Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Snowy Trail

It was somewhat breezy late this morning, but given slightly warmer temperatures beckoning me to get some fresh air, I decided to go birding. After the past week, 18° F just doesn't feel that cold! I wasn't expecting any major changes at the conservancy, and I wasn't disappointed by this fact. No matter the season, it's still a special place to explore and admire even if only for the sake of its splendid natural beauty. With all that troubles the world today, it's nice to feel lost in the simple mindfulness that occurs when plodding along a snowy trail.

Horned Lark

There were a few Horned Larks in the agricultural field along the north end of the prairie, but the snow drifts there were rather deep. Some of them were dense enough to support my weight for a few steps, but I kept falling through which made for slow going. The rest of the trail system only had a couple inches of snow, so I didn't bother putting on my snowshoes.

Well, there were some subtle changes. For one, there were fewer American Tree Sparrows. Also, I didn't locate any of the White-crowned Sparrows that have been overwintering. Have they moved on? Perhaps, but where? Maybe to the subdivision just to the east where there are bird feeders. Or maybe they were just resting in the tall grass someplace out of sight.

Great Horned Owl

Most songbirds congregate near the condos along Pheasant Branch Road on account of all the bird feeders. The White-throated Sparrows were present, as well as Pine Siskins, many woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, cardinals, jays, and more—it's where all the action is. On the other hand, it was comparatively quiet along the creek corridor where the Great Horned Owls are roosting. Come April, the corridor will become the migratory songbird magnet it's known for. Spring is just around the corner.

Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Feb 17, 2015 10:15 AM - 12:45 PM
30 species

Canada Goose
Ring-necked Pheasant
Red-tailed Hawk
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Barred Owl
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
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
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
House Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2015 Mike McDowell

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