Sunday, September 17, 2017


"You don't make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved."

― Ansel Adams

It's less than a week until the Autumnal Equinox, but already the trees along the creek corridor are beginning to display a variety of brilliant fall colors. In some areas the transformation from green to golden has seemed rather abrupt. Though there are perhaps millions of songbirds yet to travel south across Wisconsin, I sense that peak warbler migration is behind us. Even so, I'm still finding Golden-winged, Black-and-white, Chestnut-sided, and many other wood warblers at the corridor. Soon, though, there will be more Palms and Yellow-rumps bringing up the rear of the warbler parade.

Pheasant Branch Creek Corridor

I feel I've been fortunate to find several Black-throated Blue Warblers this fall migration, with nearly an equal ratio of males to females. Typically, I encounter perhaps just one or two of this species each fall, but by plumage I can confidently state that there were three individual females and four different males. There are subtle differences in the size and shape of the white dash on the wing and feather wear for clues to determining uniqueness.

Black-throated Blue Warbler (female)

Young Common Yellowthroats are quite numerous around the confluence ponds west of Deming Way. I'm uncertain whether these are newly arrived migrants or dispersed birds that were raised this summer in the marsh adjacent to the ponds. There's really no way to know for certain, but it's fun to speculate and imagine. What a gorgeous little bird! It's my contention that the fall plumage of this male yellowthroat is more stunning than adults in breeding plumage.

Common Yellowthroat

For waterfowl the ponds held Mallards, Northern Shovelers, Wood Ducks, and Blue-winged Teal.

Blue-winged Teal

Wood Duck

Wood Duck

And Green Herons! Such adorable and gawky critters, they are.

Green Heron

Spring Green Preserve

On Saturday, and for the second year, I led a tiger beetle field trip at Spring Green Preserve for Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin and The Nature Conservancy. My mission was to have each participant see as many tiger beetle species as I could find. We were fortunate to see Big Sand, Festive, Oblique-lined, Punctured, Splendid, and Common Claybank. With the recent discovery of Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle at the preserve, six out of eleven is pretty good given the time of year. Virginia Metallic Tiger Beetle is primarily nocturnal, Ghost Tiger Beetle hasn't been seen there for several years, and Six-spotted are generally more plentiful during spring.

Link: Tiger Beetles of Wisconsin

Big Sand Tiger Beetle

Punctured Tiger Beetle

Splendid Tiger Beetle

Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Sep 17, 2017 8:02 AM - 10:15 AM
48 species

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Bald Eagle
Sandhill Crane
Ring-billed Gull
Mourning Dove
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Eastern Phoebe
Yellow-throated Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Carolina Wren
Swainson's Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Northern Waterthrush
Golden-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Magnolia Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
American Goldfinch

All images © 2017 Mike McDowell

1 comment:

  1. Yesterday morning in the creek corridor, in addition to a few warblers, I also saw an immature Black Billed Cuckoo. He even sat right in front of me and looked at me for a few seconds. I had never seen an immature one before.