Saturday, March 14, 2015

They're back!

"That is one good thing about this world...there are always sure to be more springs."

― L.M. Montgomery

"Come with me into the woods where spring is advancing, as it does, no matter what, not being singular or particular, but one of the forever gifts, and certainly visible."

― Mary Oliver

Red-winged Blackbird

At last, Red-winged Blackbirds and their welcoming spring songs have moved into southern Wisconsin over the past few days. There were around a dozen displaying their bright red and yellow epaulets at the North Fork marsh last evening, and I was there to greet them. Other birds returning to the conservancy included Common Grackles, Belted Kingfishers, Killdeer, Sandhill Cranes, and more Song Sparrows. Now winds have shifted out of the northwest once again, which will slow the first wave.

Song Sparrow

Acting as sentinels, the conservancy's male owls spend the daylight hours roosting nearby their nests while females incubate eggs or tend to nestlings. Breeding a little later than Great Horned Owls, some birders have recently observed an increase in Barred Owl calls. There is a pair of Barred Owls north of Century Avenue along the creek and another pair near Park Lawn, but it seems birders have better luck getting better views of owls at the UW Arboretum.

Barred Owl

Another enchanting day ends at Pheasant Branch Conservancy. A lone Song Sparrow's voice serves as “goodnight” from the songbirds. Shadows begin to bury the warm grass, and then the sun disappears below the horizon and several geese and ducks head toward the marsh.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

All images © 2015 Mike McDowell

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