Sunday, August 28, 2016

Drizzle & Fog

Pheasant Branch Conservancy creek corridor

It was a drizzly Saturday and foggy Sunday, at least for most of the morning. Despite the weather conditions, my birding party found a nice assortment of warblers over the weekend. Today was a little better than Saturday with 11 warbler species (see checklist below). Poor lighting was not favorable for digiscoping, so I carried only my Nikon 1 V1 and smaller lenses in my backpack as we hiked the creek corridor trails in search of our feathered quarry.

Dottie mentioned that the creek corridor reminds her of Peru this time of year. And like Peru, it would be quiet for awhile and then suddenly burst with mixed songbird flocks, frenetically foraging high up in the tree canopy. We didn't get great views of the spritely birds, but were still able to observe identifiable field marks for faded Blackburnian Warblers, fall plumaged Chestnut-sided Warblers, and diminutive appearing Tennessee Warblers. I can identify some of the warblers by chip note, or at least separate any warbler vocalization from the resident songbirds.

Finally! I found my first Buffalo Treehopper Stictocephala bisonia of summer. It was grasping to cup plant Silphium perfoliatum, which the tiny green insect extracts sap using its mouthparts. I also found a few more Red-banded Leafhoppers Graphocephala coccinea, but didn't take time to photograph them. Still, apart from mosquitoes, there continues to be a dearth of interesting insects.

Buffalo Treehopper Stictocephala bisonia

There are numerous wildflowers along the trail, the most prolific this time of year being Yellow Jewelweed Impatiens pallida. Orange Jewelweed Impatiens capensis is also present but less common in the woodland sections of the conservancy. There are only a few patches of Obedient Plant Physostegia virginiana, with the largest just after the first bridge going west from Park Street.

Yellow Jewelweed Impatiens pallida

It wasn't a highly productive weekend in terms of photography, but it sure was enjoyable sifting through the warbler flocks with my friends. I'll probably skip birding Monday morning, but hope to get out a few mornings before next weekend.

Obedient Plant Physostegia virginiana

Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Aug 28, 2016 7:00 AM - 11:00 AM
48 species

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Great Blue Heron
Cooper's Hawk
Sandhill Crane
Ring-billed Gull
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Great Crested Flycatcher
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Cedar Waxwing
Northern Waterthrush
Blue-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Magnolia Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2016 Mike McDowell

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