Monday, May 23, 2016

Yellow and Black in Green

"Always there has been an adventure just around the corner ― and the world is still full of corners."

― Roy Chapman Andrews

Kentucky Warbler

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.

Mourning Warbler

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.

Wood Phlox

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.

Hooded Warbler

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.

Wild Hyacinth

Canada Violet

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.

Maidenhair Fern


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
70 species

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Hooded Merganser
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Red-tailed Hawk
Sandhill Crane
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Willow Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
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
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Cedar Waxwing
Tennessee Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2016 Mike McDowell

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