
Belted Kingfisher   
Red-bellied Woodpecker   
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   
Bank Swallow   
Barn Swallow   
Black-capped Chickadee   
Tufted Titmouse   
White-breasted Nuthatch   
House Wren   
Sedge 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   
Yellow-breasted Chat   
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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