Friday, April 30, 2010

Thrush City in Florida!

Hi Wisconsin Bigby-ers! I just wanted to let you know there are plenty of migrants around the Tampa area and they are coming north! I just had a singing Scarlet Tanager, Blue Grosebeaks but only Blackpoll Warblers. The best bird was a Dickcissel which is very unusual for our area.

I plan to kayak after some birds and bike 6 miles to the park on the beach for some shorebirds. I'll try to get some photos to add to the blog.

Happy Birding!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

GHOW nest thanks to Al, and Black and White Warbler

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

you can see a lot just by looking...

Bird banding at UEC was canceled today due to the cold and wind and I decided to take the time I would have spent doing that and walk to Lake Park and continue my frantic efforts at catch-up-BIGBYing and stalk the elusive American Bittern (which I believe I must have walked past at least TWICE while birding with Tim Vargo yesterday). While looking for the equally elusive Palm Warblers in the trees above the Locust Street Ravine, just to the north of the bridge over the ravine road I heard a commontion above me, looked up and was starled by a low flying Bald Eagle being mobbed by three or four crows - what a marvelous surprise! Paul Hunter, who was birding in the ravine itself , also saw it.
You just never know...
Oh, no Palm warblers, did find a Pine Warbler.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Locust Ravine rocks!

Before leaving home for Lake Park this afternoon, I FINALLY saw my first Blue Jay of the year fly over the yard making the typical Blue Jay racket. Hey, if you had structural blue coloring, you'd make a racket too. Plus, have you ever heard them mimic a Red-tailed Hawk? Dead ringer.

At the end of two hours combing through Lake Park's Locust Ravine (long after Tim and Maria had departed) I was lucky enough to find the American Bittern that Sam discovered yesterday. What a beautiful bird! She was doing her absolute best to look like a stump (above), and for the multiple groups of kids that walked past her without noticing, she may as well have been. It's always so strange to see bitterns in the utterly wrong habitat during migration. Who could forget the Least Bittern that was perched 40 feet up in a tree at Riverside Park a couple of years ago? These are the best looks I've had at these secretive denizens of the marsh. I hope this bird got enough rest and refueling (what was she eating in this ravine?) because the last I saw of her after she was flushed by a man and his dog, she was leaving Lake Park headed to the southwest. Maybe she'll spend a few days along the Milwaukee River Greenway.

The ravine was exceptionally birdy tonight, producing four new Bigby birds in addition to the bittern (Red-headed Woodpecker, Field Sparrow, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Eastern Towhee). I do love to see the Red-headed Woodpeckers return to Lake Park each year. If more local parks and small woodlot owners would leave snags standing rather than compulsively cutting down each and every "hazard tree," this declining species of savannas would be in better shape. As it is, it was one of four Species of Greatest Conservation Need (along with American Bittern, Field Sparrow, and Brown Thrasher) in Locust Ravine tonight--once again highlighting the importance of migratory bird stopover habitat in an urban landscape. If only there was a Citizen Science research project that was examining the importance of such sites to migratory birds...

high water on the Menomonee River - and a few birds, too

The Menomonee flows into downtown Milwaukee through a valley that was wetlands - extensive marshes - 200 years ago. During the build-out of urban Milwaukee, the valley became heavily industrialized, and much of the valley landscape was "brownfields" by the late 1980s. One of the world's largest and busiest railroad yards was here a century ago. But the valley is undergoing a resurgence of both new industry, and at least a thin ribbon of green habitat for wildlife along the River. The Hank Aaron State Trail follows the river through this burgeoning industrial resurgence, and you can ride or walk along that ribbon of greenspace. It's one of the few greenspaces near where I live, so I headed there today - the river was exceptionally high from this weekend's heavy rains. The urban runoff flows over an awful lot of impervious surface to end up in the river - and heavy rains make the water level rise over a foot in depth very quickly. The normally muddy/gravelly river bank was inundated, making it difficult to find food for some birds. New BGBY species for me (to add to my very abbreviated list! - none of these except the goldfinch ever appear in my neighborhood) were Green Heron, Mallard, Red-winged Blackbird, Red-tailed Hawk, Barn Swallow, N. Flicker, Song Sparrow, Great Blue Heron, Am. Goldfinch, Brown-h. Cowbird, and Downy Woodpecker - all common species to most of the BGBY participants, but not present in very urbanized environments...EXCEPT along and in this ribbon of green adjacent to the river.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

White-throat, white-throat, white-throat, bittern?

