Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Secret No More

"What makes a river so restful to people is that it doesn't have any doubt―it is sure to get where it is going, and it doesn't want to go anywhere else."

― Hal Boyle

Actually, it's surrounded by city. As shown here, there's often a little bit of photographer's subjective framing that makes the Pheasant Branch creek corridor appear to be a remote stream in the middle of some faraway exotic jungle. Though no hint can be seen in these photographs, one of Middleton's busiest streets is just a few dozen yards downstream. To the right is an apartment building and restaurant, which is now somewhat obstructed by a growing wall of green foliage.

Perhaps in a future blog post I'll show just how much city there is surrounding the corridor. With a couple new buildings west of Park Street, the view hasn't exactly been improving over the years. Fortunately, the property backing up to the creek going east is older housing with lots of mature trees.

The songbirds that visit our little 1.5 miles of “tropical” stream during a few weeks in May are from real jungles in Central and South America. While an important stopover for birds, the time they spend in our neck of the woods is brief. Some of them will fly on to the Baraboo Hills or Chequamegon National Forest in Wisconsin. Most will continue north, beyond Wisconsin, to the boreal forest of Canada to nest and raise their young.

Summer Tanager

The most exciting discovery today was a beautiful male Summer Tanager at the first bridge crossing east of Park Street. Our group was walking toward Park Street on our way back from birding the east trail when a few of us simultaneously noticed the large red songbird perched a dozen or so feet from us just above eye-level. I had heard one singing the previous morning but wasn't able to locate it. I finally broke our stunned silence when calling out “Summer Tanager!”

Chestnut-sided Warbler

The month of May just doesn't last long enough!

Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

Virginia Waterleaf

Dryad's Saddle

Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
May 12, 2015 5:50 AM - 8:50 AM
59 species

Wood Duck
Cooper's Hawk
Mourning Dove
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Yellow-throated Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Swainson's Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Waterthrush
Golden-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Northern Parula
Magnolia Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Palm Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2015 Mike McDowell

1 comment:

  1. Can I say that I find your blog and the glorious photos amongst the most refreshing things on the internet . Please keep them going as long as you can . They are greatly appreciated here in England.