― Aldo Leopold
"What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade."
― Gertrude Jekyll
I had the day off on Tuesday and covered the entire trail system of Pheasant Branch Conservancy. I came up with 75 bird species, which is pretty good for the breeding season. Thus far it seems that we won't have Yellow-breasted Chats this year, but a there were a couple of birds I wasn't expecting. I found an Acadian Flycatcher near the two bridges north of Century Avenue and a Yellow-throated Vireo was singing away at the creek corridor. I discovered my first Sedge Wrens of the year at the marsh just southeast of the prairie and there has been only a single Dickcissel, but more may yet arrive on the scene.
Now we're down to only three warbler species, but they're quite abundant. Common Yellowthroats dominate the prairie and American Redstarts are singing throughout the woods. Yellow Warblers prefer the savanna and some of the more open areas along woodland edges. In the past we've had summering Chestnut-sided and Blue-winged Warblers, but they're fairly uncommon nesters at the conservancy.
More of a habitat generalist, curious catbirds can be found throughout the conservancy's diverse landscape. I'm impressed at the number of Willow Flycatchers this year. There are dozens of them at the confluence ponds and also in places where they don't typically nest because the willows tend to get cut back along the bike trail. When the city allows the willows to grow, the little flycatchers are quick to take advantage of the habitat opportunity.
There are a few field trips remaining this season. The Middleton Airport outing to see Bobolinks is on the 14th and I'm leading a field trip at the prairie on the morning of the 17th. On the 20th I'll be at Pope Farm Conservancy and the final June field trip is on the 27th for the 20th anniversary celebration of the Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy.
Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Jun 10, 2015 5:00 AM - 6:45 AM
Great Blue Heron
Great Crested Flycatcher
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
All images © 2015 Mike McDowell