Sunday, March 27, 2016

Firsts and notables

This past week was the first I've been out birding with any sort of effort since returning from Colombia. The week was highlighted by many firsts.
Pasque Flower, Walking Iron County Park
Monday I birded with my pal, Lindsey. We were treated to the first pioneering Pasque flowers at Walking Iron County Park as well as Eastern Bluebirds.

Eastern Bluebird, Walking Iron County Park
No sign of the Red-shouldered Hawks that nested in the area last year. Hands down this was my best nest find of 2015.
Red-shouldered Hawk nest, digiscoped. 28May2015 Dane Co, WI

Though not firsts for the year, Fox Sparrows have been common on most of my wooded walks. There has been an influx of this species migrating through the state this past week.

Fox Sparrow, S. Kettle Moraine SF, Jefferson Co, WI

I missed Eastern Phoebe on Sunday at Pheasant Branch, but found them later in the week. They have been quick getting down to the business of breeding at multiple spots along the creek corridor.

Eastern Phoebe, Pheasant Branch, Dane Co, WI 22March2016
This weekend I visited Olin-Turville Park while my car was being repaired. Several Common Loon on Lake Monona were firsts of the year for me. In addition I found my first Tree Swallows.

Common Loon, Lake Monona, 26March2016
While driving the beltline I spotted my first Great Egret at Esser Pond in Middleton. While this sighting may be a tad early, by no means are Great Egrets rare in Wisconsin. Even so, an egret at nearby Stricker's Pond drew a few chasers. I suppose for some, the chase is driven by excitement with the early spring were having.While others find it of great importance to maintain number one in Dane County on the eBird roster. Perhaps this bird is the same individual from Stricker's Pond? Perhaps I will rediscover my enthusiasm for Wisconsin birding once the warblers start coming through...

Great Egret, Esser Pond, 26March2016
Common and often overlooked, one can't help but notice the American Robins congregating in fields, lawns and woods in recent weeks.

American Robin, Olin Park, Madison, WI 26March2016

My first Wisconsin butterfly of the year, an Eastern Comma, was the highlight of my weekend. While this species is not as stunning as some of the beauties I saw in Colombia, it was a brief thrill nonetheless. More delicate than the birds, this sighting felt like a prominent sign of the changing season and seemed to provide some promise of new life to be discovered in the months ahead...Or perhaps it is merely a fleeting life destined to perish in the face of the cruel weather forecast a week from now. The parallels of lives are uncanny...

Eastern Comma, Olin Park, Madison, WI 26March2016

Corridor of Serenity

Last week Sunday, in the quietness of the late afternoon, I visited this familiar creek corridor in Dane county.

The bird activity was slow which afforded me the time to view this place via a different lens.

In the stillness of the sunny afternoon, the repeating patterns of light, shadow and reflections were illuminated.

These moments of solitude feel both precious and stolen considering the flurry of human activity that often fills this corridor.

It is only a matter of a month or so when this seemingly serene scene will be teaming with spring migrants and warbler-ravaged birders among the numerous runners, bikers and walkers.

Visions of the impending crowds render such moments as this even more surreal and poignant.