Thursday, May 4, 2017

Sauk County Solace and More...

It didn't take long this morning to realize it would not be the warbler day I was hoping for. The radar showed birds leaving last night with few replacements detected on radar in the wee hours of zero-dark-thirty. Yet I forced myself out in the morning. I've been burned too many times when the radar appeared meh and the warblers and other songbirds made a good showing. But that was not the case with birding today. My morning outings to Lake Farm Park and the Ho-nee-um in Dane county (WI) yielded eight warbler species mostly in singles except for a few more Yellow-rumps than the rest of the pack. American Redstart was my only new warbler species (WTF?! that means migration is over!). Nonetheless I found a few species to photograph.

Gray Catbird, Lake Farm Park, Dane Co, WI 4May2017
It seemed the few new arrivals overnight consisted of sparrows (White-crowned, Lincoln's and Vesper), more House Wrens and Baltimore Orioles.

Vesper Sparrow, Lake Farm Park, Dane Co, 4May2017

Therefore after lunch I made the decision to go to warmest place I could think of, soak up some sun and find some butterflies and beetles. Where else but Spring Green Preserve in Sauk Co (WI). After a night of restlessness with reports of me repeatedly kicking and yelling out in my sleep, I was badly in need of Nature's re-calibration.

Bird's Foot Violet, Spring Green Preserve, Sauk Co, WI 4May2017
Blue-eyed Grass, Spring Green Preserve, Sauk Co, WI 4May2017

Over in the desert prairie it was t-shirt weather. The sun felt glorious. The display of Bird's Foot Violet, Blue-eyed Grass and Rock Cress was spectacular. I found several species of butterflies including the sought after Olympia Marble. They were flying in small numbers.

Olympia Marble, Spring Green Preserve, Sauk Co, WI 4May2017
I noticed they were not quite as stunning to photograph in full sun as compared to a couple years ago when I achieved crushing images of them during a cold spell on an overcast day.

Olympia Marble, Spring Green Preserve, Sauk Co, WI 22April2015

I tallied seven species of butterflies during my foray: Clouded Sulphur, Eastern Tailed-Blue, Duskywing sp., American Lady, Olympia Marble, and American Copper.

Clouded Sulphur, Spring Green Preserve, Sauk Co, WI 4May2017
Since I stayed down in the desert, I only tallied two tiger beetle species: Oblique and Festive.

(Fucking) Festive Tiger Beetles, Spring Green Preserve, Sauk Co, WI 4May2017

Oblique Tiger Beetle, Spring Green Preserve, Sauk Co, WI 4May2017
And came upon this cryptic Bumble Flower Beetle.



Lark, Field and Grasshopper Sparrows were all back on territory singing.

Lark Sparrow, Spring Green Preserve, Sauk Co, WI 4May2017
(such a stiff image of this bird...oh well)
Hoping to see a few more butterfly species and woodland ephemerals, I headed to nearby Baxter's Hollow after I had my fill of Spring Green Preserve. The sun was starting to set, so many of the blooms were shaded by the time I arrived in the gorge.

I feared I had missed the Trout Lilies this year. To my delight some were still blooming. The manner in which these flowers hang their blooms, pointing their beauty to the ground resonates with me, especially today. Beautifully poignant.

Yellow Trout Lily, Baxter's Hollow, Sauk Co, WI 4May2017

Nodding trillium were just beginning to bloom.

Nodding Trillium, Baxter's Hollow, Sauk Co, WI 4May2017

And one of my favorites of spring, Bishop's Cap were already up! These blooms are but an eighth of an inch.

Bishop's Cap, Baxter's Hollow, Sauk Co, WI 4May2017

But the best observation of the day was this Common Watersnake!


I startled it from the rocky bank, sending it into Otter Creek. It startled me into yelping "Oh my god, snake!" even though there was no one around to hear me. Heh. Nothing like a sexy snake to get the adrenaline flowing. I watched it abscond into the water and relocated it beneath the surface. With only my macro lens handy, I approached the water's edge to get some closer views and photos. I was hunched over close to the water, being still when the snake raised its head to surface! There we were, face to face, checking each other out. How cool. But the smallest of my movements caused him to retreat once again under the water's surface.


And with that the nature adventures of spring begin! While I really should be responsibly packing my house to move, the time I splurged today on the outdoors was both needed and worth the price I may pay at the beginning of June. C'est la vie. 

1 comment:

Seagull Steve said...

A wealth of crippling shots as usual. The older Olympia Marble shot...I don't think it gets better than that.