Thursday, April 10, 2014

Time spent wisely!

"The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." ― Jack London

Barred Owl

A day free of obligation is not to be misspent! I explored various areas of Pheasant Branch Conservancy for several hours and observed 65 bird species. Radar showed impressive bird migration overnight, so I was anticipating new arrivals. There were more Yellow-rumped Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Hermit Thrushes, and Fox Sparrows. However, it was a resident bird that made my day. A Barred Owl was perched near one of the wooden bridges that crosses the creek. After a busy night of hunting, the owl appeared to be a little sleepy. Eventually, it closed its eyes and yawned a couple of times. When sunlight appeared on its back, it turned around and flew into a patch of conifers to roost.

American Robin

American Robins (a thrush) and Hermit Thrushes walk, hop, and forage in a similar manner, but the latter is definitely a more skittish bird and less easy to photograph. American Robins confidently perch in the open and often maintain their ground even when you walk right past them on the trail. Hermit and other catharus thrushes forage along trail edges, but usually retreat or flush into the woods before you can get into good digiscoping distance. But every now and then one flies up to a spot that's just close enough!

Hermit Thrush

It was an enjoyable day with friends and some of the nicest weather we've had so far this year. Later, on my own, a walk up the drumlin trail and inspection of the prairie remnant revealed open Pasque Flowers. Finally, colors other than brown or tan on the ground! There weren't quite as many of the flowers as last year, but perhaps others haven't opened up yet. On my way down the hill, I was serenaded by the songs of Field Sparrows singing from perches in the oak saplings.

Pasque Flowers

Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Apr 10, 2014 7:00 AM - 1:00 PM
65 species

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Green-winged Teal
Greater Scaup
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser
Ring-necked Pheasant
Pied-billed Grebe
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Sandhill Crane
Wilson's Snipe
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Barred Owl
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
American Kestrel
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Horned Lark
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Carolina Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Yellow-rumped Warbler
American Tree Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Rusty Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
Purple Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2014 Mike McDowell

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