Friday, May 23, 2014

Migration Fades

Yellow Warbler

There were 21 warbler species at the creek corridor on Tuesday, but diversity has been steadily dropping since: 16 on Wednesday, 13 on Thursday, and 10 today. At least we still have double digits! However, it won't be long and the only remaining warblers at Pheasant Branch will be Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, and American Redstart. These three species will remain throughout the breeding season.

Not far away at Indian Lake, Ovenbird, Cerulean Warblers and Blue-winged Warblers can be found during the month of June. And just another 16 miles northwest of that, around 20 warbler species can be observed at the Baraboo Hills. I will visit these places a few times before spring ends, but my primary focus will remain at Pheasant Branch to see how the breeding season takes shape.

Second bridge east of Park Street

The tree canopy is quickly filling in and that makes the warblers that are present all the more difficult to get a glimpse of or photograph. This late in May, however, they're extremely vocal and can be easily identified by song. Starting in a week or so, I'll be spending less time birding along the creek corridor and conduct extended observations and photography at the prairie. To obtain eBird data and save time for the corridor, I'll ride my bike and bird by ear on my way to the prairie.

Creek Corridor east entrance

Great Blue Heron

This Great Blue Heron was my companion one day during the warbler frenzy. Another time a Spotted Sandpiper slowly foraged its way along the shallows of the creek, bobbing its tail all the while. Consider how camouflaged this sandpiper must appear from above!

Spotted Sandpiper

Starry Soloman's Plume

May Apple

All images © 2014 Mike McDowell

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