Tuesday, March 04, 2014

It's March!

ALERT: March Migrants! An observer in Middleton spotted a pair of Sandhill Cranes at Pheasant Branch Conservancy yesterday. Thankfully, we're finally going to get some warmer weather, albeit with a mix of precipitation. This favorable change in temperature should entice the remaining cranes to return to the marsh, perhaps by the end of this week.

I birded the conservancy on Sunday, which was when these photographs were taken. It was a few degrees below zero most of the morning and the windchill made it feel as cold as -30 at times. After being outside for several hours, my toes succumbed to the cold and I ended up getting a minor case of frostnip. Ugh! I am so ready for spring.

This male Great Horned Owl was basking in the sun while guarding the entrance to the pair's nest cavity. This is the fourth consecutive year these owls are using this particular nest site. When I walked back through the area an hour later, the male and female were calling to one another. He was close by and I could see her ear tuft tips sticking out from inside the cavity. My outing yielded 27 bird species. By the end of this month there will be twice that number at the conservancy.

When I arrived home, I noticed our neighborhood Cedar Waxwings feeding on the fruit trees across the street from my apartment. Fortunately for the waxwings, this source of food was ample enough to provide them with sustenance and energy throughout winter.

Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Mar 2, 2014 8:00 AM - 11:00 AM
27 species

Canada Goose
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Horned Lark
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
American Robin
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
American Tree Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2014 Mike McDowell

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