Sunday, February 19, 2017

Global Warming Weekend Part 1: Charmed Again

My Wisconsin Global Warming Weekend began Friday afternoon with another trip to Goose Lake Drumlins State Natural Area in search of sunshine, warmth and another encounter with my friend, the Northern Shrike.

Goose Lake Drumlins State Natural Area, Dane Co, WI
The afternoon did not disappoint. Temperatures reached a balmy 61 °F.  The warm weather ushered in my first observations of Red-winged Blackbird and Sandhill Crane. The marsh was otherwise rather quiet. It is only mid February after all. Initially the shrike was nowhere in sight. I contemplated whether the changing weather would signal the departure of my savior to winter's scorn.

I came across this Star-nosed Mole wondering if it was Northern Shrike prey inadvertently left behind.
Star-nosed Mole 
The shrike was MIA for the first hour of  my hike, furthering my fear that indeed its time had come to pass. But as I rambled around exploring more new terrain in the marsh and bog, it appeared as if out of nowhere, conspicuously perched. Hello friend! This time the bird was hunting the interior of the property near the tamarack bog of Goose Lake. I admired my kindred spirit for about a half hour before peeling myself away. Perhaps this day would be the last of my time with this bird.

To my delight the bird had followed me toward the parking area where he perched in a favorite tree and serenaded me while the sun set on the marsh.


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