Monday, May 13, 2013

Creek Corridor Beauty!

Pheasant Branch Conservancy creek corridor

Though there is a lot of honeysuckle, garlic mustard, and other invasives along the creek corridor trail of Pheasant Branch Conservancy, it's still a treasure trove of Nature's wild gifts. May is a great time to live in Wisconsin. Having traveled half the states in our country, nothing beats Wisconsin. I'm grateful to witness our state's phenological progression through spring every year. Though there are familiar colors, shapes, and forms, each spring renders a few surprises and carries elements of unpredictable uniqueness.

Colorful Tree Lichens

Violets are finally blooming.


I was finally able to capture a photograph of a creek corridor mink. This particular one appeared to be protecting a meal that was stashed behind the rocks. An enthralled and amused group of observers watched, but were never exactly sure what it was carrying in its mouth. Some thought it might have been a baby squirrel that had fallen out of its nest.

Wood Ducks

A pair of Wood Ducks relaxed in the late afternoon light. It's comforting to know their lives aren't always filled with skittishness and that there are moments for them to simply enjoy being ducks. I seldom ever observe them being so docile, especially when they first arrive at the creek corridor in early April.

Bay-breasted Warbler

This Bay-breasted Warbler put on quite a show for a group of birders along the east trail between the first two bridges. A fine bird, indeed, but I was more captivated by a Black-and-white Warbler probing its bill into the crevices of tree bark. At one point he stuck is entire head into a small cavity and found something to eat, perhaps a nice juicy spider.

Black-and-white Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

Least Flycatcher

Shortly after I took this photograph, this Least Flycatcher got harassed by a House Wren. While the wren was no match for the flycatcher's agility, the commotion between the two attracted the interest of a nearby Song Sparrow, who began to chase the House Wren! The flycatcher perched higher up, as if to observe the melee from above and perhaps reassess the situation. The wren dashed for cover under a fallen log, but the sparrow perched on top of it and waited. Once the wren reemerged, the sparrow took off after it again. This went on for several more minutes until the sparrow declared victory with a burst of song. Calm restored, the flycatcher resumed looking for flying insects to eat.

All images © 2013 Mike McDowell

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