Thursday, May 16, 2013

Scarlet Tanagers!

"To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter... to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring - these are some of the rewards of the simple life."

~ John Burroughs

Pheasant Branch Conservancy creek corridor

While Pheasant Branch Conservancy is a wonderful natural area to view and photograph a wide variety of songbirds, it isn't always the most tranquil place. The multi-use creek corridor trail is quiet for the first hour or so of daylight, but eventually it becomes a busy place with bicyclists, joggers, and dog walkers. Even the seasonal influx of birders and photographers can add to the cacophony of interfering human noises. But for an escape to genuine woodland solitude, Baxter’s Hollow in the Baraboo Hills is a relatively short distance away.

The plan for my day off was to first go birding with my friends at the conservancy, and then head up to Baxter’s Hollow to photograph wildflowers and Scarlet Tanagers. I found tanagers at both locations, but they were actually much more cooperative at the conservancy.

Right now there’s a lovely variety of wildflowers along Otter Creek, including Jacob’s Ladder, Spring Beauty, Marsh Marigold, and Nodding Trillium. For me, though, the best part about a trip to Baxter’s Hollow is to find a comfortable place to sit and listen to the songs of birds and be idle for as long as possible.

Otter Creek at Baxter's Hollow

Jacob's Ladder

Spring Beauty

A place to decompress!

All images © 2013 Mike McDowell

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