Monday, February 26, 2018

A Few Firsts!

"Patience is to wait for the ice to melt instead of breaking it."

― Munia Khan

Pheasant Branch Conservancy

Warmer temperatures and a Saturday rainstorm melted most of our snow; the creek corridor has transformed into a whitewater rapids ― it's actually somewhat dangerous. It's just a few days before March, which is the month a good share of spring birding fun truly begins in southern Wisconsin. Spring migration is underway! On Friday I saw my first Sandhill Cranes of the year, calling and flying over Middleton, heading toward the conservancy's marsh.

Naturally, the dramatic change in weather has brought multitudes joggers, hikers, and dog walkers back to the trails. As per usual, many leash ordinance violators were observed and documented. The Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy is preparing to advise Dane County Parks Commission whether or not they'll recommend banning dogs from the conservancy’s prairie parcel. In a few more weeks we'll know if what's popular supersedes what's right. And what's right? A nature conservancy is not a dog park, but that's what has become of Pheasant Branch's awesome prairie and oak savanna.

Pine Siskin

As for winter's finches, we'll soon be saying farewell to the redpolls, but the siskins will probably stay with us a little longer. I found a decent number of both species along the Conservancy Condo's bird feeders on Sunday, but a hungry Cooper's Hawk flew through and scattered them before I was finished taking photographs.

House Finch

Woodpeckers continue to be very active, calling and tapping...

Downy Woodpecker

The first Red-winged Blackbirds have returned...

Red-winged Blackbirds

And just a couple of ear-tufts protruding from the Great Horned Owl's nest...

Great Horned Owl

Some other subjects...

Eastern Gray Squirrel

My first insect photograph of the year...

Woollybear Caterpillar

A sign from last year's growing season...

Common Milkweed

And still looking for any of the conservancy's Barred Owls ... where are they?

Barred Owl

Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Feb 25, 2018 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
33 species

Canada Goose
Ring-necked Pheasant
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Sandhill Crane
Herring Gull
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
American Kestrel
Blue Jay
American Crow
Horned Lark
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Carolina Wren
American Robin
Cedar Waxwing
American Tree Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
White-throated Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
House Finch
Common Redpoll
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2018 Mike McDowell

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