Saturday, January 31, 2015

January Ends!

These have been my best friends while battling probable A(H3N2) Influenza for the past week. It's all over the office and elsewhere so I figured it was only a matter of time before I would get infected with the virus. Last Monday was just awful. I had a fever, headache (migraine level), and nausea. Now it feels like it has just about run its course with only lingering congestion. This morning I was ready to get out of the apartment and go do something fun.

I decided to head over to Bolz Conservatory at Olbrich Botanical Gardens and enjoy the warm temperature and humidity. It's an elaborate indoor tropical garden and it felt just heavenly to breath in the moist air. I'm so ready for spring. I brought along my Kindle and Nikon 1 V1 camera. After reading a couple of chapters from Living the Secular Life by Phil Zuckerman, I decided to photograph some of the incredible plants and flowers of the conservatory. I recorded names of species I was able to. The conservatory's plants are from all over the world, including South America, Africa, and Asia—over 475 species!

That's just exactly how I found it!

On your mark, get set, go!

It's an indoor jungle.







Chenille Plant

Taffeta Plant


Seersucker Plant

Blushing Bromeliad

By noon it was beginning to get little crowded at Bolz, so I headed over to Prairie Cafe to get a late breakfast. I decided on the scramble special and some coffee. I wasn't really planning on birding, but the trails beckoned me on account of being so close to Pheasant Branch Conservancy. Plus, it was calm and 35 degrees. With a winter storm looming, I decided not to waste the pleasant weather and daylight hours by returning indoors.

American Tree Sparrow

Perhaps a little spoiled by the extravagant colors at Bolz, I was still happy to see the winter woodland and prairie birds yet one more time in January. Does this Barred Owl ever move? Actually, I've been to the conservancy at night and have watched it hunt—an extremely cool experience.

Barred Owl

Monochromatic Woods

After birding I went to Barriques for tea and entered in my eBird checklist:

Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Jan 31, 2015 12:30 PM - 3:30 PM
34 species

Canada Goose
Ring-necked Pheasant
Red-tailed Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Barred Owl
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
American Kestrel
Northern Shrike
Blue Jay
American Crow
Horned Lark
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
American Robin
European Starling
American Tree Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
House Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2015 Mike McDowell

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