Monday, March 16, 2015
Blue Sky Birding
Sunday morning's sky was filled with wispy cirrus clouds, which made for some fun scenic photography throughout my hike. I tallied 40 species for the first time since fall migration. In a little over a month it will be possible to nearly double that number. Bring on the warblers! Well, someone found a female Yellow-rumped Warbler at Spring Green today, but we're still a few weeks away from seeing them in larger numbers.
I walked the creek corridor for about an hour and picked up many of the expected species. Red-bellied Woodpeckers were busy calling and excavating tree cavities. The woods are alive with Dark-eyed Junco trills. I suspect many of them are recent arrivals from further south on their way back up to Canada for the summer breeding season.
At the prairie parcel I found a White-crowned Sparrow at the parking lot. There were still a few more of them near the first retention pond with the tree sparrows. I wonder when they're going to head back north? They're becoming more vocal with full song, so I suspect they'll head out with the next front that brings winds from the south. In the above image, a pair of Sandhill Cranes flew by at the perfect moment while capturing more cirrus cloud photographs.
Song Sparrow numbers are increasing and they're already beginning to establish territories. I'm not sure when the prescribed prairie burn is going to take place this spring, but I hope it's sooner rather than later. The arriving birds are ready to get things going!
A Northern Shrike was hunting in the thicket between the prairie and the marsh. Can you see it in the photograph below? Distance to the bird was approximately 200 yards. I called Dottie Johnson because it had been a few years since she last saw a shrike. Fortunately the bird remained perched and she enjoyed watching it through the spotting scope as it hunted. I saw it chase a small bird, but it managed to escape death this time. A small rodent wasn't as fortunate.
Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Mar 15, 2015 7:30 AM - 11:15 AM
American Tree Sparrow
All images © 2015 Mike McDowell