Saturday, October 20, 2012


Pheasant Branch Conservancy

I've been in bed with a nasty cold virus since Wednesday night. I think it's been raining almost the entire time. The pattering of droplets against my window was almost constant, but this morning it was finally silent. Still feeling under par, I hesitated opening my window blinds. I wasn't so sure I wanted to see what was out there. In a way, I was hoping for a continuation of dreary weather so I would have an excuse to stay in bed. But I opened the blinds and saw the sunlight hitting rows of orange and yellow trees across the courtyard; gulls, geese, and songbirds were flying against a brilliant sky of azure. Drat! I didn't want to miss this. I wanted to be outside, participating. Though it was getting late (for me), I slogged out of bed, put on some clothes, ate a bit of breakfast, grabbed my birding gear and headed out the door.

Crossing the first bridge.

The forest floor is covered with leaves.

I hate being cooped up in my apartment and felt rejuvenated the moment I set foot at Pheasant Branch. It was the correct decision. It was a good thing I remembered to grab a handful of tissues for my runny nose – I needed every one of them. It's late evening as I'm writing this blog. I have a congestion headache and feel like I'm at a perpetual verge of a sneeze. I like looking at the photographs I've taken – it's the art of what I do. I entered my bird sightings into eBird, which is the science of what I do. Science and art are complementary approaches to understanding nature, though I'm not always sure where one boundary ends and the other begins or if it's even important right now. I'm just grateful for the time I was there.

White-throated Sparrow 

Lincoln's Sparrow

In a way, every photographic exposure is an experiment with light and every picture is data. This outing was my first run of the complete digiscoping rig using the Nikon FT-1 mount. What a huge difference it makes shooting in Aperture Priority with the TLS APO. What do you think of the results? From the viewer's perspective, probably not too different from when I was stuck using Manual mode. I wish I could have stayed outside all day, but I began getting a little fatigued after a couple of hours of hiking and headed home. I'm too tired to write any more, so enjoy the images!

American Tree Sparrow - there will be more!

Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Oct 20, 2012 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
42 species

Canada Goose 
Ring-necked Pheasant 
Red-tailed Hawk 
Sandhill Crane 
Ring-billed Gull 
Rock Pigeon 
Mourning Dove 
Red-bellied Woodpecker 
Downy Woodpecker 
Hairy Woodpecker 
Blue Jay 
American Crow 
Horned Lark 
Black-capped Chickadee 
Tufted Titmouse 
White-breasted Nuthatch 
Brown Creeper 
Winter Wren 
Golden-crowned Kinglet 
Eastern Bluebird 
American Robin 
European Starling 
American Pipit 
Cedar Waxwing 
Yellow-rumped Warbler 
Eastern Towhee 
American Tree Sparrow 
Chipping Sparrow 
Field Sparrow 
Fox Sparrow 
Song Sparrow 
Lincoln's Sparrow 
Swamp Sparrow 
White-throated Sparrow 
White-crowned Sparrow 
Dark-eyed Junco 
Northern Cardinal 
Red-winged Blackbird 
House Finch 
Pine Siskin 
American Goldfinch 
House Sparrow 

All images © 2012 Mike McDowell

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