Monday, March 12, 2018

Snow, Robins, and Muddy Trails

"Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone."

― Alan W. Watts

American Robin

A blast of wintery weather dumped six inches of snow on southern Wisconsin about a week ago. It's mostly melted and that has made the trails pretty muddy. I spent about an hour today cleaning all my hiking shoes and boots that were caked in dry mud. When the ground was snow-covered, American Robins quickly found various fruit trees at Greenway Station, about a block from my apartment. It didn't take long for them to strip the branches. Ya just gotta love plump robins!

Along with the snow, Northwest winds have put a bit of a damper on bird migration. The rush of songbirds from a few weeks ago tapered to a trickle. Things probably won't pick up again until the weekend. Expect Eastern Phoebes and Fox Sparrows! The only new species I saw on Sunday was a Pileated Woodpecker. But this bird has been hanging out at Pheasant Branch for several weeks, as reported by other birders. Though the woodpecker flew over the creek corridor, perhaps its nesting territory is outside the conservancy.

House Finch

Newly arriving Song Sparrows are occupying suitable habitat wherever they happen to find it. This could be anything from a grassy ditch to a high quality prairie. The birder ought to be astonished by the adaptable generalist sparrow, but it's often the rare specialist bird that makes more of an impression. For the most part, returning common birds are ticked and forgotten, and yet there is much to learn from successful species.

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow


We're rapidly approaching mid-March. Beginning on the 19th, I'll be commuting from Middleton to Barneveld for work, giving me less time for morning and evening birding. As I wrote several months back, this will likely impact how much time I can spend in the field collecting content for this blog. I'll do what I can, but I expect my output to decrease. To maximize my time enjoying birds, I might stick to observational outings on weekdays and save nature photography for the weekend. Thus, instead of 8 to 10 posts per month, it'll probably decrease to around 4 to 5. Having said that, one of the best things about my new job is that I can take off the second week of May!

A blog there will continue to be!

Wood Duck

Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Mar 11, 2018 9:40 AM - 12:25 PM
28 species

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Red-tailed Hawk
Sandhill Crane
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
American Kestrel
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
American Robin
European Starling
Dark-eyed Junco
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
House Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2018 Mike McDowell

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