Sunday, October 23, 2016

October Finale

"Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale."

― Lauren DeStefano

And a beautiful finale it was. Once again we were privileged to have absolutely gorgeous weather over the weekend. On Saturday I spent most of the morning photographing brilliant fall colors at Pheasant Branch Conservancy. Naturally, there was birding to be done, too.

There seemed to be fewer White-crowned and White-throated Sparrows, but a slight uptick in Fox Sparrows. As Sunday's outing demonstrated, sparrow diversity is still exceptionally good at the prairie right now. Actually, I think even more migrants might have moved in during the night.

White-crowned Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

Fox Sparrow

After birding, I decided to drive up to Devil's Lake State Park for more fall foliage photography. According to the Wisconsin Fall Color Report, Sauk County is presently right about at peak. I wasn't disappointed. As I expected, given the nice weather, hundreds of people had the same idea. It was the most crowded at the park I've ever witnessed. There was a veritable line of people ascending Balanced Rock Trail to the top of the east bluff.

Once at the top, I found a nice spot to capture the dramatic scenery...

Looking east.

Looking west.

Rock Lichens

Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Oct 22, 2016 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
41 species

Canada Goose
Ring-necked Pheasant
Cooper's Hawk
Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
Sandhill Crane
Ring-billed Gull
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Horned Lark
Tree Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Winter Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Gray Catbird
American Pipit
Cedar Waxwing
Field Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
White-crowned Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2016 Mike McDowell

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