Sunday, October 02, 2016

It's Sparrow Season!

"Nature is one of the most underutilized treasures in life. It has the power to unburden hearts and reconnect to that inner place of peace."

― Janice Anderson

Lincoln's Sparrow

Sparrow migration is in full swing at the prairie parcel of Pheasant Branch Conservancy. The few birders who joined me this morning for Open Birding got to see 8 different native sparrow species:

Chipping Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

I was hoping for a Harris's Sparrow during our hike around the prairie, but so far most of them are still to our west and north in neighboring states; we need a strong west wind! It certainly isn't too late for those of us in southern Wisconsin, as I've observed this species at the conservancy mid to late October, and at least one time during November. This species has also been known to overwinter in Wisconsin from time to time.

White-crowned Sparrow

The colors are stunning when fall begins to overtake summer's still vibrant greens. The prairie is filled with an array of goldenrods, asters, and other wildflowers, but I was very pleased to find Stiff Gentian, which I don't believe I've ever observed at the conservancy before.

Oak leaves 

Stiff Gentian 

Though it's a favorite month for nature photography, I'm unsure how much time I'll be able to visit the prairie this October ― or how often I'll even want to. We're no longer open on Saturdays at Eagle Optics, so I work Monday through Friday every week now. It used to be nice having a day off during the middle of the work week when it's vastly easier to experience the solitude of the prairie: just me, blue sky, flowers, and birds.

Stiff Gentian

Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Oct 2, 2016 7:15 AM - 10:15 AM
45 species

Canada Goose
Ring-necked Pheasant
Red-tailed Hawk
Sandhill Crane
Wilson's Snipe
Ring-billed Gull
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Sedge Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Gray Catbird
European Starling
American Pipit
Cedar Waxwing
Orange-crowned Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Palm Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow
Field Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All © 2016 Mike McDowell

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