Hey folks,

Biked up to Lake Park around 11:30 AM today. Things definitely got off to an intersting start when I ran across a Wild Turkey on the way along Terrace Ave, south of North Avenue. At Lake Park, I was surprised to see a huge increase in the number of birds compared to yesterday. When I first arrived, I lucked into a pretty good-sized migrant flock. Mostly YR Warblers, with a few Palms and single Pine and Nashville Warbler. The flock also included two Blue-headed Vireos. A pair of RB Nuthatches remained near the warming house long after the flock had departed.

Definitely a huge influx of White-throated Sparrows, with a couple of Field mixed in here and there. I would (very) conservatively estimate 200 individuals in the three hours I was at the park, with birds in every area of cover and several flocks of 30+ birds seen throughout. Also quite a few more Brown Thrashers, at least 10 (up from 1 yesterday), and easily 15 Eastern Towhees (I had none yesterday). Hermit Thrushes still numerous, but only managed one Winter Wren in Waterfall Ravine.

I was working south through Locust Ravine with my eyes on the ground, picking through the WT Sparrows (hoping for maybe a Harris', or perhaps a Louisiana Waterthrush working the creek), when an American Bittern flushed off of the west side of the ravine. I froze, and backed out, looking for a birder I had run into earlier. While he had disappeared, I fortunately ran into Judith Huf, and together we searched for the bird. We scoured the ravine, and even looked along the easternmost bluff (the direction the bird had originally flown), with no luck. We were heading back towards the feeders to try that bluff further when we spotted the bird in a tree, near the wooden bridge by the warming house. The bird was hunkered down in the wind, but would raise into a camouflage pose whenever a passerby would pass underneath (it was about ten feet up, two or three feet off of the path). I've never done much digiscoping, but with a little practice, I was finally able to get a decent picture on my cell phone through my binoculars. I worked throughout the rest of the park for about an hour, and when I returned, the bird had dropped into the ravine, tucking next to one of the footbridges in the ravine between the two feeder stations.

Definitely a good day to get out! Love this time of year!

Saturday, April 24, 2010


If you would have told me two months ago when this started that Blue Jay would be my 91st bird of the year, I would have called you crazy... until it took until April 23rd for me to finally grab one. Other highlights on today's rainy, cold walk included quite a few Hermit Thrushes, numerous White-throated Sparrows, Brown Thrasher (92), and a Red-breasted Nuthatch.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mismatched boots, but a great time

Maria and I spent the day bigbying. We met at Lake Park warming house at 7:30 a.m. in search of Maria's elusive GCKI and, of course, the fabled prothonotary warbler (no luck there). We wove our way through the park and down the waterfall ravine to the lake front. Maria was clicking off new birds left and right, and I got a Blue-winged Teal, Forster's and Caspian Tern. I was fortunate to have Maria who helped me ID a Lincoln Sparrow down near Summerfest grounds. (Almost pitching into the lake as I wobbled on the rocks along the shore). On our way back, we had a glorious view of a Belted Kingfisher at the lagoon, and the humble and endearing white domestic duck who has taken residence in front of the Calatrava. The high point was spotting a juvenile Greater Black-backed Gull on Bradford Beach among Herring and Ring-billed. The bird was huge. It reminded me of a Great Dane hunkered down among whippets.

Later, as I was repositioning bluebird nest boxes in Lake Park, there was a Red-breasted Nuthatch in a pine tree. Again, I could not count him as I had walked home, gotten my car and tools and DROVE back to the park. Rats.

Oh, and the title refers to the fact that early this morning I managed to put a different boot on each
foot and consequently spent the day mis-matched but gloriously happy.
Here's a condensed version of the Snipe encounter that Robin posted below.

I have my bin's trained on a Song Sparrow.
Robin: Hey, are you looking at that Sandpiper?
Me: What sandpiper?
Robin: Right there on the riffraff or whatever you call it.
Me: You mean the Sandpiper that's a Snipe?

(For full disclosure, I actually did have to consult Sibley's because it's so rare that I see a Woodcock or Snipe in full daylight, so I had to make sure)

Lake Park

Took about 1.5 hours in Lake Park today. No luck relocating the Prothonotary. Definitely a more active park this morning though compared to yesterday. Best spot was the bridge north of the Bistro. Many YR Warblers, joined by a pair of Pine Wablers (88). Also had a singing Winter Wren (many other silent wrens throughout) here, and a Red-breasted Nuthatch (89) working the brush along the bottom of the ravine. On my way out of the park, had my first Chimney Swift (90) pass over; most likely the sky will be littered with these guys in a few days.

