Thursday, July 03, 2014

First July Outing!


It's fascinating that more Dickcissels have recently arrived at Pheasant Branch Conservancy. It makes me wonder if there's credibility to speculation I've heard that they have two successful broods per season on two different territories, completely abandoning the previous one in favor of another. At first this idea may seem illogical and impractical: If the breeding site is good, why leave it? However, it may be displacement on account of a mowed field or other type of nesting of failure. I read one study that showed over 60% of the females experiencing nest failures relocated greater than 10 kilometers to a new site. There's evidence that Dickcissels can have two successful broods per season. It would be interesting if the birds have adapted instinctual relocation mid-season in response to decades of scheduled field mowing. Or perhaps it's the case these particular birds are truly late migratory arrivals, which seems doubtful at this juncture of the season. Whatever the reason, it's nice to have their voices and presence added to the aesthetic of the prairie this summer.



Orchard Oriole (female) and two young.

Orchard Orioles have been very successful at the conservancy this summer. This female Orchard Oriole (right) was observed feeding three young birds (two pictured) by systematically partitioning meals between them. It's a great thing to see these birds becoming more plentiful at the conservancy.

Yellow-breasted Chat 

I'm still fairly confident that there are two pairs of Yellow-breasted Chats present, atop the drumlin and southeast of the springs in the dogwood. I haven't observed any evidence of successful nesting yet, but they're such secretive birds it's very difficult to determine. This particular chat was chatting away from the top of the oaks on the northwest side of the drumlin. Their beeps, whistles, toots, and shrieks are somewhat comical to listen to.

Yellow-breasted Chat


Prairie wildflowers seem to be at or a little past peak, but there's still plenty of dramatic color to witness this summer. Through the month of July I'll be observing prairie flora and fauna at Pheasant Branch and Pope Farm Conservancies, but I think I would like a few more visits to Spring Green Preserve for insects. Believe it or not, southbound migratory shorebirds have already been spotted in parts of northern and central Wisconsin—fall migration! In another month the first dispersed warblers will begin to arrive at the creek corridor, drawing my attention away from the prairies.

Prairie Cinquefoil

Purple Prairie Clover

Purple Coneflower


Butterfly Weed

Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Jul 3, 2014 6:03 AM - 8:09 AM
43 species

Ring-necked Pheasant
Red-tailed Hawk
Sandhill Crane
Mourning Dove
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Willow Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Kingbird
Warbling Vireo
American Crow
Horned Lark
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Sedge Wren
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

© 2014 Mike McDowell

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