Monday, April 28, 2014

A Greater State

White-throated Sparrow

Given the rainy weather forecast for this coming week, this may be my final April update. Saturday was spent birding Pheasant Branch Conservancy with several of my friends. It was the first 70+ species day for the spring, including four warblers: Palm, Northern Waterthrush, Yellow-rumped, and Pine. Five swallow species were present at the confluence ponds and one Black-crowned Night-Heron remained from the previous day. Hopefully there will be a few breaks in the weather before and after work so I can discover other newly arriving migratory birds.

Eastern Phoebe

For the observer, Nature is a form of drama full of thrills and performances. When it comes to birding, the drama in the field is wholly different from the bizarre theatrics that emerge over social media. Out in nature, there's only appreciation, admiration, sharing, learning, and a deep sense of humility and awe. Once home, however, getting on Facebook and checking email often reveals absurdities in human behavior, so much so that I've grown to consider social media a far lesser state of existence. There are still positive aspects about it, though, and that's probably why I haven't deleted my Facebook account. Anyway, when our group of birders took a break for lunch at The Prairie Cafe, this was a part of our discussion. Once refueled, we returned to the conservancy trails to enjoy the birds, wildflowers, and the fresh spring breeze and left the negativity behind.


Dutchman's Breeches

Dutchman's Breeches (close-up)

The creek corridor Great Horned Owls might actually be nesting after all. About a month ago there was no sign of the female. I had even gone there late evening to hear the male repeatedly call with no response from his mate. Perhaps there was a failed nesting, but she's back in the cavity, hopefully on eggs or young owlets. If so, this wouldn't be the first time this pair has experienced a late nesting season. This, however, would be the latest I've observed for them. We'll soon see!

Great Horned Owl (male)

Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Apr 26, 2014 6:00 AM - 12:00 PM
71 species

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Green-winged Teal
Lesser Scaup
Pied-billed Grebe
Great Blue Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Turkey Vulture
Cooper's Hawk
Bald Eagle
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Coot
Spotted Sandpiper
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Barred Owl
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tree Swallow
Bank Swallow
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
House Wren
Winter Wren
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Northern Waterthrush
Palm Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Eastern Towhee
American Tree Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
Purple Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2014 Mike McDowell

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