Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Bird Counting and More

The many, many CBC birding "circles" in North America
The 115th Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count took place Dec 14, 2014 to January 5, 2015.  It is the longest running Citizen Science survey in the world, beginning around the turn of the 1900s. The Christmas Bird Count provides critical data on population trends. Tens of thousands of participants know how fun and challenging it can be.  This year’s installation was no different as Barbara and I stepped outside our Milwaukee apartment on the last official day of fall 2014, and into the chilly 28 degree air.  Opie was busily sniffing the air as all lucky dogs do that get to step outdoors; all the while we loaded the WPT with our birding gear.  You see, we decided that he could come along this year.  He agreed.

The many, many CBC birding "circles" in Wisconsin
Our little “corner” of the birding SE Wisconsin “WIMI” circle was again Area 20.  If you looked at a clock face and imagined that we were at about the number seven (7); you’d get close to finding the multiple city real estate where we were about to crisscross for the rest of the day.  Each count takes place in an established 15-mile wide diameter circle, and is organized by a count compiler.  Our WIMI circle is compiled by Andrea Szymczak and has been for the past several seasons.  If you are a beginning birder, you will be able to join a group that includes at least one experienced birdwatcher.  If your home is within the boundaries of a CBC circle, then you can stay at home and report the birds that visit your feeder on count day as long as you have made prior arrangement with the count compiler.  




Birds may be counted by sight or also by Voice ID (meaning that if you can positively identify the species by ear, you may include that species as being legitimately counted.)  This comes in handy when geography gets in the way of a line of sight ID.  Data from the over 2,300 circles are entered after the count officially ends each year and become available to query under the Data & Research link of the Audubon site.   Neither Barbara nor I were able to count the previous year due to holiday travel that took us well north of the area, so consequently the data I was comparing our 2014 observations to was from 2012’s count.  In that respect there was little comparison to those dismal (rainy-day) numbers.  Birds were everywhere we looked and very active.  True, there was no snow cover and food was plentiful, but I would have thought that at least the cold would keep their numbers down somewhat. 

Little Bird and Birdstud Count Birds

Jacobus Park (in the village of Wauwatosa) was our first stop.  With Opie trying to choke himself at the end of a 10-foot retractable leash; Barbara and I ticked off bunches of both American Goldfinch and Robins.  Downy woodpeckers zipped back and forth across the road and Dark-eyed juncos hopped in the brown leaves at the Menominee River’s edge in search of food.  The small pond in front of the community gathering structure was frozen over, though I would not guess solid.  As a result the only Mallards were on the free-flowing water of the river across the road.  The steep rough-hewn paths within the park were not covered with the often characteristic ice, so we were able to traverse them safely as we looked high in the trees for the squawking Red-bellied woodpecker. 



A murder of noisy American crows on the edge of a clearing piqued our interest enough to get a closer look.  Sure enough; a Cooper’s hawk tried its best to ignore the caw-cawphony, but eventually took to the skies with a jet black pursuer on his tail.  That was a particularly satisfying moment for me, as it’s great when you can use nature’s clues to get a sighting of a bird that is trying its best to stay hidden from view.  Crows are wonderful harbingers of nearby owl or raptor activity…use them to your advantage and don’t ignore their fussing.   Barbara and I met a nice woman named Rebecca Haefner and her Westy walking along the roadway who knew exactly what we were doing and called out as we drew nearer.  It turns out she is very active on the board of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin and is affiliated with www.wisconservation.org.  After a total walk of three miles which included a northern pass through Doyne Park, we climbed into the WPT to find a smoky grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup back at the apartment.  No, we didn't count that.

TMER & LCO
Once fueled again; I went it alone for the afternoon.  Opie was completely gassed and needed a nap. I began by driving to the extreme north edge of Wood National Cemetery to walk along the old No. 10 Milwaukee Streetcar route under a series of massive electrical power line steel towers, next to I-94. Apparently the Mourning doves and Northern cardinals I had seen in 2012 still called this little corridor their home, because there they were again.  I happily made a tick mark for each one as I walked along the grass and gravel of the route. American robins and Black-capped chickadees also could be seen in the leafless trees and scraggly evergreens that lined the path and narrow concrete roadway.  I was taking a photo of an old cast iron electrical access box lid with "TMER & LCO" embossed into the lid when my eye spotted a strange gray (box-like object) lying on the ground nearby.  I toed it with my hiking book to turn it over when I saw that it appeared to have a large round magnet screwed to the bottom.


Christmas Bird Counting in Wood Cemetery
Now, any birdwatcher worth his or her salt has accidentally come across geocache treasure boxes while scampering over rocks or climbing over structures on their way to a sighting, so I thought that perhaps this was what I had here.  Not wanting to disrupt the cache too greatly, but fearing it was already out of its intended (magnetic) placement as it was now lying on the ground near a chain link fence, I picked it up to investigate further.  There were four duct-taped tabs that gave me access to the "cover" of the (Tupperware-like) box, so I carefully unsnapped them.  Inside I discovered a clear plastic zip-top bag with the words "Letterbox Only" and "No Trades" written in black marker on the bag.  This really got my interest going, so I opened the zip-top to examine the contents of the bag. Inside one bag (inside the first bag) was a small notebook with an image of a streetcar on the front. On the streetcar was the letters, "TMER & L."  I noted that these were the exact letters on the top of the electrical access box lid I was taking a picture of before I found the smaller box.  There could be no coincidence here; there must be a connection and certainly an interesting side-story to be chronicled in this here blog.

Letterbox
Inside the notebook was a small computer-printed explanation of what a "Letterbox" was and what one was to do when one found it.  It also had the website atlasquest.com on the tag, where a person could learn more about this curious hobby.  I jotted down the web address and the email address of the individual who had assembled this treasure.  The notebook was newer looking and had only one other entry.  On one of the first pages was a series of three "avatar stamps" of insects in different colors, a pseudonym of the stamper and the date that each was stamped; 8-25-14.  Just for fun I wrote on the next page that I was a bird watcher that had accidentally found this cache and my actual name before placing it gently back inside its own bag again.  The last bag contained a red-rubber reverse carved image of the streetcar wrapped in slightly damp paper toweling.  This was the "prize" if you will.  A fellow letterboxer would use their own inked stamp and print this image into their own notebook as proof that they had successfully located this particular box.  I found the entire concept fascinating and wanted to learn more.  HERE is more for you now to investigate if you wish; however suffice it to say that this has slowly become yet another world-wide hobby for adventurous travelers everywhere. 




Next was a stop at Hart Park in Wauwatosa, where I found a smaller group of American crows sitting on light poles and walking in the grass plus a large amount of Mallards on the river.  I was very surprised to see that many ducks at that time of year, however as the temperatures were mild and the water was moving briskly; they must have had plenty of whatever they needed right where they were.  


