Monday, May 08, 2017

Orioles are back!

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts."

― Rachel Carson

Baltimore Oriole

Here in southern Wisconsin the beauty of spring is bursting all around us in a myriad ways. We have favorable winds for bird migration, but once again, it won't last for very long. Along with various warblers, vireos, and flycatchers, Baltimore Orioles returned to the conservancy over the weekend. Most of the warblers will keep flying north, but the orioles will spend the summer along the creek corridor. We are ready for the next wave of feathered migrants!

Indian Lake Park

I spent the weekend birding and exploring Pheasant Branch Conservancy as well as other nearby natural areas: Pope Farm Conservancy, UW Arboretum, Indian Lake Park, and Baxter's Hollow in the Baraboo Hills. As you can see from these Indian Lake Park photographs, our weather was absolutely gorgeous. Dottie, Sylvia, and I scoured the trails for interesting wildflowers while listening for birds. There were a few Ovenbirds and Yellow Warblers, but we were hoping to find Blue-winged Warblers on territory. I guess we were just a little early.

Indian Lake Park

Indian Lake Park

Rue Anemone

Yesterday we found a small mixed flock of warblers near the overlook parking lot along Pheasant Branch Road. There were nearly a dozen Yellow Warblers, a single Black-and-white Warbler, a very vocal Northern Parula, Common Yellowthroats, and a Nashville Warbler. At this same location I saw my first-of-year (FOY) Lincoln's Sparrow foraging along the gravel trail. Further down the path near the two bridges we found a Northern Waterthrush.

Black-and-white Warbler

Northern Waterthrush

By the way, it needn't be an open birding event if you want to come to the creek corridor and bird with me and my troupe birding friends. On any given morning during the first two weeks of May, there are almost always impromptu gatherings of birders that tag along with us. So, don't be afraid of bothering me. If I want to be alone, you won't be able to find me.

Prairie Trillium

Otter Creek at Baxter's Hollow

Now that we're nearing peak songbird migration, I sense the annual dilemma to bird light versus hauling all my photography gear along. Naturally, the less gear I'm carrying the easier it is for me to find and observe birds. But if I don't bring it, then I may not have much material to share for my blog. In any case, I'll do what I can to keep the posts coming. However, this week I have early morning field trips on Wednesday and Thursday, so I won't be carrying my digiscoping rig during those particular outings.

Spring Beauty

Spring Beauty

Jacob's Ladder

Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
May 7, 2017 6:29 AM - 10:41 AM
67 species

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Hooded Merganser
Wild Turkey
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Sandhill Crane
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
American Kestrel
Eastern Phoebe
Warbling Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Northern Waterthrush
Black-and-white Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Palm Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2017 Mike McDowell

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