Anxious for the floodgates to open; looks like there has been heavy migration activity the last few nights south of us. Looks like the wind won't help us out much until next weekend as well.

Good birding!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Golden (Frozen?) Swamp Warbler

Hey folks,

I birded my typical 'loop' today, biking through Lakeshore, Vet's Park, McKinley, and Lake Park. While numbers are certainly dwindling, there were still 10 duck species present, though many species represented by very few individuals (1 Redhead, 4 BW Teal, 3 C Goldeneye, 5 Bufflehead, 4 Ruddies). I was caught off guard by a Forster's Tern (83) that swooped in front of me at McKinley before landing on one of the dock posts, allowing me to sharpen up some pretty rusty Tern ID skills (let's just say that a peculiar shadow that made the Tern's bill appear quite black had me on edge for a little bit). The northern edge of McKinley Marina to Lake Park gave me my first (thousand?) Bonaparte's Gulls (84) for the year.

From this point, I headed into Lake Park. The feeders at Wolcott Statue had a pretty decent sparrow collection, including a female Eastern Towhee (85). Lots of Winter Wrens and loads of Hermit Thrushes throughout the park. Finally tracked down my first Palm Warbler (86) as well.

I was doubling back through the Locust Ravine around 6 PM, ready to head home, when a flash of yellow caught my eye. I was very surprised when my binoculars revealed a Prothonotary Warbler (87) bathing in the creek. Definitely a bird I'm used to seeing during the summers growing up in southern Ohio, and not a bird I thought I'd ever see amongst Juncos with temps in the low-40s (and a new Lake Park bird for me as well!!!). The bird was south of the feeders of the northern end, in a puddle beneath an 8-foot snag just off of the trail in Locust Ravine. After about one minute I lost the bird, and worked the length of the ravine for another hour, but failed to relocate it. Sorry about the Twitter post, totally forgot to sign my initials! I'm planning on birding Lake Park tomorrow morning, I'll post if I luck into it again!

Can't wait for things to truly begin picking up shortly here!!! May 9th was a big fallout last year... that's just over two weeks from today!!!

Sandpiper morphs into Snipe

Quite an exciting and thought provoking day today. In short, the new birds today were Rough winged Swallows, Palm Warblers and Wilson's Snipe. The Snipe is what later prompted a long internal debate.

Background: I had been looking for the dratted Spotted Sandpiper. Owen had seen it. Tim had seen it. Maria, NEW to this entire thing, HAD SEEN IT. I had not. I was determined. I got up early and walked the west bank from Locust to North Avenue dam searching for that bird. I saw gnatcatchers, Hermit Thrushes, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Yellow-rumped Warbler, a Cooper's Hawk ... all were dismissed as NOT being the Spotted Sandpiper. Everything I saw fell into the "Yeah, yeah seen it" category.

I joined the UEC crew on the east bank of the river and continued with them. Downy - seen it. I was focused on finding the Spotted Sandpiper. Suddenly, I noticed Tim focusing on a point on the west bank. I was sure he had spotted it, so I swung the glasses around to scan. There it was. It wasn't the gnatcatcher, thrush, warbler, hawk or woodpecker. It wasn't a Mallard, Canada Goose or sparrow. Therefore, it had to be a Spotted Sandpiper. I wanted to see it, and I saw it.

I saw what I wanted to see, and it wasn't until Tim, upon my exultant hoop and hooray, focused on it and said, "Wait!" that I really saw what I was looking at. It wasn't anything like a sandpiper. Not in the slightest, and yet I had been so determined to see that sandpiper that I ignored what the bird actually looked like in order to fit my expectations. It actually was a Wilson's Snipe - quite an exciting bird to spot. Yet, what really made an impression and occupied my thoughts for hours as I walked through Lake Park and the East Side was that initial "seeing what I wanted to see, what I expected to see, and not what was there. "

This Bigby has generated a lot of musings and taught a lot of lessons. Expectations can change reality. Being so wrapped up in what you want to see can blind you to what is there. The physical time and effort in moving from one birding spot to another has given me a great deal of time to mull upon what I am seeing, and what I am missing. I think, with the slower pace and the increased effort, I may also be learning to actually see and not just look for the next bird.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Well, I just joined and I'm hustling to pick up all the winter-ish birds and early migrants I've been seeing but haven't seen in a "green" way. I'm frustrated that after seeing perhaps dozens of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and Golden-crown Kinglets that I can't find either after WALKING to the same places....guess I should have started this earlier...hope when I try to pick up a Scaup and Goldeneye tomororw there are some around...dubious...and Owen - where exactly was that Wood Duck yesterday???

