Sunday, January 18, 2015
Blue, White, and Brown
Pheasant Branch Conservancy - Prairie Parcel
It was a beautiful day for a long walk along the trails of Pheasant Branch Conservancy. At the prairie parcel I heard a few Horned Larks and one Lapland Longspur. They often fly over the prairie as they move from one agricultural field to another, but you have to know what to listen for in order to detect them. I was hoping to hear some Snow Buntings, too, but didn't find any today. Near the first retention pond there were many American Tree Sparrows, several White-crowned Sparrows, a few Dark-eyed Juncos, and one each of Swamp and Song Sparrows. A Red-tailed Hawk was soaring around the drumlin and an American Kestrel was hunting along Pheasant Branch Road.
White-crowned Sparrow (HY)
After the prairie I ventured into the woods north of Century Avenue. The usual suspects were present. By the Conservancy Condos there were Pine Siskins, White-throated Sparrows, American Robins, White-breasted Nuthatches, Black-capped Chickadees, many woodpeckers including a Northern Flicker. Of course, "Sprout" the Barred Owl was enjoying the sunlight from his favorite roost.
Can you spot the Brown Creeper in the above photograph? Me either. I couldn't see it, but I did hear it. Sometimes they can be a little difficult to directionally locate by call; I can't tell if their high-pitched voice is coming from in front of me or behind me.
The Creek Corridor
There's still a fair amount of snow in the low-lying parts along the creek corridor, but it was mostly melted at other areas in the conservancy. Other than the creeper, a Blue Jay, a couple of woodpeckers, and some Dark-eyed juncos, things were pretty quiet at the corridor. The Great Horned Owls west of Park Street were perched near one another in the conifers.
Great Horned Owl
Once I arrived home I noticed a young Red-tailed Hawk perched on a light pole near the parking lot. I parked my car behind a couple of trees and was able to sneak out and snap a few photographs of it. It sure was nice to spend some time outside and not freeze in the process. It's far too early to say spring is just around the corner with all of February to get through, but at least we can say that Sandhill Cranes return next month!
Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Jan 18, 2015 11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Great Horned Owl
American Tree Sparrow
All images © 2015 Mike McDowell