Saturday, February 27, 2016

They're back!

"I enjoy the spring more than the autumn now. One does, I think, as one gets older."

― Virginia Woolf

Red-winged Blackbird

It certainly felt like spring today. Early migrants have been taking full advantage of the warm weather pushing in from the south over the past few days. Red-winged Blackbirds are beginning to move into the marsh and prairie, but thus far only in small numbers. Though in a few months they'll take a back seat to the swarms of neotropical migratory birds, it's nearly impossible to overindulge in listening to the first soulful konk-la-ree songs.

American Robin

Now that we're free of snow (for the moment) in most places, American Robins have taken to foraging on the ground. I think it's too early to say we're in the clear ― another snowstorm (or two) before April is more likely than not. Never worry for the robins, as there's still plenty of fruit and berry trees for them should winter resurge and linger.

Song Sparrow

A few Song Sparrows successfully overwintered at the prairie and they're already beginning to sing their sparkling spring songs. I think they need a little practice, but their voices were at least recognizable. Once the masses arrive, they'll sing with even more gusto and recognition.


A Merlin perched on a post along Balzer Road seemed interested in a small flock of Horned Larks. Balancing on one foot, its tail was bobbing in the wind as it scanned its surroundings. It suddenly took off, did a big loop and headed toward the prairie. Perhaps its keen vision discovered a more delectable meal across the fields.

Canada Goose

The ice on the ponds can't melt fast enough for this Canada Goose!

Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Feb 27, 2016 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
38 species

Cackling Goose
Canada Goose
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Pheasant
Turkey Vulture
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Sandhill Crane
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Horned Lark
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
American Tree Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
White-crowned Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
House Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2016 Mike McDowell