Monday, April 07, 2014

They're on the move!

Dark-eyed Junco

The songs of Dark-eyed Juncos along the creek corridor trail are unyielding. Nothing seems to break the cacophony of trills, chirps, and chatter, not even the kek kek kek calls of a nearby Cooper's Hawk. I saw my first-of-spring Yellow-rumped Warbler on Sunday. As the warblers move in, the juncos will move out. Actually, many of the juncos are probably moving in, too, having spent winter to our south. The dapper little snowbirds will still be present in significant numbers the next few weeks, but they'll become scarce once May rolls around. In the past, I have seen a few juncos at the conservancy during May. I even found one last year as late as May 20th.

Cooper's Hawk

During April and most of May, I'll be spending most of my field time along the creek corridor, as it's one of the best migratory songbird stopover areas at the conservancy. In fact, many local area birders feel it's one of the very best places to watch warblers in southern Wisconsin. The combination of cover, water, and available food attracts an impressive assortment of avian diversity. The narrow corridor keeps the action close, so the birder is often rewarded with spectacular views. Migration begins to slow down near the end of the third week of May, and that's when I'll return to the prairie to start my observations of summer residents.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

For now, the time has arrived for one of Nature's grandest spectacles: Spring Migration! This is it. This is everything birders wait for. Whether it's Golden-crowned Kinglets, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, or Eastern Meadowlarks, the flight of colors is upon us. Here, at the beginning of April, it's possible to see fifty different kinds of birds at the conservancy. That number will double in another month. Get out there and welcome them back!

Eastern Meadowlark

Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Apr 6, 2014 7:30 AM - 11:30 AM
51 species

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Green-winged Teal
Hooded Merganser
Wild Turkey
Turkey Vulture
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Sandhill Crane
Ring-billed Gull
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Winter Wren
Carolina Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2014 Mike McDowell

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