― Roy Chapman Andrews
Dottie battled a tough case of pneumonia during the first part of May and missed an entire week's worth of birding. How unfair! She recovered with rest, but ended up with a gap on her spring warbler list and wasn't sure if she would be able to catch up to Sylvia and I. Fortunately, she returned to the Pheasant Branch creek corridor just before the 17th when we found 24 warbler species. However, she still missed Prothonotary Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, plus a few others.
To help make up for her warbler deficit, I suggested a road trip to Wyalusing State Park on Saturday to get warblers on territory like Cerulean, Kentucky, Prothonotary, and Yellow-throated. And then Sunday we could visit Madison's Lost City at the UW Arboretum for Hooded Warbler.
Our plan was an amazing success.
Not only did we get all of our target birds, we also found a singing Mourning Warbler perched on a tree branch. Mourning Warblers at the creek corridor seldom appear in the open or sing continuously from an unobstructed perch. This one, presumably on breeding territory, sang for several minutes before dropping back down to the understory to resume foraging for insects.
Long Valley Road, which runs from a campground to the boat landing on Glenn Lake, was decorated with stunning patches of Wood Phlox. Throughout our hike, singing Cerulean Warblers were nearly as common as American Redstarts. It's fortunate they're at least common somewhere as they are one of the fastest declining songbirds in the United States. When we arrived at the boat landing we immediately heard the song of a Prothonotary Warbler. We eventually spotted the bird as it resourcefully inspected parked car bumpers and grills for freshly killed insects.
It only took us a few minutes to locate a Hooded Warbler at the Lost City on Sunday. The dapper songster looked great through my spotting scope, but he wasn't close enough for decent portraiture. We ended up with 23 bird species during our brief visit, but it included a pair of Yellow-billed Cuckoos calling in the distance.
Pheasant Branch Creek Corridor
Sylvia had a field trip to lead around lunchtime, so Dottie and I returned to the creek corridor to find a very quiet scene. We walked the east leg, but only found a few wood warblers. I assured Dottie it wasn't too late for Blackpoll Warbler and she finally got to see one Monday morning.
Near the end of our Sunday outing, I discovered a pair of Six-spotted Tiger Beetles hunting on a log. Most other tiger beetle species prefer sandy habitats, but this particular one will patrol just about any flat surface along a woodland trail.
Six-spotted Tiger Beetle
Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
May 23, 2016 6:00 AM - 9:00 AM
Great Blue Heron
Great Crested Flycatcher
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Black-throated Green Warbler