"To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter... to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring — these are some of the rewards of the simple life."
― John Burroughs
Our first Black-and-white Warbler of spring has found its way to the creek corridor on its northward journey. They're one of my favorites, but then again I can probably say that for most of the wood warblers. It's interesting to ponder a bird's journey: did this particular warbler come from Florida or from somewhere in the northern regions of South America? Will it stay in Wisconsin or is it ultimately headed to Canada's boreal forest? That these small songbirds cover such long distances is one of the awe-inspiring miracles of migration.
This Common Nighthawk is leading the pack (see below map). It was discovered by a birder friend of mine who observed it flying into the creek corridor before sunrise. The nighthawk found a suitable branch high up in a tree to use as a roost and snoozed the entire day. Naturally, it might have traveled with other nighthawks that went unnoticed by observers elsewhere. Without having witnessed it flying in, it's difficult to say if anyone birding the creek corridor would have noticed this one. From the main path that runs along the creek, it appeared little more than a bump on a branch. After work, I went back to see if it was still there, opting for the upper trail from Parisi Park for a closer view.
Common Nighthawk sightings so far (2016)
It's astonishing how quickly the creek corridor's spring flowers have blossomed in the past week. It's also hard to believe April is nearly over and there's only another month or so left of migration. The phenology of the spring season follows a similar theme each year, but the details are always more nuanced. In the avian realm, some birds are early, some late, others are right on time; we might miss a particular species or discover a rarity. Similar observations can be made of most other flora and fauna at the conservancy. And the more springs experienced, the better one becomes at detecting subtle changes and shifts.
Great Blue Heron
Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Apr 26, 2016 6:30 AM - 9:30 AM
Great Blue Heron
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
All images © 2016 Mike McDowell