Sunday, January 12, 2014

Still just January ...

Fox Sparrow

The Fox Sparrows and White-throated Sparrows at Pheasant Branch Conservancy endured the dreadful and infamous Polar Vortex! I'm not at all surprised, really. They're pretty hardy birds and have successfully over-wintered at the conservancy before. They're far more likely to perish at the talons of the Cooper's Hawk that routinely patrols the area. But so far, so good. Only a few more months before they'll make their return journey north to the boreal forests of Canada.

At the prairie parcel I ran into Chuck Henrikson. We checked the north side of the prairie and dogwood to the south for the Northern Shrike, but didn't find it. It was reported by another birder on the previous day along with a Merlin. We also checked the big springs, but the only birds there were a single Red-belied Woodpecker and a few American Crows. A couple of flyover Ring-billed Gulls were the only new species I added to my list.

There were fewer birds compared to a week ago, but this could be attributed to me missing the morning peak feeding period by roughly an hour. The trails were icy and slippery. I could have used some Yaktrax. By the time I actually get around to buying some, the trails will probably have thawed. It was an uneventful outing, but it's still good to get outside, breathe the fresh air and get some exercise. I feel the winter doldrums setting in, but by the end of next month the Sandhill Cranes will be back.

Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Jan 12, 2014 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
24 species

Cooper's Hawk
Ring-billed Gull
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
American Robin
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
American Tree Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Fox Sparrow © 2014 Mike McDowell

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