Sunday, March 08, 2015
Near the creek corridor entrance of Pheasant Branch
The Vernal Equinox is less than two weeks away, but the weather this weekend was a much welcomed break from the near record-setting cold temperatures we experienced in February. I seized the opportunity to go birding at Pheasant Branch Conservancy Saturday morning and then again Sunday afternoon.
The late winter woods was alive with birdsong. This time of year the dominant voice belongs to Northern Cardinals; they were trading songs with great pageantry throughout the entire day. Sometimes one male would sing solo while others paused as if to listen, but eventually others entered the competition and gave it their all.
The chorus along the creek corridor is complemented with songs of Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, White-breasted Nuthatches, and Dark-eyed Junco trills. If you listen carefully, you can occasionally hear the high-pitched Brown Creeper call. While sitting on a bench, I could even hear Horned Larks calling as they flew over the corridor. The percussion section features the drumming of Downy, Hairy, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers. Soon, travelers from the south will take a role in the evolving spring choir. It's a thrilling time of year for birders—experiencing the return of migratory birds feels like something almost magical.
This particular Red-bellied Woodpecker appeared to discover something nourishing in a small tree knot. Whatever it was, it held the woodpecker's attention for a considerable length of time. Like some other woodpecker species, the tongue of the Red-bellied is so long it can extend at least three times its bill length and wraps around its skull when retracted.
Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Mar 7, 2015 7:30 AM - 10:30 AM
American Tree Sparrow
All images © 2015 Mike McDowell