Quick Update

I biked up to Schlitz on Thursday after about two weeks off the 'Bigby' trail due to travel/work schedules. Nothing too extraordinary (would have loved to have run into that Mocker seen the next day!!!), but did pick up a number of FOY birds, including two Wild Turkey, my target bird for the trip. Definitely looking forward to my next pedal up there!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Black Scoter!

Hi Folks,

Maggie and I tandem biked to Lake Waubesa tonight and just about the only bird on the lake was a black scoter! Nice!

Andy P.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Peer pressure made me do it...

Okay, I'm in. Haven't had time for this before, still don't, but I'll give it a go.
Too bad birds in mist nets won't count!

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Awakened this morning to the song of the Eastern Towhee. Now this is the easy way to Bigby!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Back from Colorado!

Hi Folks,

I've updated my species totals after a few productive drop-offs/pick-ups of the kids through the McFarland park system. A bit surprising is how many House Wrens I heard this morning! I need to get the bike out this many birds to get....

Andy P.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

FOY Bike Ride

I couldn't pass up this weather, so went in to work late after taking my bike out for the first time this year. I biked 12 miles and managed to get 9 new BIGBY birds, including three FOY: white-throated sparrow, towhee and ring-necked pheasant. I also ended up with some serious chafing - I'm thinking of investing in one of those gel seats for my Pewee Herman-type bike.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dream List

Since this has started, I have found the need to also keep a mental list of birds inhabiting my dreams. Currently, the list includes the Belted Kingfisher, American Woodcock, Golden crowned Kinglet and last night's entry: the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. It seems that the target bird of the day becomes achieved at least in my dreams.

Monday, April 12, 2010

you're all on the "cutting edge"...

You know that you are in on something at the "cutting edge" when you see interest from others in your activities, but when you realize that you have to explain what you're doing, and why.
I've searched and found very few Green Birding sites other than those already linked on this blog. What percentage of birders do "green birding"? I think we'll need a poll to answer that question.

No species to add to my very short list - way too many hours of work, and unable to find even 30 minutes to walk around the neighborhood - but I'm enjoying reading what everyone else has found thus far. Mainly only Common Grackles, Mourning Doves, a few House Finches, and (no, I don't want to encourage them, but they're here anyway) House Sparrows at my feeders. This neighborhood has no native tree species whatsoever, and very few of the tiny yards have gardens worthy of the name. But maybe I'll see some flyovers in the coming weeks.

Most North Americans still have yet to fully grasp the importance of improving backyard habitat - but in the UK, the Song Thrush (a species quite similar to our Swainson's Thrush) nowadays nests primarily in gardens. Because the forests are...(think about it).
Got out on Saturday around 11:15, biked 23.5 miles north and west of Sheboygan. With the strong wsw winds I figured the potential for a migrant push was good. The winds did not disappoint, I had a good raptor flight today. Traveling west of Sheboygan near Howards Grove I encountered an adult Bald Eagle. From there headed north to the Manitowoc county line. Added 11 new species for the day. Highlights being 2 Vesper Sparrows on Rangeline Road, 60 Bonaparte's Gulls (100's later on the lake), Tree, Barn and Rough-winged Swallows. I have a spot for Purple Martins, but they had not arrived yet. The final leg of my trip was along CTH LS from just north of the Whistling Straits golf course south to Sheboygan. The lake was actually pretty quiet as far as waterfowl is concerned. But the raptor movement south of Whistling Straits was good. Added Merlin, Northern Harrier, and a possible Swainson's Hawk. Still doing some more research on that id. It may have been an immature bird. My id would have been entirely based on "jizz" and shape?? I wasn't comfortable with that. Oh well. Certainly enjoyed myself. Nexrad Radar looks good for the next couple days, hope the weather cooperates.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mirror Images and Bino Bras

Where Robin headed north today, I Bigbyed south along the lake in a near mirror image of her route. The trio of Barn Swallows (63) that had joined the Tree Swallows over McKinley Marina were my first new birds of the day. As I posted to our Twitter feed three Ruddy Ducks (64) were diving with 19 Horned Grebes in the harbor near Veterans Park and the Art Museum. One was a male in full breeding plumage with an eye-popping blue bill. I finally had a Pied-billed Grebe (65) and great looks at Lesser Scaup (66) in the Lakeshore State Park lagoon. Also finally saw my first Yellow-rumped Warbler (68) of the year above the Wolcott Statue in Lake Park. A Chipping Sparrow (69) was one of the few non-House Sparrows at the Wolcott feeders. In Locust Ravine, I was nearly run down by some maniac on a bike. The maniac turned out to be Tim. I suspect he was trying to knock off the competition.

