Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spring is...Returning?

We were teased by some early high temps, followed by a return to snow and freezing cold. Now, we're creeping back into the 60s. To celebrate the sun, I went for a quick walk to University Bay this morning, and found my first-of-year (FOY) tree swallow!

Monday, March 30, 2015


Yesterday was quite the day for me! I was happy to see my FOY common loon, and a very lucky meadowlark flyover of Lake Mendota. Then, I finally found my target species of this (and next) month: rusty blackbirds! There was a flock of about 25 mixed in with the usual Icterids in the trees at the picnic point entrance. That's a great spot this time of year to catch migrating blackbirds sunning themselves in the last light of the day. Another pick-up happened on my way to the prairie: golden-crowned kinglet.

Then, I birded the prairie in search of some "nocturnal shorebirds," and was not disappointed! There were several American woodcock displaying, as well as a winnowing Wilson's snipe. I finally got to see one of the Bill's woods great horned owls, as we made our way back down the path at dusk. Also, the Frautschi point barred owl was singing while we walked around Eagle Heights garden.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

University Bay

All the "good ducks" seem to hang out in University Bay. I went for an afternoon walk with friends last week and found northern shoveler, redheads, and canvasback. The next day was the best find yet: a greater scaup mixed in the raft! For awhile, it was hanging more with the canvasbacks. Then, I finally got my American coots.

This weekend, I went for a long walk to biocore, and finally "ticked" brown-headed cowbird. At biocore, I was thrilled to find my FOY eastern phoebe and FOY (for that location) northern flicker!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


I went for a walk this afternoon around Lakeshore, to find some new migrant ducks! Monday evening, there were some common mergansers that have since left.
Today, there were ring-necked ducks, common goldeneye, and lesser scaup in the lake. On the other side of the path, in the new water retention(?) area, there was a pair of bufflehead.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Over this weekend, I had some fantastic luck with owls in Lakeshore. Yesterday, I finally got a look at that BDOW I posted about last month, and also heard a duet of GHOW there! Today, I spotted the GHOW that typically hangs out behind the Nat in the silver maple (one of its favorite perches). I watched it for about an hour, but fearing it was "on to me," I moved to get a different viewing angle. When I did, I lost sight of it and didn't see where it flew off to. The owl won this time!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Early Migrants!

Today was my first real day of migration! A walk around Lakeshore with a friend produced killdeer, red-winged blackbird, and common grackle. On my walk home, I heard my first sandhill crane. When I got home, I spotted an even bigger surprise from my window: a small flock of American white pelican! Bring on spring!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Second point woods

Now that spring is springing, I'm back to wandering outside! This weekend, I found a flock of pine siskins in lakeshore preserve on campus, and a number of singing tufted titmice. Also, a flock of mourning doves corrected this "late miss."
from close to one of the "big oaks"