The balance of my time counting was never as interesting or fruitful as that morning period with Barbara.  I ultimately finished my day driving back and forth through the various neighborhoods with my windows down; listening and watching (but mostly listening).  This is an effective way to cover a large amount of territory in a short amount of time, as most "urban birds" will be hanging out in groups near convenient bird feeders, if they aren't gathered in the larger open park and golf course areas.  Once I heard something interesting I would stop and walk around a bit to count what I saw.    


Here's our 24 species list for the day, as reported to Andrea:

  • 2    Canada Goose
  • 92   Mallard
  • 2    Common Merganser
  • 4     Herring Gull
  • 4    Ring-billed Gull
  • 1    Cooper’s Hawk
  • 3    Blue Jay
  • 99   Rock Pigeon
  • 18   American Crow
  • 26   Mourning Dove
  • 36   American Robin
  • 6    Downy Robin
  • 2    Hairy Woodpecker
  • 1    Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 5    White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1    Northern Flicker
  • 17   Black-capped Chickadee
  • 7    House Finch
  • 60   American Goldfinch
  • 15   Northern Cardinal
  • 7    Cedar Waxwing
  • 96   European Starling
  • 155 House Sparrow
  • 17   Dark-eyed Junco



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Another Year; Another Count - The Big Sit 2014

Bird Watcher's Digest offers the chance to be a participant in their annual BIG SIT in October.  I decided to participate once again as I had the time and the weather looked marvelous.  If you recall; last year's Big Sit was rainy and cold.  One does not get to match the weather with the chosen date.  From the BWD page, "Some people have called it a "tailgate party for birders." Find a good spot for bird watching—preferably one with good views of a variety of habitats and lots of birds. Next, create a real or imaginary circle 17 feet in diameter and sit inside the circle for 24 hours, counting all the bird species you see or hear. That's it. Find a spot, sit in it, have fun. Then submit your findings."



I arrived at Havenwoods around 8:00 AM.  The sun shone brightly in the low western sky with nary a cloud as the day unfolded.  A shroud of geothermal mist drifted over the pond as I first approached the wooden bench that faces south.  Mallards tipped their backsides into the air as they dug for plants and other delicious nuggets of nourishment on the shallow pond bottom.  American robins flitted back and forth from tree to tree.  Eastern bluebirds joined the robins but had nothing but angst for them as they squawked their disapproval of each other's proximity to the other.



One observation I made that day was of a "human nature" variety.  A group of people approached my circle

with three spunky young boys in the lead.  They rambunctiously ran ahead giggling and screaming as they passed me by and onto the bridge.  Another three people (a teenage girl and boy and one adult male) walked in their wake and also passed me by on their way to the other side of the bridge.  The adult shouted ahead to the youngest children to, "head left" and to one named Dominick; "you're the fastest...try to beat the others to the trail!"  All I could do was to lament the lost opportunity of that small group of humans to experience the smallest bit of "nature."  No one stopped to ask me what I was doing, looking at, etc.  The activity that they were engaged in (running through the forest) was one that could have taken place on any playground, parking lot, or shopping mall.  What have we become in this country?  Perhaps it is me?


Downy Woodpecker
Overall I didn't have long to sit; but the time I was able to devote was sheer quality birdwatching indeed; and who needs more that that?










Team Information: BirdMilwaukee
Captain: Joseph Devereaux
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin (United States)

Team Checklist
  1. Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
  2. Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
  3. Canada Goose Branta canadensis
  4. Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
  5. Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
  6. Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
  7. Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
  8. Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon
  9. Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus
  10. Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens
  11. Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus
  12. Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus
  13. Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe
  14. Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata
  15. American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
  16. Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus
  17. Red-breasted Nuthatch Sitta canadensis
  18. Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis
  19. Veery Catharus fuscescens
  20. Hermit Thrush Catharus guttatus
  21. American Robin Turdus migratorius
  22. Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis
  23. European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
  24. Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum
  25. Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata
  26. Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia
  27. Palm Warbler Dendroica palmarum
  28. Fox Sparrow Passerella iliaca
  29. Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
  30. Lincoln's Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii
  31. Swamp Sparrow Melospiza georgiana
  32. White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
  33. White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis
  34. Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis
  35. Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula
  36. American Goldfinch Spinus tristis
  37. House Sparrow Passer domesticus

Fox Sparrows

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Two-Wheeled Bird Watching with Dog

On a rare (non-raining) but humid Saturday morning at the end of June 2014; Barbara, Opie and I headed west in the WPT to do some bicycling before the rains were supposed to roll into Milwaukee.  We gathered up all the other important things we use when preparing to ride our bikes, and then stopped for a quick shopping trip to our local Wal-Mart grocery; packing a nice picnic lunch into a small soft-sided cooler.

The easternmost end of the New Berlin Recreation Trail begins near Greenfield Park and 124th street and is an offshoot of the mighty Oak Leaf Trail.  We had decided to bike the entire length this morning; all seven miles there and back.  It's a virtual straight shot paved trail that runs just to the south of the large metal power line towers (following them as they stretch west to Waukesha, WI and next to a quiet railroad track.

Dozens of Gray catbirds were in residence along both sides of the trail; screeching and meow-ing in the underbrush.  The mostly flat areas underneath the power towers were intermittently littered with Milkweed plants and eager Monarch butterflies flitting about in search of prime egg-laying territory.  The trail itself was busy.  Bicyclists of every shape, size and determination, were riding east and west calling out, "on your left" as they rode up behind us.  Opie was riding shotgun in his special fleece-lined basket on the front handlebars of Barbara's mountain bike.  People always smile and say something kind when they see him in there.

A Great egret in breeding plumage sat upon a log to the south of the trail in the middle of a backwater estuary.  American robins would drop down to the asphalt to hop from one side to the other as we approached their positions.  Common grackle, Red-winged blackbird, Song sparrow, American goldfinch, and Northern cardinal were the predominant species we encountered.  I also heard Killdeer, Common yellow-throat, house wren, and Northern rough-winged swallows as we rode from mile marker to mile marker along the trail.  Several dangerous road crossings across busy multi-lane roadways caused us to be extremely careful and wary of danger.  Heck, just bicycling along such an obviously popular route made one stay on their toes for fear of either being struck, or at minimum; verbally shamed by a more expert cyclist to, "stay on your side of the path."

The sun was slowly, but incrementally losing it's dominance in the sky as we neared our picnic spot; two wooden tables underneath one tower in the parking area of a weekend shift -Waukesha factory.  People on roller blades, recumbent bikes, and on foot continued to pass by us as we ate our pre-packaged ham and cheese triangles paired with some peach ice tea and barbeque potato chip lunch.  Sure it was only 10:40 AM; but the seven mile ride, coupled with a natural spot in which to eat comfortably, caused it to make sense to us.  Opie needed to stretch and go to the bathroom anyway. 

Bicycling with your parrot?
A curious site unveiled itself as we sat munching on our food; a pair of cyclists out with their parrot (and I thought Opie's bike rig was unique) was quite an eclectic sight to see indeed. Some jogger dude stopped them as they were riding by to chat; so I was able to snap a photo.  We eventually left our cozy table after about a half-hour break, to head back east from whence we had come.  The grade seemed to be slightly more in our (downhill) favor as we rode.  The sun was still cranking down and the slight breeze seemed to be in our face each way; which was weird.  We swung into Buena Park in New Berlin (which is directly off the trail) just to see what it was.  It was small but nice.  It had all the amenities of a good place to bring the kids; playground, ball diamond, tennis court, grassy field, etc.