The new birds were all great today, but the real highlight of the day came while I was sitting on the shoreline rocks sorting through the hundred or so ducks napping and diving off of North Point. From the bike trail behind me I heard, "Hey look, that guy's got a harness for his binoculars! Oh man, you know when you got a harness for your binoculars, you...[inaudible, except for accompanying laughter]." As the group was just moving out of earshot, the last comment I heard from the same sharp-eyed commentator on the human experience: "he's lookin' for ships!" Ships? Really? Do people watch ships? Live and learn.

Alright, I admit the binocular harness isn't exactly fashionable, but at least I don't look like this guy.

In search of new Bigbys (Bigbies?)

Left early this morning and walked! Today I saw three new species: Yellow rumped Warblers at Lake Park and along the Milwaukee River, Eastern Bluebirds at Lake Park below the pavillion, and a Tree Swallow flying over the Lake Park golf course. The total list of species seen is below:
Canada Goose
Red-breasted Merganser
Cooper's Hawk (pair at Downer Woods)
Herring Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Winter Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
American Tree Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown Headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Itchin' to Bigby

After four excruciating days of Winter 2.0 here in Wisco,  the winds have swung 180 degrees and are bringing us the biggest movement of spring migrants so far this year. Lace up those walking shoes and pump up those bike tires Bigbyists--there will be plenty of new arrivals this weekend!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sun again

After the depressing retreat in the weather, my spirits lift at the sight of sun. I've been thinking about the whole experience of birding and one of the ongoing conundrums is how to answer the inevitable query, "Seen any interesting birds?" This question gives me great pause as I wonder how to answer it. First of all, is the person looking for detailed information on unusual sightings? Is it a serious question looking for information, or just the "How ya doing?' throw away line. If it is the latter, then the person may be quite taken aback by a long discussion of what has currently been occupying my thoughts, such as: "Why are Brown Creepers so uninterested in my presence and will often let me watch it from a foot away?" or "What made all the Robins take off at once when I saw and heard nothing?" or "Why is that Crow following me?" (That last query will probably cause the fellow hiker to back away from me quite quickly). But, to be honest, all birds are interesting. I am quite taken every spring with the determined and upright Robins and I love watching the Rock Pigeons (is that the latest nomenclature) launch themselves off roof peaks. I agree with Sam that when one takes up birding, one always has something interesting to watch. So, I am off into the sun, as I have a date with the pair of Belted Kingfishers on the riverbank.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hatfields vs. McCoys?

Great bird walk in Washington Park this morning. 7 Double-crested Cormorants circled over head lower and lower and lower until landing in the west end of the lagoon and FEASTING! They just stocked the lagoon, and like popcorn I would see birds pop down, pop up with a big fish, gulp it, go down again. Sometimes the fish were too big, it would fall out of their mouth, then down they went.

They only must have been in the pond for 15 minutes then they were gone.

Among the DCCO's was a tiny duck, in very poor lighting, but then saw the golden rear patch and the white spike up front, and clearly came into view for a nice Green-winged Teal. 2 new birds.

Then the ugliness really started when Vic found out that Barb had biked and all her birds would be on the BGBY list and his wouldn't. Decades of friendship almost came to an end. But an after birdwalk trip to Amaranth with bakery and coffee temporarily returned harmony.

Purple Finch

Added Purple Finch this morning at the bird feeder and caught up on my list from the last week. The rain and my work schedule is killing me!

I'm leaving tomorrow for Colorado so I'll be in catch up mode next week!

