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.

Wood Duck

Tree Swallow

Feather check!

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.

Say's Phoebe

Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Mar 30, 2016 6:30 AM - 8:00 AM
53 species

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Green-winged Teal
Hooded Merganser
Wild Turkey
Pied-billed Grebe
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
American Kestrel
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Winter Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Yellow-rumped Warbler
American Tree Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2016 Mike McDowell

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