Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Prairie at Work!

"The prairie skies can always make you see more than what you believe."

― Jackson Burnett

Looking south from Vortex Optics!

One of the coolest things about moving Vortex Optics to Barneveld is the awesome prairie that's just south of our property. The prairie belongs to The Nature Conservancy and hosts an impressive variety of grassland birds. Since moving there in March, our patch list is around 50 species. Most have been discovered via song when walking across our parking lot to the front door of our building. Grassland specialists have included Bobolinks, Dickcissels, Henslow's Sparrows, Grasshopper Sparrows, Horned Larks, Eastern Meadowlarks, and Upland Sandpiper. Along the patch of trees along the eastern border of the prairie I've found Red-headed Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Brown Thrasher, Willow Flycatcher, Yellow Warbler, Gray Catbird, Red-eyed Vireo, and more.

Eastern Meadowlark

I took a little time before and after work today in order to photograph just a few of the feathered prairie gems. It's an interesting comparison to be around birds that aren't as used to seeing people. They were still somewhat wary of my presence, but they seemed to relax more rapidly compared to other places I frequent for birds. Since it's nesting season, I kept my visit relatively short so as not to stress out the birds.


My hike was going just fine until I made an alarming and unfortunate discovery: there's an abundance of Poison Ivy along vast stretches of the trail. Given my track record with it, I had to be extremely careful where I planted my feet. I absolutely do not want to go through that hell ever again!


A real singer!

Making more Dickcissels!

If you happen to be in Barneveld, come check out these amazing grassland birds. You can scope them right from our parking lot. And when you're done, you can visit our new showroom and check out some of our optics. The 2018 Vortex Viper HD is the best ~$500.00 binocular I've ever used. Yep ... a gratuitous product plug!

Upland Sandpiper

In order of Observation:

Lapland Longspur
Horned Lark
Northern Cardinal
Eastern Meadowlark
Red-winged Blackbird
Blue Jay
American Tree Sparrow
American Crow
Canada Goose
Red-tailed Hawk
Wild Turkey
Ring-necked Pheasant
American Kestrel
House Finch
Northern Harrier
Rock Pigeon
Ring-billed Gull
Eastern Phoebe
Northern Flicker
Wood Duck
Turkey Vulture
Brown Thrasher
Field Sparrow
Pileated Woodpecker
Greater Yellowlegs
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Brown-headed Cowbird
American Goldfinch
Hooded Merganser
Spotted Sandpiper
Blue-winged Teal
Upland Sandpiper
Grasshopper Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Bald Eagle
Gray Catbird
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow Warbler
Scarlet Tanager
Chipping Sparrow
Cedar Waxwing
Willow Flycatcher
Henslow’s Sparrow
Great Blue Heron
Common Grackle
Eastern Kingbird
Mourning Dove
Barn Swallow
Red-eyed Vireo
Red-headed Woodpecker
Song Sparrow
Indigo Bunting

All images © 2018 Mike McDowell

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