Monday, September 04, 2017


"When summer gathers up her robes of glory, And, like a dream, glides away."

― Sarah Helen Whitman

Ah, September! For naturalists, it's the May of the fall season. Though at a casual glance the creek corridor still appears green and lush, conspicuous signs of Autumn are beginning to collect near our feet. Warbler migration has been a bit paltry since last Saturday, but we're still finding a few gems in the tree canopy. While birding with Sylvia a few days ago, we found our first-of-season Bay-breasted Warblers in a mixed-flock of other neotropical migratory birds.

The Creek Corridor

Olive-sided Flycatcher

After birding the creek corridor, I visited Deer Creek near my apartment and found Nashville and Tennessee Warblers foraging in an open patch of tall plants and wildflowers. I also spotted an Olive-sided Flycatcher on a branch of a nearby dead tree ― a much more cooperative avian subject compared to those zippy fall warblers!

Fantastic late summer colors ...

Stff Aster

Common Evening-primrose

Jack-in-the-Pulpit fruit

Sandhill Crane

In an open field near Deer Creek, I found a solitary Sandhill Crane basking in the late afternoon sunlight. It would walk a few steps, stop, preen, and then remain motionless for several minutes. I had to chuckle beneath my breath when the gawky crane tried to focus on a flying insect that was buzzing around its head. Perhaps it was trying to eat it, but the bug escaped death this time.

Invertebrates on the ground? Not so fortunate!

Eastern Gray Treefrog 

Again, it seems to be a banner summer for tree frogs. I don't know if I've gotten better at locating them and merely failed to see them in past, but even a casual inspection of large-leafed plants near water leads to their discovery. Having said that, other people are reporting tree frogs on the Wisconsin Naturalists Facebook page with increased regularity.

Buffalo Treehopper Ceresa taurina

Underwing Moth Catocala sp.

Ever since the solar eclipse, I've been facetiously pointing to the Moon in accusation saying "That's the one that did it ... that one, right there." As a longtime amateur astronomer, the Moon has been a favorite photographic subject of mine. I've recorded lunar eclipses, solar eclipses, earth glow, and every possible phase from hours old to full. Even an inexpensive beginner telescope will render crater and lunar maria in stunning detail.

The Moon

Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Sep 2, 2017 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
38 species

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Mourning Dove
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Cedar Waxwing
Black-and-white Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
American Redstart
Magnolia Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
House Finch
American Goldfinch

All images © 2017 Mike McDowell

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