Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Rewards of Spring!

"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

Black-and-white Warbler

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.

Common Nighthawk

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)

Prairie Trillium

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.

Wild Ginger

Rue Anemone 

Wood Duck

Great Blue Heron

Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Apr 26, 2016 6:30 AM - 9:30 AM
65 species

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Great Blue Heron
Red-tailed Hawk
Sandhill Crane
Spotted Sandpiper
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Barred Owl
Chimney Swift
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
American Kestrel
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Kingbird
Blue Jay
American Crow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Louisiana Waterthrush
Northern Waterthrush
Black-and-white Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Palm Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Eastern Towhee
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
Purple Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2016 Mike McDowell

1 comment:

  1. Saw a male Yellow Warbler yesterday at Pheasant Branch and Orange Crowned and Palm. Also a female mink running along the creek bank. She had a beautiful "mink" coat. Also had a Rose Breasted Grosbeak at my feeder this morning. Hopefully it will start warming up for them tomorrow! Beautiful photos of the spring ephemerals.