The rest of the ride back was without incident.  We arrived back at the WPT to load the bikes at approximately 10:45 AM; just as thunder began to rumble in the distance.  After loading everything and our short drive back home; the rain began to fall by 11:30.  It seems we had timed it out just right. :)




Here's the bird list for the trip:

  1. Turkey vulture
  2. Canada goose
  3. American robin
  4. American goldfinch
  5. House finch
  6. House sparrow
  7. Song sparrow
  8. Grasshopper sparrow
  9. Killdeer
  10. Common grackle
  11. Great egret
  12. Northern cardinal
  13. Gray catbird
  14. Northern rough-winged swallow
  15. Mallard
  16. Mourning dove
  17. American crow
  18. Red-winged blackbird
  19. Black-capped chickadee
  20. Lincoln's sparrow
  21. Blue jay
  22. European starling



New Berlin Recreation Trail

Trailside Cycle - Calhoun Road Crossing

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Hang in there...Don't let "them" win!

...and now...time for a RANT!

Whether we wish to admit it (or even consider it); we humans have an ongoing love-hate relationship with animals.  From the dawn of time when the serpent tempted Eve and ruined her Garden party, to that pesky and thoroughly destructive Gray squirrel that gleefully nips the heads off your emerging spring tulips; animals can really piss you off sometimes.

Why would I even “go there?”  Well, the other day when I was in the rental’s storage area in the basement going through the camping gear for the first time this season; it came to me.  I was unloading things that I had carefully arranged on the built-in shelving, when I reached the top shelf.   This was where I had left the items specific to backpack-style camping; including a substantial amount of expensive dried meals.  My first indications that I had a “situation,” were the multiple piles of chocolate jimmies and shredded foil lying on the shelf.  I grabbed the bag that had previously contained what was supposed to be deliciously dehydrated, human food and instead discovered only the completely chewed up remains of the air-tight packaging, intermingled with the stench of vermin urine.  That made me mad!  I was mad first at the audacity of whatever tiny, whiskered interloper had fed itself all winter-long on premium dried camp-chow; and then at myself for my trust.  I mean, “C’Mon!”  Sure, I had culpability for placing the food on a basement shelf, but I sure as hell didn't also place a “free meals for mice” sign on the containers.

As if the lost food wasn't enough; the little shit (or shits) had made a nest and toilet facility out of my stuff-able Coleman camp pillow and a nearby tent bag.  I was fuming at the very injustice of this egregious and ruinous affront to my stuff as I swept, vacuumed, and tossed previously perfectly good items into the trash bin.  Also, imagine the irony on my way outside to the alley dumpsters as I noticed that even the avian-loving “Birdstud” isn't immune to having birdshit on the hood of his vehicle.

This entire spring has also found me battling daily to regroup from the insane digging and pouch-full plantings of black-oil sunflower seeds by some damn Chipmunk that lives under the front porch.  Yes, I put the stupid seeds out (FOR THE BIRDS) but must I also suffer the consequences of this misguided rodent gardener.  For crying’ out loud “chippy,” what the hell exactly do you think you’re doing removing the soil from around freshly planted annuals, just to shove a soggy mouthful of seeds into the dirt, that will only sprout into more plants?!  If you thought this was effective seed-hoarding behavior; you’re wrong…not unless you are purposely doing your level best to grow even more plants for an eventual fall harvest!  Alas, you feed the birds; you also get rodents.

Who amongst you (dear reader) have not had your prized (such and such) plant nibbled to the ground by a feral bunny rabbit or lumbering woodchuck?  The residents of the Northwoods have to endure non-stop destruction of their beloved flora by a host of woodsy creatures.  Whitetail deer and Black bear are amongst the leading candidates of disdain when it comes to trying to be in harmony with Mother Nature while attempting to manage a stupid three-month garden.  People have spent tens of thousands each year re-planting, and re-purchasing in a vain struggle to enjoy the great outdoors and live in harmony with every living creature.  Skunks that spray inside your garage full of recreational equipment, cats that have litters of unplanned young in your pop-up camper,  horses that chew up your decorative woodwork, to bats and pigeons taking up residency in your attic and decorating your child’s box of saved artwork…it seems that nothing is sacred.  I haven’t even started on our beloved house pets!  Cats that spitefully piss in your closet on your fancy cowboy boot collection because they are irritated with you, and the dog that eats your brand new couch while you had the audacity to go to work and leave them alone.  THESE are the times that try men’s souls.


What are we (humans) to do?  Basically, there’s nothing we CAN do but keep rolling with the punches we receive from animals, insects, etc.  If you think about it (and you've seen the old Sci-fi movies, like Planet of the Apes, Logan's Run, Day of the Triffids, Food of the Gods or Night of the Lepus) we are only a few months of doing no maintenance, from the natural world completely devouring up everything we have built and/or created.  Bugs, lizards, vines, tree roots, and dirt piles will eventually win the day if we give up, turn our backs, or let “them” win.  So, are you with me?  Step outside and yell the following with me, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

Beware!

Don't let your guard down!
...there...I feel better already...

Friday, June 6, 2014

Weekend at Weborg

The week after Memorial Day was beautiful.  The weather was mild and sunny, and the rain held off until we needed to leave.  Thankfully, eleven months prior I had decided to set my alarm for a specific time to alert me to the fact that I needed to log into the Reserve America camping reservation site to grab a (highly prized) campsite at Weborg loop; Peninsula State Park, Fish Creek, WI.  These twelve specific State-run campsites are among the most highly coveted in all of Door County.  The reason is that they are more intimately situated far away from the vast majority of the other sites, all electric with their own toilet and shower facility, tout recently upgraded electrical infrastructure, have incredible views of nearby Fish Creek, WI across a beautiful bay, and are (wait for it…) privy to some of the park’s most desirable bird watching ecosystem.

Our site (106) was chosen because it exposed a lovely water-view and was on the “end” nearest the overflow parking lot.  It was a wide open spot with the most available clear, grass and dandelion landscape.  About the only drawback to the site only effects “tent” campers like us.  Unfortunately rules are rules and “camping” (via RV or tent) must only occur on the designated areas.  Well, the State-designated area for any tent is at the end of the gravel drive in a non-descript “circular area” of more gravel; that’s it.  What that means is that in order to have any smooth and soft area under your feet is to layer many tarps down under the tent before you set it up.  The second pain is that you’ll need heavy duty tent stakes (like landscaping nails) in order to anchor the tent corner loops through the hard-packed gravel substrate.  For your information; tent kits don’t generally contain that industrial-grade style of anchoring hardware…good luck.  Rule-followers that Barbara and I are; we complied even though our camp-neighbors didn’t seem to get the same memo.

