Sunday, August 27, 2017

Warbler Wave One!

"The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last for ever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year ― the days when summer is changing into autumn  the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change."

― E.B. White, Charlotte's Web


Black-throated Blue Warbler 

Returning to the Pheasant Branch creek corridor for fall warbler migration is always one of the year's birding highlights, but it's also a little sorrowful to see them go. It'll be several months before we see them again. Dottie, Sylvia, and I came up with 12 warbler species Saturday morning, including a female Black-throated Blue Warbler. For how knitted our relationships are with birds, I feel like it's our duty to see them off as they journey southward to Central and South America. And don't let anyone tell you warblers are all yellow and green this time of year! Many are still in breeding plumage in late August and early September.

Here are the other warblers we observed:

Blue-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
American Redstart
Magnolia Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Canada Warbler
Wilson's Warbler

It seems this particular batch of wood warblers has been present at least since Sylvia encountered them on Friday, but not everyone who visits the corridor is skilled enough to locate them. Overcast skies and dense woodland foliage make finding and viewing them rather challenging. They're no longer singing, so we tend to rely on raucous Black-capped Chickadees to direct us toward the warbler flocks ― where chickadees find food, so do the warblers. Having said that, at least one Chestnut-sided Warbler was singing a fragmented version of its spring song.


Red-banded Leafhopper Graphocephala coccinea

Between the frenetic warbler waves, I focused my macro lens to hopper insects and wildflowers. Finally ... it's beginning to look like a good hopper summer; there were increased numbers of Buffalo Treehoppers and Red-banded Leafhoppers. However, I still haven't observed many enchenopa species.


Buffalo Treehopper Ceresa taurina


Two-horned Treehopper Ceresa diceros


Two-stripped Planthopper Acanalonia bivittata


Bumble Bee Bombus sp.

Though at present there is a lot of wildflower-yellow along the creek corridor, there are red, purple, pink, and blue highlights punctuating the garish cadmium hues. Soon, though, it will be asters and goldenrods galore.


Obedient Plant Physostegia virginiana


Gaura Gaura biennis 


Great Blue Lobelia Lobelia siphilitica


Wild Cucumber Echinocystis lobata 

And yet again I found tree frogs resting on leaves, this time those of Wild Cucumber. The cucumber vines are having a banner growing season and are covering a lot of habitat along the creek corridor, but I've seen far worse. It's an aggressive native plant, but at least it serves to provide these adorable frogs a place to spend their day.


Eastern Gray Treefrog Hyla sp.

Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Aug 26, 2017 7:30 AM - 11:30 AM
41 species (+1 other taxa)

Great Blue Heron
Red-tailed Hawk
Ring-billed Gull
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Empidonax sp.
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Cedar Waxwing
Blue-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
American Redstart
Magnolia Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Canada Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch

All images © 2017 Mike McDowell

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