July belongs to Summer

"He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature."


Compass Plant

Wildflower colors are on full display at Pheasant Branch Conservancy's prairie. I've been photographing like a fiend, but haven't taken much time to write. I'm a lazy blogger. Photography comes natural to me, but writing a supportive narrative requires more effort. It's especially true this time of year when I'm doing other outdoor activities. July is the month that best represents summer. It may seem like a slow time for birding, but there is plenty going on as can be witnessed from these photographs.

I continue to be impressed by the number of Dickcissels and Sedge Wrens present each time I visit Pheasant Branch Conservancy this summer. However, I'm a little concerned I didn't find any Clay-colored Sparrows during my last two outings. They abandoned the same areas last summer around this time, but I assumed that was due to drought because the Dickcissels did the same thing. It's a mystery.

I'm enjoying exploring the boundaries of my macro lens by taking super close-up photographs of wildflowers. Butterfly Milkweed takes on an entirely different feel from this perspective. To get any kind of focal depth at this magnification, I have to crank up the f-stop, which often leaves me with challenging shutter speeds for a hand-held camera. Like anything else worth doing, practice is key.

While searching for insects, I was pleased find over a dozen Dogbane Leaf Beetles foraging on Indian Hemp (Apocynum cannabinum). As beetles go, they're very docile little insects. Others will drop down to the ground, scamper away, fly off, etc., but not these guys. They remain stoically positioned on leaves almost as if to show off their striking iridescence.

Wildflowers galore!

Purple Coneflower



Butterfly Milkweed

Common Milkweed

Red Milkweed Beetle

Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat (female)

Hoary Vervain

Dogbane Leaf Beetle

Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Jul 4, 2013 6:30 AM - 9:30 AM
45 species

Ring-necked Pheasant 
Great Blue Heron 
Turkey Vulture 
Cooper's Hawk 
Sandhill Crane 
Mourning Dove 
Red-bellied Woodpecker 
Downy Woodpecker 
Eastern Wood-Pewee 
Willow Flycatcher 
Eastern Kingbird 
Blue Jay 
American Crow 
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 
Tree Swallow 
Barn Swallow 
Black-capped Chickadee 
White-breasted Nuthatch 
House Wren 
Sedge Wren 
Eastern Bluebird 
American Robin 
Gray Catbird 
Brown Thrasher 
European Starling 
Cedar Waxwing 
Common Yellowthroat 
Yellow Warbler 
Chipping Sparrow 
Field Sparrow 
Song Sparrow 
Swamp Sparrow 
Northern Cardinal 
Indigo Bunting 
Red-winged Blackbird 
Eastern Meadowlark 
Common Grackle 
Orchard Oriole 
Baltimore Oriole 
House Finch 
American Goldfinch 
House Sparrow 

All images © 2013 Mike McDowell