Sunday, November 01, 2015

November's tranquil start

November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

― Elizabeth Coatsworth

Pheasant Branch Conservancy - Prairie Parcel

Many sparrows (and other songbirds) cleared out of the prairie this past week―diversity and number of individuals were discernibly lower today. There were no more Chipping Sparrows, no Lincoln's Sparrows, and no Field or Savanna Sparrows. There were far fewer Swamp and Song Sparrows, but still a fair number of White-crowned, American Tree, and Fox Sparrows. In a way, what's no longer present is almost as interesting as what's still here. And then you realize to yourself: "Ah! So those were the last Field Sparrows until spring."

House Finch

During my morning walk around the prairie, I occasionally heard flight calls of Lapland Longspurs, Horned Larks, and American Pipits coming from overhead. It would have been nice to see any one of them, but they were heading south at full speed. I hoping to see a Northern Shrike, but no luck today. That was probably just as well as far as the songbirds were concerned, but there was still a Cooper's Hawk hunting in the tree line along Pheasant Branch Road. Perhaps the accipiter was content with starlings, house sparrows, or doves.

American Tree Sparrow

Fox Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

Common Milkweed 

It rained most of Saturday, but today the weather was unseasonably mild with great light for photography. The temperatures eventually reached into the lower 60s, but it was still a little breezy so I didn't shed my jacket. I was a little surprised to find several dragonflies zipping along the trail. While briefly resting on a bench, a Cherry-faced Meadowhawk kept me company for a little awhile.

Cherry-faced Meadowhawk

Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Nov 1, 2015 7:00 AM - 9:45 AM
43 species

Canada Goose
Ring-necked Pheasant
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Sandhill Crane
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
American Kestrel
Blue Jay
American Crow
Horned Lark
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
European Starling
American Pipit
Cedar Waxwing
Lapland Longspur
American Tree Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
White-crowned Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Rusty Blackbird
House Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2015 Mike McDowell

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