Firewood is another bugaboo (pun intended) as you are no longer “allowed” by the State to transport any firewood INTO a State Park unless you can certify that it was purchased (according to their website) ten miles or less from that particular Park.  I state it that way, as a sign within the Park listed the (old) distance of 25 miles…go figure.  The rationale is that pesky Emerald Ash Borer and what it can do to a stand of trees if it is accidentally “imported” from one besieged woods to another unsuspecting glade of fresh and vulnerable trees….Mmmwhahahaha…  Anyway, obtaining firewood was now quite “locally” monopolized and everyone must pay the price; regardless.

I was standing next to the end of the obligatory State Park campsite-picnic table cooking bacon the first  morning in camp when I had an idea.  There was this old Coleman, white gas, single burner contraption that my friend Dave Dombrowski gave me; and I thought I’d see if it worked.  Dave, a habitual rummage-saler and scrounger; picked it up “cheap” somewhere and never used it.  He gave it and some other cool camping stuff to Barbara and me during a visit to their home.  Well, (I reasoned) it was kinda-sorta like the Coleman lantern I had along on this trip; pump it up to add pressure to the liquid gas so that it atomized at the point of flame contact.  How hard could it be to resurrect the old contraption?   I “pumped it up” and turned the gas valve to let the pressurized gas flow to the burner.  I held a stick lighter there and a small flame began to sputter.  I watched and thought, “oh, this may actually work as a small stove burner…,” when that sputtering flame began to build, and build, and flow underneath the burner to the gas tank, and build…I shut off the valve…it got bigger and bigger and bigger.  I panicked and grabbed the entire fire-engulfed thing and flung it to the grass behind me.  Just then I heard a sweet but concerned female voice call out, “Are you OK?”  Then, for whatever God-blessed reason, the antique rummage-sale-deal / turned-conflagration, blessedly self-extinguished as it tumbled along the lawn.  Whew!  I answered, “I am now,” in a sheepish but grateful voice as I looked over to the tent window where Barbara stood watching the exciting scene unfold.

One important factor that (in hindsight) I wish I’d been briefed upon, was the fact that clouds of mosquitos had recently hatched and were now hungrily awaiting fresh camper-grade hemoglobin.   This interesting factoid of nature is one that is not difficult to understand; birds eat lots of bugs = lots of bugs bring lots of birds.  The hard part of that simple equation is that undesirable bugs also enjoy bothering humans and pets while waiting being eagerly eaten by our desirable avian friends.  Enter Deep Woods Off wipes…LOTS of them!  Long pants and sweatshirts also help; but the temps predicated (at least my hot persona) the wearing of shorts and short sleeve shirts.  No problem, as the trade-off was the great outdoors and plentiful quantities and varieties of birds…just don’t accidentally lick your fingers…yuuuck!

I have written before in this blog about Peninsula StatePark, so I won’t belabor and regale you with rehashed specificities regarding the layout or amenities, as you can read about that yourself.  What I will say is that we both thoroughly enjoyed our time in camp for various reasons.  One such enjoyable time came on one early morning, when Barbara and I accidentally wandered into a “Nature Walk” that was about to start near the Weborg Marsh trail.  A small group of four women (three of which appeared to have on “official-looking” uniforms) stood talking near the roadway as we approached.  Two of the officials finished up their brief nature-walk primer to the third (youngest of the three) and the four of us (now) wandered east into the woods on a small grass and weed path led by that one remaining official State Park representative.  Her name is Katie and she explained to Barbara, me and the third nature-walk attendee that she was “new” and would do her best to impart some basic forest and avian knowledge.   She did fine.  Was she as knowledgeable as I am with birds?  No, but I am 52 years old and have been birding since 2003.  The few feathered facts she did know were more than enough for a casual camper to be fascinated with.  I did learn some plant and species information such as, what “Bloodroot” looks like and that a pretty, purple, smallish flower was called a “Dwarf-like Iris.”  I also remember something about a “Canada May-something-or-other” and that there are several types of Solomon’s seal varieties depending on the bloom; but she’d have to get her book to know which one.  I think I also know what Poison Ivy looks like compared to another plant which looks like Poison Ivy.  At least I hope I can tell the difference.  The tour lasted about 45 minutes and ended with all four of us chatting in the roadway next to our campsite.  Overall; Katie was youthfully delightful and energetically adequate as a tour guide in her wide-eyed “newness.”

Water in the bay on one of many sunny mornings sparkled like a million diamonds with the slight breeze encouraging it.  Bird watching (particularly warbler-watching) was amazing by late-May standards in Wisconsin.  I was fortunate to see many FOYs during the few days we camped.  The two of us (and sometimes Opie) saw birds while hiking and biking.  At one point; we even took a side trip into “town” (about six blocks) to a small hardly-used Town Park, to walk (with Opie) along the serpentine trail that extended out the back of the grounds.  On another day-trip we rode our bikes up a paved road in the State Park to the very peak of altitude to look from Sven’s Bluff, out onto Green Bay and the islands that can be seen from there.  I heard an unfamiliar bird sound.  Tracking it down eventually yielded a lovely Mourning warbler that was in the woods opposite the overlook.  Black-throated green warblers could also be heard high in the quickly leaf-advancing tree-tops.  The forest floor here was (in large patches) almost completely covered with Lily of the Valley and the beautifully cloying scent of them (my favorite scented flower) filled the air as we rode.  Trillium dotted the landscape and in certain areas had already turned to the signature pink shade as they had aged.  Garlic mustard seemed to be handled in most areas of the Park; however they still had large swaths to eradicate.  Poison had been sprayed on some sections and marked accordingly alongside the paved road as bicyclists of varying prowess and intelligence (the groups without any helmets) rode both their personal and rented machines.


Wood frogs and toads began to strike up their cacophonous marshland band just as the sun began to set along the Sunset Trail.  Spring peepers joined in and crickets happily added their voice to nature’s evening chorus.  The air was cool enough for us to run the electric “milkhouse heater” that Thomas Devereaux (my father) had gifted to us the fall before.  We were glad to have had it packed along for this spring trip.  Each night after a time in front of the campfire sipping adult beverages; we climbed aboard the S.S. Air-Mattress and attempted to overcome the permanent (gravel-provided) downhill list.  This meant dragging yourself incrementally uphill throughout your night to keep from falling off and or/being uncovered by the sheets.  Opie didn’t help either as he is always (middle-up) in-between us, as his place of preferential sleeping/security position.  Either way; through exhaustion or necessity, one finally does eventually drift off to sleep regardless of the unending natural noise, or pitch of the mattress.   Ahhh...all the creature comforts of home…and we paid good money to live like this for a time.

