Sunday, March 04, 2018

Early March Birding!

"What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another."

― Chris Maser

Pope Farm Conservancy

After my somewhat unproductive visit to the prairie parcel of Pheasant Branch yesterday, I decided this morning I'd try Pope Farm Conservancy for songbird portraits. What a profound difference! I observed at least four times the species, plus the birds themselves seemed much more at ease. The weather was about the same, but there were far fewer people and no dogs. If you think dogs should be banned from the prairie parcel of Pheasant Branch, please do me a favor and let the President of Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy, Lloyd Eagan, know it:

When I got up to the centrally located oak patch, I heard calls and songs of Eastern Bluebirds, American Robins, Red-winged Blackbirds, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, and Song Sparrows. A few Horned Larks were chasing one another around the hill and a couple of American Crows seemed to be disagreeable over something in one of the trees. A cool breeze added to the perfection of the moment. I think seasonal transitions in Wisconsin are one of our state's finest qualities―I'll never move away from our springs.

Song Sparrow

Regardless of the time of year, there's a spot on the northwest side of the oaks that always seems to have a lot of sparrow activity, and today was no different. Though early in spring migration, expected individuals were present, including a few Dark-eyed Juncos. A few American Tree Sparrows preened away in the warmth of the early morning sunlight. I was hoping to get a nice photograph of a Song Sparrow singing, and this little fella (above) didn't let me down. He was busy counter-singing with 3 or 4 other nearby males.

American Tree Sparrow

Eastern Bluebird

Apart from the Townsend's Solitaire, which is still being seen at the UW Arboretum, Eastern Bluebirds and American Robins are the only two thrushes I've seen so far this year. Naturally, these two species often overwinter in Wisconsin, but their numbers are beginning to increase on account of southern birds heading north. We do occasionally get an overwintering Hermit Thrush, but they'll be back in good numbers in a few more weeks.

American Robin

And why not take a few more photographs of Red-winged Blackbirds? Yeah, they'll just be blackbirds as other migratory birds pour into southern Wisconsin, but for now they make gorgeous portraits singing their konk-la-reeee songs.

Red-winged Blackbird

Admiring lichens on the rock fence reminds me that tiger beetle season isn't far off. Why? Recall a recent visit with Splendid Tiger Beetles! But before Splendid there will be Six-spotted.

Pope Farm Conservancy, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Mar 4, 2018 7:45 AM - 9:45 AM
27 species

Canada Goose
Wild Turkey
Red-tailed Hawk
Sandhill Crane
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Horned Lark
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
European Starling
American Tree Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Eastern Meadowlark
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Common Grackle
House Finch
Pine Siskin

All images © 2018 Mike McDowell

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