Wednesday, March 30, 2016
A Chase within the Circle
Pheasant Branch Conservancy's Creek Corridor
It's a time of Golden-crowned Kinglets, Brown Creepers, and Winter Wrens along the creek corridor of Pheasant Branch Conservancy. The mornings have been chilly, but I like to arrive before sunrise. Even in the dark, the woods already brim with singing birds as they anticipate the sunrise. At this early hour the corridor owls might be finishing a nighttime meal. I feel fortunate whenever I manage to catch a quick glimpse of an owl retiring to its daytime roost. One time I was extremely lucky to happen upon a Barred Owl bathing in the creek.
Out at the North Fork marsh, a male Wood Duck guarded a box house and newly arrived Tree Swallows were doing much of the same. A pair of Sandhill Cranes patrolled the edges of the marsh and Eastern Meadowlarks proudly sang from the adjacent field.
I don't know the origin of the 7.5 mile radius used in eBird patch challenges, but mine is where I do around 99% of my birding. In fact, so far this year only 2 of my year birds were outside of it. In my circle I have Pheasant Branch Conservancy, Pope Farm Conservancy, Picnic Point, UW Arboretum, Owen Conservation Park, Governor Nelson State Park, and several spots where I can scope Lake Mendota. Sadly, Nine Springs is just a little too far to the east.
My 7.5 Mile Radius eBird Patch
On Monday Jim Schwarz found a Say's Phoebe at Goose Lake near Verona. Say's Phoebe is a western species that has only visited Wisconsin a mere handful of occasions in the past. Though I haven't chased a bird for a list tick in a very long time, Jim's sighting (red arrow) was just inside my circle so I decided to try for it yesterday after work.
Well, here it is! Wisconsin Life Bird # 323 and Dane County # 282. I got my ABA lifer in Arizona back in 2003. Actually, I'm not entirely sure these numbers are correct as it's been awhile since the last time I opened my Excel spreadsheet life list; there may be a few inadvertent omissions.
Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Mar 30, 2016 6:30 AM - 8:00 AM
Great Blue Heron
American Tree Sparrow
All images © 2016 Mike McDowell