Here's our birding species list for the four days:
  1. Least flycatcher
  2. Eastern kingbird
  3. American redstart
  4. Black-capped chickadee
  5. Black and white warbler
  6. Red-winged blackbird
  7. Baltimore oriole
  8. Common yellowthroat
  9. Yellow warbler
  10. American white pelican
  11. American robin
  12. Blue jay
  13. Red-breasted nuthatch
  14. American crow
  15. Common grackle
  16. Northern cardinal
  17. Eastern phoebe
  18. Herring gull
  19. Northern flicker
  20. Mourning dove
  21. Common merganser
  22. American goldfinch
  23. Red-eyed vireo
  24. Cedar waxwing
  25. Song sparrow
  26. Gray catbird
  27. Turkey vulture
  28. Northern rough-winged swallow
  29. Great egret
  30. Chestnut-sided warbler
  31. Blackburnian warbler
  32. Ovenbird
  33. Indigo bunting
  34. Black-throated Green warbler
  35. Common loon
  36. Great-crested flycatcher
  37. Double-crested cormorant
  38. Common nighthawk
  39. Chimney swift
  40. Chipping sparrow
  41. Canada goose
  42. Eastern wood pewee
  43. Killdeer
  44. Least flycatcher
  45. Scarlet tanager
  46. Wild turkey
  47. Ruffed grouse
  48. Barn swallow
  49. Bald eagle
  50. Hairy woodpecker
  51. Ring-billed gull
  52. Alder flycatcher
  53. Red-bellied woodpecker
  54. Common tern
  55. White-breasted nuthatch
  56. Pileated woodpecker
  57. Solitary sandpiper
  58. Mourning warbler

Saturday, May 17, 2014

"Birding Pals" from around the globe

My first experience with being a local birding guide occurred on Saturday, May 17th 2014.  I had been
contacted a couple weeks earlier (via email) from a gentleman who was in my area visiting his daughter from Germany, and wished to go out and see some of the local birds.  He contacted me through a web service called "Birding Pals" that offers birders from around the globe an opportunity to connect.  I had signed up over a year ago and had basically forgotten it but was thrilled to see an email land in my inbox from a requesting bird watcher.  Of course I replied, "yes" and that I would love to go out birding together.  

The following is direct from the BirdingPal website and describes what exactly it is:

"The History of Birdingpal 

Birdingpal.org was started year 2000 by Knud Rasmussen, a Canadian birder, who found himself alone in British Columbia, Canada with a day to spare for a little birdwatching.  Spending most of the time driving around trying to find good birding spots, he realized that if there had been an existing website, he could have contacted a local birder via the internet from his laptop. The day would not only have been more productive, but also a good chance to meet a new person with the same interests as himself. This gave him the seed of an idea for a birdwatching website.

Within a month, he launched Birdingpal, a global site for traveling birders.  Today, Birdingpal has more than 3200 contacts in 156 countries including all the US states and Canadian provinces, and provides an important source of information for the traveling birder.  Birdingpal is ideal for business/conference travelers, who like to take a day or two for their favorite hobby while in a new place, but who do not have the time to do extensive research before they leave.  Many birders are retired people, who like to travel, and Birdingpal is the perfect tool to assist them in planning a trip that gets the best out of birding and provides an opportunity to meet local people.  It is not unusual for birders, who have met each other on Birdingpal, to become good friends and even visit each other. 


What is a Birdingpal?

Someone who signs up to be a Birdingpal is a local birder, who, regardless of his/her experience, is prepared to answer email inquires to the best of his/her ability, and possibly agree to show a visitor around.  Many Birdingpals are highly skilled birdwatchers with many years experience. Some are keen photographers, and others are heavily involved with habitat and wildlife protection. Many members have been Birdingpals for years.  A professional Pal will charge a fee, but whether or not to bird with a professional is, of course, entirely up to the person contacting them.  Birding with a local Pal, not only makes birdwatching more productive, but also safer, since they are familiar with their own customs and environment."



I met 66 year-old, retired pharmacy supervisor, Andreas Bader from Bielefeld, Germany at the Hart Park Senior Center at 8:30 AM.  His daughter dropped him off when they spotted the WPT.  We greeted one another as his daughter drove off (apparently satisfied that she hadn't delivered 'ol Dad into the hands of a serial killer) and that was that.  We strapped on our various birding gear and began walking West out of the park and towards the Menomonee (Underwood Creek) waterway section that I frequent nearer to Hoyt Park.  Andreas' spoken English was 1000 percent better than my one or two German phrases I absorbed from my children's four-year German studies; so we had no trouble communicating.  Andreas told me that he'd been birding a long time and that he had a rather extensive Life List, but he had not really ever sat down to compile one.  It was on his German equivalent of a bucket list, now that he had retired.

Thankfully the weather was completely cooperative (sunny, cool and a bit partly cloudy with low wind speeds) as we walked.  I set my typical slow bird watching pace, and that seemed to suite Andreas just fine.  We encountered several groups of walkers, dog walkers, runners, joggers, and a guy collecting Morel mushrooms in a black silken sack.  The guy graciously opened it up so I could see what one looked like and told me that this very weekend was the Muscoda, WI 32nd annual Morel Mushroom fest and that he was bummed to be missing it.  Yeah, I could understand that...missing something like that when it was your hobby is a real downer.  Who knew that Muscoda was the Morel Mushroom Capital of Wisconsin?  Plus, it's in Grant County; a place where I have visited and love to hang out in.  Now, it's on my own list for the near future, for sure.


We walked my usual pathway and traversed the same general circuit which Barbara and I have made many

times.  The birds were diverse and plentiful!  There were far more Baltimore orioles than I have ever seen in my ten years of walking along the river (creek).  Andreas had never seen a Wood thrush, so first I heard one and then we tracked one down so he could actually see it.  He had with him, two digital cameras; one quite large and expensive looking.  He was able to get some rather nice images as we walked and paused for picture taking.  We chatted a bit (about birds) as we moved from area to area; me preparing him for what he'd most likely see before we reached the spot.  A cool wind kicked up a bit in the open "prairie" area of the County Detention Pond, so we were both glad we had dressed in layers and had worn a hat.  

Sora rail (photographed in FL - 2010)
It was there that I heard and identified the "whinny" of at least one if not two Sora rails in the marsh grass.  Andreas had never heard one before, but was soon imitating the sound.  These small birds are quite elusive. and from the distance we were to them; we had no chance to eyeball any.  He also was able to see his first ever Eastern kingbird, Savannah sparrow, and Lincoln's sparrow in this area.  He was thrilled.


Chestnut-sided warbler
We spent about three hours on the trail before deciding to retreat to town.  We both were hungry so I suggested a new place that neither he nor I had been in called Cafe' Bavaria in downtown Wauwatosa.  Of course its the coolest thing ever to go to a new "German" restaurant (or even an old one) with an actual German guy right?  I suggested we order beer and a Bavarian pretzel with mustard and cheese.  Andreas agreed and the two of us sat there enjoying our food and drink while looking at the images we had taken earlier.  Andreas picked up the tab and we walked back to the WPT sitting in Hart Park parking. I then drove him to his daughter's house to bid him farewell, but not before he gifted me with authentic Storck chocolates from Berlin.  All in all, the entire experience was enjoyable and rewarding for the both of us.  Now, each of us has a "BirdingPal" in another country; and fond memories to cherish always.