Monday, April 5, 2010

My 2 biggest enemies

Work and the weather. I've been super busy at work, and the past couple of times I've built in extra time to "explore", the weather told me otherwise. I was about to head to the lakefront now, but t-storms on the way. I'm falling behind!
I'm always a little amused when people ask me, "So, when exactly do you go birding?"... when one of the best things about it is that you are really always able to be birding, at least casually. Once you're hooked, you're always at least aware of what's going on around you. Today was definitely a good example of that... while I was not able to really get out and bird, I was able to see quite a bit as I jogged through Lakeshore and Veteran's Park. The lagoon at Veteran's held a Pied-billed Grebe (though unfortunately not the Northern Shoveler I saw driving by the other day), while Horned are now the dominant species on Lake Michigan. LSSP had a couple of Tree Swallows (68), and a few lingering divers, including what I believe was the WW Scoter present for over two weeks now (no 'nocs to confirm). Two Belted Kingfishers were working the shoreline as well. A couple of hawks were also migrating along the lakefront, including 2 Cooper's and 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk (69).

All in all, eight species of ducks (+1 probable), two grebes, and two accipiters... definitely a great day to be out and 'not' be birding!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

More new arrivals

As I had expected, we got an influx of FOY birds on Thursday, including eastern phoebe, tree swallow and yellow-bellied sapsucker. On Saturday I added a yellow-rumped warbler, and today brought golden-crowned kinglet and chipping sparrow, plus my first BIGBY great blue heron. That brings me to 48, all from my yard so far. If I can only get some time on my bike when the winds are less than gale force....

Phoebes, Sapsuckers and Creepers

Took advantage of the sun and walked to Lake Park, then through Downer Woods and back to my house along the river. Chuck is right. The Eastern Phoebes are everywhere. In Lake Park I saw the Winter Wrens again, the Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, E. Phoebes as well as many Brown Creepers. Downer Woods had three Hermit Thrushes, E. Phoebe, Winter Wren, Brown Creeper, Downy and N. Cardinal. It wasn't until I was heading back home, going west to the Milwaukee River right at the old Linneman's (spelling) water park in Shorewood that I spotted my two new Bigby birds, a lone Double crested Cormorant high up heading north and a wonderful Turkey Vulture tilting low right along the river. There were a lot of Hermit Thrushes, Brown Creepers, and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. One lone Cooper's Hawk flew east over the river into the UEC grounds and two loud and brash Belted Kingfishers were flying along the west bank. All in all, it was a lovely walk although it got a tad chilly towards the end as I am still determinedly wearing shorts. Owen, how did you get your route posted in the blog? RDS

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A little late...

Had a chance to get out and bird quite a bit Thursday afternoon. Definitely a major change from a few days earlier. Started at Lakeshore State Park where a pair of Blue-winged Teal (63) flushed by an aggressive Mallard led me to a flock of 13 more individuals hidden amongst the rocks (WW Scoter was still present as well!!!). Veteran's Park gave me my first Northen Flicker (64) of the year. I got a later start than I had hoped, so I passed on a lakewatch, though still small numbers of most of the divers around. Lake Park was very active, with good numbers of Eastern Pheobe (65), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (66), and GC Kinglet. I also had a couple of Winter Wrens (67), including my first bird at the first wooden footbridge north of Ravine Road... interesting personally as I have had my first Winter Wren of the year at this exact bridge 5 out of my 6 springs in Milwaukee. We'll see if my 'Blue-headed Vireo Tree' can make it four years in a row this year. Also found the head of a young crow on the trail here, assuming it is the work of a Great Horned Owl. UEC was fairly birdy as well, and felt more 'noisy' in my opinion. Spent a lot of time working the East Bank trail as it grew dark, but no luck with any herons/owls.

Great day to be out!!! I'm hoping eventually I'll run into some of you out there, we are certainly working a lot of the same locations!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Lakefront birding

The competition's getting hot! I added a big chunk of birds yesterday, including Blue-winged Teal & Gadwall, and the almost white-winged scoter that I keep trying to turn a female goldeneye into.

Then I see Owen added an even bigger chunk of birds and is up by ONE. I need to find more work excuses to get to the lakefront. Maybe build a UEC at Lakeshore State Park?


Not much time to BIGBY but I did pick up sapsucker yesterday in the winds and my first pheobe of the year this morning in the yard.

Andy P.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Great Blue Herons and no RHWO

Lots of walking today, and good results. I had hoped, however, to get the RHWO (is that the right abbreviation?), but I still have not seen it at Lake Park. Bill, do they winter elsewhere?
It was lovely seeing the Great Blue Herons flying overhead at UEC. It made my wearing shorts from this point on seem like a not too dumb decision. I am so totally ready for winter to be gone.