Sunday, April 08, 2018


"The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper."

― W.B. Yeats

As expected, spring bird migration was stalled over the weekend. I don't expect to observe an avian upswing until later this week. Looking back through past early April blogs, already by this time Bloodroot and Pasque Flowers were open as well as spring ephemeral wildflowers at Baxter's Hollow in the Baraboo Hills. Opening temps on Saturday morning were in the mid-teens with wind chills dipping into single digits. Yikes! This is astonishingly cold for early April in southern Wisconsin. I joked on social media that this is the last time this spring I'm going out with hand and toe warmers. Bundled up for winter weather, hiking eastward with the wind along the creek corridor trail was tolerable, but I knew it wasn't going to be as much fun going back.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Protected by a ravine, the creek corridor is somewhat blocked from wind. Still, I was ready to call it a morning in just under two hours of birding. Despite the unseasonably cold weather, I managed to find my first Yellow-rumped Warbler of spring migration―a rather drab individual. I heard its familiar check check chip notes and zeroed in on its location above me in the treetops. From experience, I know this species can handle the cold, but I do worry about any Tree Swallows that have returned. There wasn't a single phoebe to be found, either.

Pine Siskin

Pine Siskins continue to be numerous.

Carolina Wren

And the Carolina Wren was undeterred.

Brown Creeper

Here in Wisconsin, it's easy to cope with cold weather like this with a dash skepticism regarding anthropogenic climate disruption, as if we so easily forget that to our north there are extremely cool conditions this time of year. If northwest winds prevail, we're going to get a taste of that arctic air until another pressure system brings up warm gulf air. Nevertheless, the annual average global temperature continues to rise and all-time highs are beating out all-time lows. By the end of this week, temperatures will be back in the 50s and 60s. That'll bring the birds back!

Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Apr 7, 2018 10:00 AM - 11:51 AM
39 species

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Turkey Vulture
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Ring-billed Gull
Mourning Dove
Barred Owl
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Carolina Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
American Robin
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Fox Sparrow
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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