― Masashi Kishimoto
"It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper meaning."
― Vincent van Gogh
On Saturday I led a field trip for The Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy as part of their 20th anniversary celebration. It's hard to believe it's been twenty years since the formation of the group. And it's been almost thirty years since the first time I set foot on the conservancy's trails. In those early visits I had no idea of its impressive avian diversity and I wouldn't have even regarded myself as a birder. But years of observations would change all of that, and thanks to habitat restoration efforts the place is only getting better.
Orchard Oriole (female)
As I mentioned to the participants yesterday, not too long ago if I wanted to see or photograph Orchard Orioles I would need to visit Governor Nelson State Park, which is only a few miles from Pheasant Branch. I remember how excited I was the first time I saw one of the orioles at the conservancy. Today they're regular nesters at the oak savanna and their numbers are steadily increasing; the same can be said for many of the conservancy's other bird species.
Though I occasionally visit other natural areas, I spend most of my free time at Pheasant Branch; my blog and eBird records are evidence of that fact. Discovery is education and there have been many wonderful moments in Nature over the past three decades along the conservancy's trails. I feel enormously fortunate for Pheasant Branch and all I've witnessed and learned there.
Red Milkweed Beetle
Dogbane Leaf Beetle
Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Jun 27, 2015 7:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Great Blue Heron
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
All images © 2015 Mike McDowell