Sunday, May 15, 2016

Days of May

"Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it."

― W. Somerset Maugham

Gray-cheeked Thrush

The month birders endure all winter for passes far too quickly; we're already halfway through May! The birding at Pheasant Branch Conservancy has been very good, but I kind of wish we could have a repeat of what happened in 2014. Conditions were somewhat similar this May, but lacked the sustained rainy weather along with cold temperatures. Having said that, what's good for bird photography isn't necessarily good for birds.

The forests are filled with verdant green leaves and the dense layers conceal many of the small songbirds birders wish to see. The fresh spring colors glow in the afternoon sunlight and a hike in the woods listening to birdsong is relaxing by just those simple merits. You wouldn't think an owl would be out and about at such a time, but they do have young to feed. Look carefully at the beak of this Barred Owl as it appears to have recently dispatched prey.

Barred Owl

May is a time for flowers ...

Wood Anemone 

Jacob's Ladder

Wood Phlox

And butterflies ...

Pearl Crescent

And tiger beetles!

My first tiger beetle of 2016 was this Six-spotted Tiger Beetle found at Pope Farm Conservancy one day last week. Later that same day, Mark Johnson and I checked out the action at the Sauk City Canoe Launch and found a few other species. In addition to Big Sand Tiger Beetle, there was Oblique-lined, Festive, and Bronzed.

Six-spotted Tiger Beetle

Six-spotted Tiger Beetle

Big Sand Tiger Beetle

Big Sand Tiger Beetle

Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
May 15, 2016 5:45 AM - 9:45 AM
78 species

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Great Blue Heron
Red-tailed Hawk
Sandhill Crane
Spotted Sandpiper
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Yellow-throated Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Swainson's Thrush
Wood Thrush
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
Northern Waterthrush
Golden-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Northern Parula
Magnolia Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Palm Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Canada Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Eastern Towhee
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2016 Mike McDowell