Sunday, July 31, 2016

July Ends!

Sedge Wren at Pheasant Branch Conservancy

And that's it for July!

Recall the Sedge Wren Enigma?

One thing that hadn't occurred to me is that the July population upswing of Sedge Wrens at Pheasant Branch Conservancy might be related to the mowing of nearby fields. I think that makes more sense versus the wrens having two broods at different locations. Though they often do have a second brood, why move away from good nesting habitat?

A few weeks ago, Curt Caslavka visited the grassland fields at Middleton Airport to check on the Bobolinks. Fortunately, their young had fledged, but he noticed a half dozen or more singing Sedge Wrens. We didn't hear any Sedge Wrens during the June 5th field trip, but perhaps they hadn't yet arrived. The farmer with the mowing contract can only do so after July 15th in order to protect the Bobolinks. With that date just around the corner (at the time), Curt and I both surmised that the wren's would likely lose their nests along with any eggs or young. Unfortunately, neither of us feel we would be able to get the mowing date pushed even further into August, so saving the Bobolinks at this nesting site is probably the best we can do.

Pheasant Branch Conservancy is only 2 miles away from the airport fields. If the wrens dispersed after mowing, I think it follows that some of them might find their way to the prairie. Whatever the case may be, we typically find fledged Sedge Wrens at the prairie late August to early September. This morning the males were singing like crazy near the retention ponds. At least at the conservancy their efforts will not be in vain.

Purple Coneflower

Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Jul 31, 2016 8:45 AM - 10:45 AM
53 species

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Ring-necked Pheasant
Green Heron
Turkey Vulture
Sandhill Crane
Spotted Sandpiper
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Willow Flycatcher
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
Sedge Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2016 Mike McDowell

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