"The world is its own magic."
― Shunryu Suzuki
Once again we opened the creek corridor's treasure chest and found riches in the form of feathered creatures. This time was a reunion of sorts. Sylvia was back from her two-month stay in Florida and Dottie was well enough for a hike after battling bronchitis. Though it was a cold day, the warming sun and sprightly birds kept us from feeling the chill.
More Hermit Thrushes have arrived at the corridor. They'll spend a little time here before continuing on to the northern forests to breed. When foraging, sometimes they'll toss leaves aside to expose an insect's escape route. Occasionally they'll stir up insects by quivering one foot against grass or leaves. I've also noticed that Hermit Thrushes tend to survey for food items from a foot or so above the ground. Spying a morsel from above, they quickly hop down and grab it with their beak. Watching the direction one particular thrush was taking on the forest floor, I looked ahead for perches I thought it might use and waited.
Golden-crowned Kinglets were grounded once again on account of the low temperatures. How low? It was a frosty 18 degrees F. when I first hit the trail at 7:00 AM. Fortunately for the kinglets there were tiny insects to be found on sticks and wood chips.
Eastern Phoebes held the demeanor of birds who have seen it all before this season. Enduring some particularly nasty weather the past few weeks they were less vocal, but still in prime shape.
Yellow-rumped Warblers were foraging throughout the corridor trail. Their check calls were omnipresent during the hours of our outing. Though I had seen some earlier in the month, these were Dottie's first YRWAs of spring. Never underestimate the incredible healing power of Nature ― she didn't cough once!
Like other insectivorous birds, the warblers scoured the ground for food. Migratory birds can survive during freezing conditions so long as they keep eating to generate heat-producing energy. With the warming trend next week, many songbirds will return to the treetops once midges and other insects hatch. Tree buds look ready to burst. South winds will help bring more feathered treasures. Will you be there to welcome them back?
Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Apr 9, 2016 7:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Great Blue Heron
Great Horned Owl
All images © 2016 Mike McDowell