Friday, May 6, 2016

Bird, Bird, BAT!

I wouldn't say any of the warblers put on a face-melting show today at Pheasant Branch Conservancy in Dane County. However, seeing a Black-throated Blue Warbler any day in southern Wisconsin is dang good. And so today was dang good... and by mid day, dang hot, topping out in the mid 80s.

I entered the creek corridor of Pheasant Branch Conservancy from the northeast today. Rather quickly, it was quite clear this would be no migrant fallout day. Far from it. In fact bird activity was rather low.  I managed to find a couple small warbler flocks of Yellow-rumped, Palm, Nashville and Black-and White Warblers before coming upon a group of birders who tipped me off to a nearby Black-throated Blue Warbler. The bird seemed to have vanished after their brief encounter with him. However later morning when bird activity picked up, the Black-throated Blue warbler was heard and seen repeatedly. A Prothonotary Warbler had also been seen, but I dipped on that with effort. Golden-winged Warbler was a nice FOY, but like most birds today, lighting was less than desirable and looks were "meh." Finding a male Scarlet Tanager was a nice way to close out my visit.

While the Black-throated Blue Warbler should have been the show stopper. For me it was this bat. This is the second bat species I've photographed on trees in broad daylight this season! Which species? I'm not certain. Though I do know it is not a Northern Long-eared Bat. I bagged that species a few weeks at Baxter's Hollow! I believe it's probably a Little Brown Bat, but I'm not expert. My brief research on bats of Wisconsin turned up this nice pdf on the subject.

No birding adventure in Dane County is complete without a stop at my favorite watering hole, the Craftsman Table and Tap. For lunch I tried Uinta Brewing Company's Hop Nosh Tangerine IPA. I give it 4 out of 5 stars on my personal rating scale. It's no Dubhe Imperial Black (one of my current favorites) or Detour Double IPA but it's still quite good.

After burning off my buzz with birding pal, Dale, back at Pheasant Branch, I headed home by way of the northern Dane County shorebird ponds. The most productive ponds were in the far western part of the county where I found my FOY American Pipit, Least Sandpiper, and Semi-palmated Plover.

Meanwhile back at the ranch in Fort Atkinson, the two Marble Godwits continue (my sexy shorebirds for the day).

All in all I was hoping for big bird action today, but had to settle for small, but sweet encounters and another all out cool bat...who by the way almost got taken out as lunch by the Red-bellied Woodpecker!

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