Sunday, April 19, 2015

Spring Surges!

"In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks."

― John Muir

Song Sparrow

Beautiful weather and special places provided great opportunities for nature photography over the weekend. Both mornings began at the creek corridor of Pheasant Branch Conservancy where there was an increase in the numbers of Yellow-rumped Warblers, plus a couple of Pine Warblers, Orange-crowned Warblers, a single Blue-headed Vireo, and a few Blue-gray Gnatcatchers.

On Saturday afternoon, Dottie and Mark Johnson and I decided to check out Baxter's Hollow in the Baraboo Hills for spring ephemerals. I wasn't surprised to discover that Louisiana Waterthrushes were already there. Two males were zooming up and down Otter Creek, aggressively exchanging territorial songs. Further up, a Winter Wren's song serenaded us as we photographed Round-lobed Hepatica, Spring Beauty, and Bloodroot under beautiful blue skies.

It was refreshing to spend as much time outside as we wanted, rather than the few morning or evening hours during the work week. It's raining now and the temperatures are going to cool down this week, but I suspect songbirds will still press northward. I will be there to meet them!

Eastern Phoebe

Field Sparrow

Purple Finch

Yellow-rumped Warbler




Dutchman's Breeches

Dutchman's Breeches

White Trout Lily 


Otter Creek at Baxter's Hollow

Battlegrounds for Louisiana Waterthrush

Round-lobed Hepatica

Spring Beauty

Yellow Trout Lily


Wood Frog

Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Apr 19, 2015 6:15 AM - 10:45 AM
65 species

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Hooded Merganser
Ring-necked Pheasant
Pied-billed Grebe
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
American Kestrel
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Orange-crowned Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Eastern Towhee
American Tree Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
Purple Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2015 Mike McDowell


  1. Mike- I would be interested to hear what you look for when identifying the orange crowned warblers, when they aren't singing.

  2. Plain, drab, olive green warbler with yellow undertail coverts. They're superficially similar to a Tennessee Warbler, which has white undertail coverts.