The WPT (Birdstud-mobile) - Andreas photo


Here's our list for the morning:
  1. Mallard
  2. Canada goose
  3. Solitary sandpiper
  4. Northern cardinal
  5. Tree sparrow
  6. Lincoln's sparrow
  7. Savannah sparrow
  8. House sparrow
  9. Barn swallow
  10. Northern rough-winged swallow
  11. Tree swallow
  12. Eastern kingbird
  13. Cedar waxwing
  14. Red-bellied woodpecker
  15. Downy woodpecker
  16. Hairy woodpecker
  17. Blue-gray gnatcatcher
  18. Wilson's warbler
  19. American redstart
  20. Wood thrush
  21. American robin
  22. American crow
  23. Black and white warbler
  24. Common grackle
  25. European starling
  26. Mourning dove
  27. Black-capped chickadee
  28. American goldfinch
  29. House finch
  30. Alder flycatcher
  31. Least flycatcher
  32. Blue jay
  33. Sora rail
  34. Red-winged blackbird
  35. Marsh wren
  36. House wren
  37. Common yellowthroat
  38. Baltimore oriole
American Redstarts F (left) and M (right)
Andreas' Kingbird - Photo by him

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Stuck at 291

Disclaimer:
Admittedly blogging (Web-logging) of any kind; subject, theme, topic, etc. exists primarily to satisfy the needs and desires of the individual blogger.  Those "needs" vary from pure, unadulterated narcissism to casual FYI, but the general message is intended to catalog/capture the blog-writer's thoughts and experiences at that time.  It's really like a "dear diary" entry that the entire world could see if it wanted.  Consequently the blog that follows, will exist first and foremost to document a time-stamp intended for my amusement but secondarily; to relay information to any potential reader for the purposes of entertainment and possible comparison of experience.

Now, having said that let me ask you (dear reader) a question; do you keep personal lists?  By its very nature the list is a compiled assortment of words and phrases intended to engender a memory.  Memories can be pleasant or unpleasant right?  I personally prefer the pleasant ones; so for the purposes of this blog entry we will focus on those lists.  Pleasant lists can be for entertainment, information, achievement, goals, expectations, or for pure pleasure.  Lists may cause you to do something or they may merely log something already done.  My favorite list kept, is my birding "Life List."

A birding Life List is simply a record of all the birds you have seen in your "life." These can be by species alone (as in "I saw my first American robin at...such and such a place on such and such a date.") or they can be a list of EACH time you see an American robin. It's basically your choice...it's your list. However to be bird-ifically correct (which I hardly ever am) your Life List must be (according to Melissa Mayntz; contributer to About.com) "A cumulative record of bird species that have been positively identified and seen by individual birders. Most birders prefer to record only birds they have observed in natural habitats, and many birders arrange birding tours and travel to local and regional festivals to see more species to add to their life lists. Differences within species, such as male and female birds, are not generally recorded.  Many field guides offer species checklists as an appendix that birders can use to record their life lists. Some birders also prefer to keep life list records in an online birding journal. Additional lists may be kept for backyard birds, rare birds, state birds and other specialized categories."  

I once tried to be helpful and registered with Wikipedia and tried to create a Wiki-page called the "Lifelist." I entered everything I knew about the how to and why to and whatever history I could about the topic, only to have (those people) PULL the thing down telling me that there "was no such thing" as a Lifelist.  That was discouraging.  Perhaps because I didn't insert the "space" in between "life" and "list?"  They also said I didn't provide enough page "references."  Pshaw!  Who needs a reference for a list anyway?  Here is what exists (they allowed) at the present time, on their site.  Humph...they even took umbrage to my using the word "birdwatcher" as a single word...can you imagine!?  Pin-headed, pencil neck (non-birdwatching) e-critics...

I have been keeping several birding lists since 2003.  Two I regularly update are my (A: every time I have positively identified a previously unlisted species, and my B: each time I see the same species, each year and throughout the year) lists.  You might ask yourself why I'd want to record each time I see an American robin right?  The answer is simple; I (personally) want to see from year to year and from location to location, the information about American robins that I have collected.  More importantly to those who religiously report to eBird; the data is invaluable to scientists and ecology-minded individuals who track the various species from month to month and from year to year.  I know to the lay person and non-birder the entire process is completely nerdy and dumb, but to birders it is fun and exciting.  Hell, each time I score an FOY I am over the moon with joy as I tap into my smartphone, the date, species, location, habitat and time of day.  But then again; it takes so little to make me happy.

Oh yes I did!
In a future blog I will be reviewing the various "APPS" that are available for your own smartphone if you want to go to the "next level" of bird watching.  I currently use the one from Audubon, however many people swear by others.  I actually really loved my Palm Pilot APP before it became uncool and dorky to even show it in public.  But then again; I said I'd cover that later.  For now I want to share with you (appease my own self-interests) and paste my very own (single species identified) Lifelist on this blog entry...you're welcome.  While I haven't been off the "mainland" to any exotic countries in pursuit of avian life in my mere eleven years of watching; I have been to, and listed, some great birds at Ponca State Park...and that's something.  I know...you're jealous right?

