Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Ends!

And that's it for 2015!

The birding year started with a Snowy Owl at Goose Pond ― what a great bird!

By the numbers it was an average year with 181 bird species at Pheasant Branch Conservancy over 149 outings. There were no rarities and no new species added to my patch list. I found 31 warbler species during spring migration along the creek corridor and got to see Black-throated Blue Warblers in both spring and fall. The breeding season was a bit of a bust and I missed nearly all of July on account of a muscle injury. Fortunately, with rest and physical therapy I recovered just in time for fall migration.

This blog celebrated its 10th anniversary in February. Though I thought for a while the decade mark would be a good stopping point, I ultimately decided to keep this blog going. The year at Pheasant Branch provided many opportunities for observing and photographing birds, wildflowers, and insects.

I made a couple of trips to Spring Green Preserve to photograph tiger beetles and my personal "Naturalist" highlight of the year was the Ghost Tiger Beetles near Buena Vista Grasslands:

Ghost Tiger Beetle

Other tiger beetle excursions included a great new spot for Punctured Tiger Beetles and the Sauk City Canoe Launch proved to be just as good as Spring Green Preserve for species diversity.

Digiscoping-wise, my favorite portrait was this Indigo Bunting countersinging with another nearby male at the prairie parcel of Pheasant Branch Conservancy:

Indigo Bunting

I was also pleased with this Lark Sparrow portrait taken at Spring Green Preserve:

Lark Sparrow

The overall birding highlight for 2016 was the Northern Saw-whet Owl Sylvia Marek found across the street form her house:

Northern Saw-whet Owl

What an adorable bird!

A fall lunar eclipse was pretty exciting:

Lunar Eclipse

And for 2016? I hope to try and find the last five tiger beetle species I need for Wisconsin to complete my photography list. Apart from that I'll keep birding and exploring at Pheasant Branch Conservancy, Pope Farm Conservancy, and Spring Green Preserve. I will continue to blog. There will be field trips, open birding, and lots of great birds and other wonders of the natural realm to experience and share. Most of all, though, I hope to stay healthy.

All the best to you and yours in 2016!

Happy New Year!

All images © 2015 Mike McDowell


  1. As always some wonderful insight and incredible images, thanks for sharing.

  2. I wish you a happy new year in good health.
    Please keep on blogging.