Sunday, September 25, 2016

Late September Birding

"Ah, September! You are the doorway to the season that awakens my soul... but I must confess that I love you only because you are a prelude to my beloved October."

― Peggy Toney Horton

Gray-cheeked Thrush

It was another incredible weekend of birding at the creek corridor of Pheasant Branch Conservancy. We got to see a male Black-throated Blue Warbler (a favorite), plus a wonderful variety of vireos, thrushes, and other warblers. I was surprised to find Wood Thrush, Veery, Swainson's Thrush, and Gray-cheeked Thrush during our outing―that rarely happens during fall migration. One thrush species was missing, but I haven't seen any Hermit Thrushes yet this fall. In any case, the experience was a fond farewell to songbirds we won't see again until spring.

Spiny Puffball

The light wasn't particularly good for bird photography today, so I decided to photograph some of the neat mushrooms we found on the forest floor. Actually, I did this during a second trip to the creek corridor just after a brief rain shower. While sitting on the ground and preparing my camera, I spotted something out of the corner of my eye. To my astonishment, an Ovenbird walked by just several feet away. I didn't want to frighten it, so I sat perfectly still until it was about a dozen feet from me. I slowly lifted my bins so I could continue to admire its foraging strategy. I resumed photographing mushrooms once the little ground warbler was out of sight.

Gilled mushroom of some variety.

Amanita muscaria

Amanita muscaria

Ramaria sp.

Ramaria sp.

Though I'll likely skip birding Monday morning, I'm probably finished with the creek corridor for the season. Sparrow migration is underway and I would like to try and find a Harris's Sparrow at the prairie parcel. No doubt, many of the sparrows are there already, like Clay-colored, Lincoln's, Savannah, Field, Vesper, White-throated, and White-crowned. Sadly, my energy level and overall motivation is still somewhat low and I don't feel completely recovered from having the flu a few weeks ago. Hopefully a few visits to the prairie this week will provide the necessary inspiration.

Smooth Aster

Happy Fall!

Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Sep 24, 2016 10:00 AM - 12:45 PM
48 species

Red-tailed Hawk
Mourning Dove
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Eastern Phoebe
Blue-headed Vireo
Philadelphia Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
House Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Swainson's Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Cedar Waxwing
Northern Waterthrush
Black-and-white Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Northern Parula
Magnolia Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rusty Blackbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch

All images © 2016 Mike McDowell


  1. Wonderful photos of the fungi! They are so fascinating. Thanks for reminding me to go look for them!

  2. Thanks! They were fun to photograph!