Sunday, April 09, 2017

South Winds!

"I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures."

― Geronimo

We've been fortunate to have south winds the past few days, which has warmed the air, the ground, and brought millions of migratory birds into Wisconsin. Flowers are beginning to bloom, too. My first wildflower of the year was these lovely Pasque Flowers at the prairie remnant of Pheasant Branch Conservancy. Other citizen naturalists in our state have found Bloodroot, Round-lobed Hepatica, Prairie Smoke, and others. Yes, some tiger beetles have emerged, but I'll save that for late May and the summer months.

Pasque Flower

There wasn't a prescribed burn at the prairie this spring. Incidentally, this is one of the finest displays of Pasque Flowers I've seen in the past several years. When I take time to photograph wildflowers (or anything for that matter) I try to make them as good as I possibly can. I want them to be good enough so that whenever I refer back to them, they evoke nearly the same emotion as being there. Of course, it's never exactly the same, but there is a sense of joie de vivre the images keep giving to me, and hopefully to you.

A little closer...

I love using my macro lens.

A serenading sparrow kept me company while I photographed the flowers. As near as I could tell, this was the only Field Sparrow at the drumlin. Well, there may have been others, but I didn't hear any other singers. If he is the first, he has the pick of the patch in selecting a territory to defend. He and his future mate will have a lot of work to do over the course of spring and summer.

Field Sparrow

Beautiful wispy clouds...

Meanwhile, mornings are being spent birding along the creek corridor in search of returning warblers. The NEXRAD image below shows nocturnal migration Saturday night. On account of this, our expectations were high for Sunday morning.

We expected new arrivals, and new arrivals are what we got! I estimate there was at least a threefold increase in Yellow-rumped Warblers. After much searching I found a single Pine Warbler. My birding companions were thrilled to have Winter Wren, Carolina Wren, Purple Finch, Pileated Woodpecker, and the Pine Warbler just minutes apart. It was just after this moment Dottie exclaimed: "I'm so glad I'm not a Muggle!"

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Pine Warbler

Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Apr 9, 2017 7:00 AM - 10:15 AM
55 species

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Hooded Merganser
Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Cooper's Hawk
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
American Kestrel
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Winter Wren
Carolina Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
White-throated Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
Purple Finch
American Goldfinch

All images © 2017 Mike McDowell

1 comment:

  1. Especially enjoyed the flower macro. Viewing it full I almost felt like a bee :)