Sunday, May 05, 2013

Warbler Weekend!

Tree buds opened virtually overnight, decorating branches with every shade of green imaginable. It was a veritable warbler bonanza on Saturday, but things were a little slower today and most of the White-throated Sparrows apparently moved out of the conservancy for destinations further north. I'll miss their sweet melancholy songs early in the morning.

White-throated Sparrow

Dutchman's Breeches

Dutchman's Breeches

Trout Lily

More spring ephemeral wildflowers have blossomed. I thought about heading up to Baxter's Hollow to photograph more, but I stayed at Pheasant Branch to digiscope warblers. Somehow I missed seeing Dutchman's Breeches at the conservancy in past years, but there they were right along the creek corridor trail. There's also a nice Mayapple patch near the east entrance that's coming up nicely.

The warblers were plentiful and cooperative. Though we experienced warmer weather this weekend, the birds were still foraging close to the ground. My hunch is that there haven't been adequate insect hatchings to lure them back up to the canopy. Warblers favor Hackberry trees for foraging. Perhaps they're finding juicy spiders or midges hiding in bark crevices.

And now for the birds!

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Palm Warbler

Palm Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

Nashville Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

The above bird photographs were taken with a Swarovski ATX 85 spotting scope, Nikon 1 V1 & 18.5mm f/1.8 lens, and Swarovski DCBII adapter. This combination renders less magnification compared to the Swarovski TLS APO, but it provides faster shutter speeds and makes framing fast-moving songbirds considerably easier. Once I managed to get a bird in the frame, I would increase the eyepiece magnification from 25x to as high as 40x depending on the composition I was going for.

Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
May 4, 2013 6:00 AM - 6:00 PM
89 species

Canada Goose 
Wood Duck 
Blue-winged Teal 
Green-winged Teal 
Lesser Scaup 
Pied-billed Grebe 
Great Blue Heron 
Cooper's Hawk 
Bald Eagle 
Red-tailed Hawk 
Sandhill Crane 
Spotted Sandpiper 
Solitary Sandpiper 
Ring-billed Gull 
Rock Pigeon 
Mourning Dove 
Great Horned Owl 
Barred Owl 
Belted Kingfisher 
Red-headed Woodpecker 
Red-bellied Woodpecker 
Downy Woodpecker 
Hairy Woodpecker 
Northern Flicker 
American Kestrel 
Least Flycatcher 
Eastern Phoebe 
Eastern Kingbird 
Blue-headed Vireo 
Warbling Vireo 
Blue Jay 
American Crow 
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 
Tree Swallow 
Barn Swallow 
Cliff Swallow 
Black-capped Chickadee 
Tufted Titmouse 
White-breasted Nuthatch 
House Wren 
Carolina Wren 
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 
Eastern Bluebird 
Wood Thrush 
American Robin 
Gray Catbird 
Brown Thrasher 
European Starling 
Northern Waterthrush 
Golden-winged Warbler 
Black-and-white Warbler 
Tennessee Warbler 
Orange-crowned Warbler 
Nashville Warbler 
Common Yellowthroat 
American Redstart 
Cape May Warbler 
Northern Parula 
Magnolia Warbler 
Yellow Warbler 
Blackpoll Warbler 
Black-throated Blue Warbler 
Palm Warbler 
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler 
Chipping Sparrow 
Clay-colored Sparrow 
Song Sparrow 
Lincoln's Sparrow 
Swamp Sparrow 
White-throated Sparrow 
White-crowned Sparrow 
Dark-eyed Junco 
Northern Cardinal 
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 
Red-winged Blackbird 
Common Grackle 
Brown-headed Cowbird 
Baltimore Oriole 
Purple Finch 
House Finch 
Pine Siskin 
American Goldfinch 
House Sparrow 

All images © 2013 Mike McDowell


  1. Just beautiful Mike. Thanks for all you do for birding in general and Pheasant Branch in particular. We're all better for it. Thanks!

  2. Amazing set of beautiful warblers. Spring rocks there. I remember my birding time in Mexico in April back in 2005. Well done. I love this blog.

    Best, Szimi

  3. Imprsseive captures. I especially like the one with the yelow warbler between budding braches. Beautiful spring in "optima forma".
    Thank you for sharing, Sjerp