Monday, May 26, 2014

Baxter's Hollow & Green Heron Study

Baxter's Hollow

The Madison Audubon field trip to Baxter's Hollow in the Baraboo Hills is my favorite of spring. It's a real test for those of us who bird by ear. The scenery is astonishingly beautiful and it's great fun helping other birders learn to identify birds by their calls and songs. A challenge for our hearing, field trip leader Aaron Stutz heard Red Crossbills (what are they doing here?) and later we heard what to me sounded like the tu-weep and pit-it-it calls of a Western Tanager. Naturally, given the advanced stage of foliage it's difficult to see or get photographs of even common birds there. Plus, most of the songbirds tend to be on the opposite side of Otter Creek or high up in the canopy.

Louisiana Waterthrush prepares to take flight.

Take this Louisiana Waterthrush, for example. Can you see it? You might have to click on the thumbnail for the larger version of this image to see the bird. It was a cool morning and this waterthrush appeared to be warming itself in the sunlight. I quickly got my scope on the bird and let the field trip participants have a look before taking  photograph, catching it just as it was taking off. A millisecond later the bird was zipping (and chipping) down Otter Creek, singing and defending its territory from other waterthrushes.

Baxter's Hollow - Otter Creek

It was a four-hour field trip, so when I got back to Middleton I didn't feel like walking the creek corridor and opted for biking it. Near Deming Way, I saw this Green Heron catching fish just before the confluence ponds. When I got home, I returned to the spot with my digiscoping rig and took some photographs of the gawky heron fishing. They're highly entertaining birds to watch!

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Bang! Gotcha!


One legging it.

Baxter's Hollow SNA, Sauk, US-WI
May 25, 2014 7:18 AM - 11:38 AM
53 species

Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Black-billed Cuckoo
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Acadian Flycatcher
Alder Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Swainson's Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Cedar Waxwing
Louisiana Waterthrush
Blue-winged Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Canada Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Brown-headed Cowbird
Red Crossbill
American Goldfinch

All images © 2014 Mike McDowell

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