Last
First
Location seen
Avocet
American
Yellowstone National Park
Bittern
American
Tomahawk, WI
Blackbird
Brewer's
Chicago Botanical Gardens, IL
Blackbird
Red-winged
Rhinelander, WI
Blackbird
Rusty
Underwood Creek, Wauwatosa, WI
Blackbird
Yellow-headed
Yellowstone National Park
Bluebird
Eastern
Havenwoods State Forest, Milwaukee, WI
Bluebird
Mountain
Rocky Mountain National Park
Bluebird
Western
Kit Carson Park, Escondido, CA
Bobwhite
Northern
Dousman, WI
Bunting
Indigo
Dousman, WI
Bunting
Lark
Ponca State Park, NE
Bunting
Lazuli
Ponca State Park, NE
Cardinal
Northern
Rhinelander, WI
Catbird
Gray
Enderis Park (Home), WI
Chickadee
Black-capped
Rhinelander, WI
Chickadee
Boreal
Rocky Mountain National Park
Chickadee
Carolina
Lake Guntersville State Park, AL
Chickadee
Chestnut-backed
Yellowstone National Park
Chickadee
Mountain
Yellowstone National Park
Coot
American
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Cormorant
Brandt's
South Beach State Park, OR
Cormorant
Double-crested
Peninsula State Park, WI
Cormorant
Pelagic
South Beach State Park, OR
Cowbird
Brown-headed
Rhinelander, WI
Crane
Sandhill
Ottowa State Park, Delafield, WI
Creeper
Brown
Lake Park, Milwaukee, WI
Crossbill
White-winged
County Grounds / Cemetery, Wauwatosa, WI
Crow
American
Rhinelander, WI
Cuckoo
Common
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Dipper
American
Rocky Mountain National Park
Dove
Eurasian Collared
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Dove
Ground
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Dove
Mourning
Rhinelander, WI
Dove
Ringed Turtle
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Dove
Rock
Rhinelander, WI
Duck
American Black
Grant Park, Milwaukee, WI
Duck
Harlequin
Haystack Rock, OR
Duck
Mottled
Orlando, FLA
Duck
Ring-necked
Horicon Marsh
Duck
Ruddy
Horicon Marsh
Duck
Wood
County Grounds / Cemetery, Wauwatosa, WI
Eagle
Bald
Rhinelander, WI
Egret
Cattle
Orlando, FLA
Egret
Great
Orlando, FLA
Egret
Reddish
Orlando, FLA
Egret
Snowy
Orlando, FLA
Falcon
Prairie
Ponca State Park, NE
Finch
Cassin's
Yellowstone National Park
Finch
House
Enderis Park (Home), WI
Finch
Purple
Rhinelander, WI
Flicker
Red-shafted Northern
Ponca State Park, NE
Flicker
Yellow-Shafted Northern
Rhinelander, WI
Flycatcher
Acadian
Black River Flowage, Kohler-Andrae SP, WI
Flycatcher
Alder
Hart Park, Wauwatosa, WI
Flycatcher
Great Crested
Lake Guntersville State Park, AL
Flycatcher
Least
Broughton Sheboygan Marsh
Flycatcher
Scissor-tailed
Durango State Park, KS
Flycatcher
Vermillion
Kartchner Caverns State Park, AZ
Flycatcher
Willow
Black River Flowage, Kohler-Andrae SP, WI
Gallinule
Purple
Panama City, FLA
Gannet
Northern
Cape San Blas, FLA
Gnatcatcher
Blue-gray
Brookfield, WI
Goldeneye
Common
Lake Shore Park, Milwaukee, WI
Goldfinch
American
Rhinelander, WI
Goldfinch
Lesser
Imperial Drive Escondido, CA
Goose
Canada
Rhinelander, WI
Goose
Snow
Hayward, WI
Grackle
Boat-tailed
Mustang Island, TX
Grackle
Common
Rhinelander, WI
Grebe
Pied-billed
County Grounds / Cemetery, Wauwatosa, WI
Grebe
Western
Lake Hodges, CA
Grosbeak
Blue
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Grosbeak
Evening
Rhinelander, WI
Grosbeak
Rose-breasted
Rhinelander, WI
Grouse
Ruffed
Treehaven, Rhinelander, WI
Gull
Bonaparte's
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Gull
California
Lincoln City, OR
Gull
Heermann's
Lincoln City, OR
Gull
Herring
Grand Marais, MN
Gull
Laughing
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Gull
Ring-billed
Grand Marais, MN
Harrier
Northern
Broughton Sheboygan Marsh
Hawk
Broad-winged
Lake Park, Milwaukee, WI
Hawk
Cooper's
Enderis Park (Home), WI
Hawk
Red-shouldered
Lake Louisa State Park, FLA
Hawk
Red-tailed
Hart Park, Wauwatosa, WI
Hawk
Sharp-shinned
Hart Park, Wauwatosa, WI
Heron
Black-crowned Night
Cedar Point, OH
Heron
Great Blue
Rhinelander, WI
Heron
Green
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Heron
Little Blue
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Heron
Tricolored
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Hummingbird
Anna's
Imperial Drive Escondido, CA
Hummingbird
Black-chinned
Kartchner Caverns State Park, AZ
Hummingbird
Ruby-throated
Rhinelander, WI
Ibis
White
Lake Louisa State Park, FLA
Jay
Blue
Rhinelander, WI
Jay
Gray
Rocky Mountain National Park
Jay
Steller's
Rocky Mountain National Park
Junco
Dark-eyed
Rhinelander, WI
Kestrel
American
Havenwoods State Forest, Milwaukee, WI
Kingbird
Cassin's
Imperial Drive Escondido, CA
Kingbird
Eastern
Hart Park, Wauwatosa, WI
Kingfisher
Belted
Menominee River Parkway, Wauwatosa, WI
Kinglet
Golden-crowned
Menominee River Parkway, Wauwatosa, WI
Kinglet
Ruby-crowned
Menominee River Parkway, Wauwatosa, WI
Kite
Swallow-tailed
Lake Louisa State Park, FLA
Lark
Horned
Rhinelander, WI
Loon
Common
Rhinelander, WI
Loon
Pacific
South Beach State Park, OR
Magpie
Black-billed
Yellowstone National Park
Martin
Purple
Lake Guntersville State Park, AL
Meadowlark
Eastern
Havenwoods State Forest, Milwaukee, WI
Meadowlark
Western
Ponca State Park, NE
Merganser
Common
Hayward, WI
Merganser
Hooded
Hayward, WI
Merganser
Red-breasted
Horicon Marsh
Mockingbird
Northern
Cape San Blas, FLA
Moorhen
Common
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Nighthawk
Common
Blue Mounds State Park, MN
Nuthatch
Brown-headed
Yellowstone National Park
Nuthatch
Red-breasted
Moon Lake Camp, MI
Nuthatch
White-breasted
Rhinelander, WI
Oriole
Baltimore
Ponca State Park, NE
Oriole
Bullock's
Ponca State Park, NE
Oriole
Hooded
Imperial Drive Escondido, CA
Oriole
Orchard
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Owl
Barred
Peninsula State Park, WI
Owl
Great Horned
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Oystercatcher
American
Haystack Rock, OR
Oystercatcher
Black
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Parula
Northern
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Pelican
American White
Peninsula State Park, WI
Pelican
Brown
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Pheasant
Ring-necked
Blue Mounds State Park, MN
Phoebe
Black
Imperial Drive Escondido, CA
Phoebe
Eastern
Rhinelander, WI
Pintail
Northern
Horicon Marsh
Plover
Black-bellied
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Plover
Semipalmated
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Plover
Snowy
