Gloomy and Cold Weather

I saw a thin fresh layer of snow on the ground looking out the window early this morning, but I know it will melt well before the end of the day. At present, temperatures are in the low thirties with freezing rain. The gloomy weather this past week in my neck of the woods hasn't been very conducive for bird photography or very suitable for bird migration. However, last night's southerly winds helped push birds into Wisconsin.

My expectations for new spring arrivals was pretty low when I hit the trail yesterday at the conservancy. I found only one Yellow-rumped Warbler, a couple of Hermit Thrushes, two singing Winter Wrens, a handful of Golden-crowned Kinglets, and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. The Eastern Phoebes were foraging for insects low to the ground. I hope they're finding enough to eat in this unseasonably cold weather.

The serenading songs of Fox Sparrow were definitely a highlight I enjoyed throughout my walk. The confluence ponds are open and attracting an assortment of waterfowl. The durable winter birds, however, were preoccupied with spring concerns, especially Black-capped Chickadees, excavating cavities in old tree stumps.

The creek corridor Great Horned Owl pair are once again using the large oval cavity in the dead cottonwood tree. The photograph above shows the youngsters from last year. This is the third consecutive year that the owls have used this particular cavity, but an owl expert told me they don't usually reuse them year after year. I guess it's hard to give up a good thing!

Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Apr 13, 2013 7:30 AM - 9:00 AM
50 species

Canada Goose 
Wood Duck 
Lesser Scaup 
Pied-billed Grebe 
Great Blue Heron 
Cooper's Hawk 
Sandhill Crane 
Rock Pigeon 
Mourning Dove 
Great Horned Owl 
Belted Kingfisher 
Red-bellied Woodpecker 
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 
Downy Woodpecker 
Hairy Woodpecker 
Northern Flicker 
American Kestrel 
Eastern Phoebe 
Blue Jay 
American Crow 
Black-capped Chickadee 
Tufted Titmouse 
White-breasted Nuthatch 
Brown Creeper 
Winter Wren 
Carolina Wren 
Golden-crowned Kinglet 
Eastern Bluebird 
Hermit Thrush 
American Robin 
European Starling 
Cedar Waxwing 
Yellow-rumped Warbler 
Savannah Sparrow 
Fox Sparrow 
Song Sparrow 
Dark-eyed Junco 
Northern Cardinal 
Red-winged Blackbird 
Eastern Meadowlark 
Common Grackle 
Brown-headed Cowbird 
Purple Finch 
House Finch 
Pine Siskin 
American Goldfinch 
House Sparrow

All images © 2013 Mike McDowell