Sunday, September 18, 2016

Three to go!

Tomorrow River, Portage County

I was too ill to accompany Mark Johnson last weekend as he picked up his lifer Twelve-spotted Tiger Beetle Cicindela duodecimguttata. I got it yesterday, though! Mark decided to come with me because he wasn't completely satisfied with the photographs he got on his first trip. The scene of the bug is a crushed limestone path intersecting the Tomorrow River just north of Amherst. Looking either north or south from the path was like experiencing two different seasons. To the south, summer was holding on, but to the north I could see hints of fall approaching.

September is a great time of the year to search for tiger beetles, but since they don't live for very long I was a little worried they wouldn't be there. Mark had seen at least a dozen or so individuals, so I was fairly optimistic some of them would still be alive. And so they were. We found several of the tiger beetles, alive and well, hunting on the path within minutes of arriving at the spot.

Twelve-spotted Tiger Beetle Cicindela duodecimguttata

Now there are only three Wisconsin tiger beetle species I haven't seen:

Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle Cicindela patruela
Boreal Long-lipped Tiger Beetle Cicindela longilabris longilabris
Cow Path Tiger Beetle Cicindela purpurea purpurea

Note: you can see all 16 species at Mike Reese's website.

I think I'm probably done with tiger beetles for the season; it's nice to save something new for the following year. I confess that I've been feeling unmotivated to do much of any digiscoping this summer. Perhaps that will change once sparrows from the north return to the prairie. Though I've had an inordinate fondness for tiger beetles since I was a boy, documenting them has been a nice break from bird photography. I've photographed nearly 300 bird species and it can get old. It takes a lot of time and energy to prepare and produce a blog post about birds and birding and there are many other fascinating things to see and do at Wisconsin's awesome natural areas. Plus, it's very relaxing hitting the trail carrying only a binocular, which is what I've been doing this summer.

Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Sep 18, 2016 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM
51 species

Wood Duck
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Sandhill Crane
Ring-billed Gull
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Eastern Phoebe
Yellow-throated Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Philadelphia Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Swainson's Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Cedar Waxwing
Northern Waterthrush
Golden-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Northern Parula
Magnolia Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
White-throated Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch

All images © 2016 Mike McDowell

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