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Rail
King
Cape San Blas, FLA
Rail
Sora
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Raven
Common
Rocky Mountain National Park
Redpoll
Common
Rhinelander, WI
Redstart
American
Peninsula State Park, WI
Robin
American
Rhinelander, WI
Sandpiper
Solitary
Peninsula State Park, WI
Sandpiper
Spotted
Fort Meyers Beach, FL
Sandpiper
Upland
Ponca State Park, NE
Sandpiper
Western
Lake Hodges, CA
Sapsucker
Red-naped
Yellowstone National Park
Sapsucker
Yellow-bellied
Rhinelander, WI
Scaup
Lesser
Lake Shore Park, Milwaukee, WI
Screech-Owl
Eastern
Peninsula State Park, WI
Scrub-Jay
Florida
Cape Canaveral, FLA
Scrub-Jay
Western
Imperial Drive Escondido, CA
Shoveler
Northern
Coast Guard Property near Lk. Michigan
Shrike
Loggerhead
Cape San Blas, FLA
Shrike
Northern
Black River Flowage, Kohler-Andrae SP, WI
Siskin
Pine
Rhinelander, WI
Skimmer
Black
South Beach State Park, OR
Sparrow
American Tree
County Grounds / Cemetery, Wauwatosa, WI
Sparrow
Chipping
Rhinelander, WI
Sparrow
Clay-colored
Lake Park, Milwaukee, WI
Sparrow
Field
Horicon Marsh
Sparrow
Fox
Chicago Botanical Gardens, IL
Sparrow
Golden-crowned
Willamette Mission State Park - Salem, OR
Sparrow
Grasshopper
Cape San Blas, FLA
Sparrow
House
Rhinelander, WI
Sparrow
Lark
Horicon Marsh
Sparrow
Lincoln's
Lake Park, Milwaukee, WI
Sparrow
Savannah
Havenwoods State Forest, Milwaukee, WI
Sparrow
Song
Peninsula State Park, WI
Sparrow
Swamp
Havenwoods State Forest, Milwaukee, WI
Sparrow
Tan-Striped White-throated
Enderis Park (Home), WI
Sparrow
Vesper
Lake Park, Milwaukee, WI
Sparrow
White-crowned
Enderis Park (Home), WI
Sparrow
White-throated
Enderis Park (Home), WI
Spoonbill
Roseate
Orlando, FLA
Starling
European
Rhinelander, WI
Stilt
Black-necked
Cape Canaveral, FLA
Stork
Wood
Orlando, FLA
Swallow
Barn
Rhinelander, WI
Swallow
Cliff
Horicon Marsh
Swallow
Northern Rough-winged
Horicon Marsh
Swallow
Tree
Rhinelander, WI
Swallow
Violet-green
Rocky Mountain National Park
Swan
Mute
Rhinelander, WI
Swift
Chimney
Rhinelander, WI
Swift
White-throated
Yellowstone National Park
Tanager
Scarlet
Dousman, WI
Tanager
Summer
Cape San Blas, FLA
Tanager
Western
Yellowstone National Park
Teal
Blue-winged
Havenwoods State Forest, Milwaukee, WI
Teal
Cinnamon
Yellowstone National Park
Teal
Green-winged
Grant Park, Milwaukee, WI
Tern
Black
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Tern
Common
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Tern
Forster's
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Tern
Roseate
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Tern
Royal
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Tern
Sandwich
Mustang Island, TX
Thrasher
Brown
Lake Guntersville State Park, AL
Thrush
Hermit
Lake Park, Milwaukee, WI
Thrush
Swainson's
Lake Park, Milwaukee, WI
Thrush
Wood
Lake Park, Milwaukee, WI
Titmouse
Tufted
Lake Louisa State Park, FLA
Towhee
California (Brown)
Imperial Drive Escondido, CA
Towhee
Spotted (Eastern)
Lake Louisa State Park, FLA
Turkey
Wild
Peninsula State Park, WI
Turnstone
Black
Haystack Rock, OR
Turnstone
Ruddy
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Vireo
Black-whiskered
Broughton Sheboygan Marsh
Vireo
Blue-headed
Broughton Sheboygan Marsh
Vireo
Philadelphia
Lake Park, Milwaukee, WI
Vireo
Red-eyed
Moon Lake Camp, MI
Vireo
Warbling
Broughton Sheboygan Marsh
Vireo
White-eyed
Cape San Blas, FLA
Vireo
Yellow-throated
Moon Lake Camp, MI
Vulture
Black
Cape Canaveral, FLA
Vulture
Turkey
Rhinelander, WI
Warbler
Bay-breasted
Lake Park, Milwaukee, WI
Warbler
Black-and-white
Lake Park, Milwaukee, WI
Warbler
Blackburnian
Lake Park, Milwaukee, WI
Warbler
Blackpoll
Lake Park, Milwaukee, WI
Warbler
Black-throated Blue
Peninsula State Park, WI
Warbler
Black-throated Green
Peninsula State Park, WI
Warbler
Blue-winged
Tomahawk, WI
Warbler
Canada
Tomahawk, WI
Warbler
Cape May
Lake Park, Milwaukee, WI
Warbler
Chestnut-sided
Tomahawk, WI
Warbler
Golden-winged
Peninsula State Park, WI
Warbler
Hooded
Peninsula State Park, WI
Warbler
Kentucky
Peninsula State Park, WI
Warbler
Lucy's
Lake Park, Milwaukee, WI
Warbler
Magnolia
Tomahawk, WI
Warbler
Mourning
Tomahawk, WI
Warbler
Nashville
Tomahawk, WI
Warbler
Orange-crowned
Menominee River Parkway, Wauwatosa, WI
Warbler
Palm
County Grounds / Cemetery, Wauwatosa, WI
Warbler
Pine
Tomahawk, WI
Warbler
Prairie
tomahawk, WI
Warbler
Prothonotary
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Warbler
Red-faced
Enderis Park (Home), WI
Warbler
Tennessee
Rhinelander, WI
Warbler
Wilson's
Menominee River Parkway, Wauwatosa, WI
Warbler
Yellow
Rhinelander, WI
Warbler
Yellow-rumped
Menominee River Parkway, Wauwatosa, WI
Waterthrush
Louisiana
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Waterthrush
Northern
Underwood Creek, Wauwatosa, WI
Waxwing
Bohemian
Rhinelander, WI
Waxwing
Cedar
Rhinelander, WI
Whistling-Duck
Black-bellied
Orlando, FLA
Widgeon
American
Grant Park, Milwaukee, WI
Woodcock
American
Peninsula State Park, WI
Woodpecker
Acorn
Kit Carson Park, Escondido, CA
Woodpecker
Black-backed
Yellowstone National Park
Woodpecker
Downy
Rhinelander, WI
Woodpecker
Hairy
Rhinelander, WI
Woodpecker
Pileated
Rhinelander, WI
Woodpecker
Red-bellied
Rhinelander, WI
Woodpecker
Red-headed
Lake Park, Milwaukee, WI
Wood-Pewee
Eastern
Warren Dunes State park, MI
Wood-Pewee
Western
Lake Hodges, CA
Wren
Bewick's
Imperial Drive Escondido, CA
Wren
Carolina
Lake Guntersville State Park, AL
Wren
House
Dousman, WI
Wren
Marsh
Black River Flowage, Kohler-Andrae SP, WI
Wren
Sedge
Blue Mounds State Park, MN
Wren
Winter
Menominee River Parkway, Wauwatosa, WI
Yellowlegs
Greater
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Yellowlegs
Lesser
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Yellowthroat
Common
Peninsula State Park, WI
Anhinga
Orlando, FLA
Bobolink
Horicon Marsh
Bufflehead
Peninsula State Park, WI
Bushtit
Imperial Drive Escondido, CA
Dickcissel
Blue Mounds State Park, MN
Dunlin
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Killdeer
Rhinelander, WI
Limpkin
Orlando, FLA
Mallard
Rhinelander, WI
Osprey
Orlando, FLA
Ovenbird
Enderis Park (Home), WI
Redhead
Horicon Marsh
Sanderling
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA
Veery
Yellowstone National Park
Whip-poor-will
Tomahawk, WI
Willet
St. Andrew's Beach State Park, FLA