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Window to Wildlife features the photography of Jim Edlhuber. A lifelong native of Wisconsin, Jim has been photographing wildlife for 20 years. He considers himself an avid photographer and is always trying to capture nature and wildlife through his lens. He is in several photography clubs and has won numerous awards for his work. In recent years, Jim has focused mostly on birding photography and finds it to be the most challenging.

California Gull at Johnson Creek in Jefferson County Wisconsin on October 20, 2020

I saw the report of a California Gull, rare for this area at  Johnson Creek and decided to check it out this morning. Far from it’s normal range of the west coast but some do come inland a few states off breeding season. I arrived at the location reported, a new large concrete Kwik Trip parking lot still under construction north of the interstate.  When I arrived, present was Jim F in his car and had the gull already located. So that made it easy for me with the couple of hundred gulls present with some always coming and going. The gull did stand out though with the mantle being a little darker and the gull being a little larger than a Ring-billed Gull. It was resting when I arrived, eyes closed I would say. After about 25 minutes the gull coughed up a large pellet, I thought wow! A few minutes later it took flight and headed east towards the landfill. I noticed the gull only had one foot. A big thank you to Spence, Christin and Sandra for finding this awesome rare gull and getting the word out. Not a lifer as I saw one here back at this location in 2012. It was a cold cloudy morning, with some wind making it feel pretty cold! Images were taken on October 20, 2020.

The California Gull…with Ring-billed Gulls…

Resting when I arrived…

A wing stretch, leg stretch…1 foot…using its wing to balance…

Coughing up that LARGE pellet, which gulls do…

Maybe more to come but other gulls, Ring-billed Gulls looking on…

It was just time to take off I guess and head to the landfill…

The gulls were not flushed, it was just time to go…

Heading east…

The bill…

Preening…

Another one of when I arrived…

Horned Larks at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on October 11, 2020

While birding Lakeshore State Park I had brief views of Horned Larks. There were 5 present feeding along the east end of the park. I got a couple of shots off, but with all pedestrians, dog walkers, bikers, etc, these birds did not hang around and left the park. It was nice to see them even for a couple of minutes. A cloudy day but temps were pleasant. Images were taken on October 11, 2020.

Horned Lark, a little bit of a horn showing here…

5 of the feeding in a area just off the walk…

Looking for something to eat, that is all they did…

Maybe something here…

A look back…

Peregrine Falcon at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on October 11, 2020

As I was birding Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee a darker subject caught my eye out in the open field on the ground. I knew this was too dark for a gull, it was a Peregrine Falcon! Peregrine Falcons are reported by some to be the fastest bird in the world, what a beautiful bird. There actually was a gull there too, but it was just the remains of a Ring-billed Gull, as the Peregrine Falcon had just finished eating most of the gull that it eats. I hung around from a distance and took a few shots. It moved a few feet from the gull killing site at one point but then eventually took to the sky. The park was loaded with bikers, walkers, joggers, even had a Yoga class going nearby. I photographed the remains of the gull for documentation,  interesting how the bird sorted out the body parts of the gull. “Dana” is this name of this beauty. (See more information on Dana at the bottom of this page) A cloudy day but temps were pleasant. Images were taken on October 11, 2020.

***** Warning, some images are graphic *****

Where I observed the Peregrine Falcon just finishing up the eating of the Ring-billed Gull…

Looking at me…

Looking around at all the park visitors…

Flies a short distance…

Leg bands are seen…

Looking at me again, mouth some what open…

Mouth closed…

The killing site…

Feathers galore, you know there was some struggling and plucking going on here…

Parts sorted out…

Distant shot leaving the area…

This information was provided to me by Greg Septon of Falconwatch.
This is a female named “Dana” (b/blu) 79/W. She was produced in 2019 at the St. Mary’s Hospital nest site in Chicago, IL. She turned up at the Veolia Water site in Milwaukee on March 31 this year as a brown immature bird. She was courted by the resident male “Rounder” (b/g) B/38 who was produced in 2007 at Milwaukee’s Miller Brewery site.
Dana laid 2 eggs between April 30 – May 2. Both eggs hatched on June 6, I banded them on June 25, and, both successfully fledged.

 

Harris’s Sparrow at Lake Park in Milwaukee County on October 2, 2020

One of my birding stops this morning along the lake was Lake Park. There were a few birds there, but it was spotty. Looking at the feeder on the south end of the park my eye caught a sparrow near the feeder that just looked different. I only got a couple of photos and it headed into the Yews that it was feeding by. I hung around for about 10 minutes and it never came back out. I thought Harris’s Sparrow on the spot but with the glare on my camera, I really did not want to call it. I saw some white on the throat there was a chance it was a White-throated as there were very many in the area. A lady birder that was close by just said, that would be a surprise, she did not see the bird. With having a busy day I did not look at my images till evening. At that time I could really tell, a juvenile Harris’s Sparrow. A beautiful day out, but cold on the lake, sunny skies and a brisk wind. Image was taken on October 2, 2020.

The beautiful Harris’s Sparrow…

Sora’s at Veteran’s Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on September 24, 2020

This morning one of my birding stops was Veteran’s Park in Milwaukee. There were Sora’s present yesterday with the Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrows and today the Sora’s were still there, 4 of them. There was one that I took a few photos of that was getting things to eat, worms it appeared. Nice to see these birds out in the open for a change. Other places I stopped at birding along the lake were quiet. Beautiful morning out with mild temps, very little wind, some sunshine too. Images were taken on September 24, 2020.

Sora with a warm to eat…

Looking for something to eat…

Getting something to eat…

More looking around…

Maybe something to eat here…

Got it…

Looking pretty…

More food here…

In search of…

Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrows at Veteran’s Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on September 23, 2020

One of my birding stops this morning was Veteran’s Park in Milwaukee. The flooded area on the east end of the lagoon, provided excellent views of 3 Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrows. They fed in the flooded area of the grass coming in and out of the cattails. It was nice to see these migrants. Also present were 4 Sora’s, that gave nice looks some of the time I was there. Other birders also enjoyed the nice views of these stunning sparrows, the sparrows were present when I left the area at 9:00 am. Not a life bird as I had this species at the Magic Hedge and Lake Barney in the past. It was a beautiful morning out with pleasant temps, low winds and sunny skies. Images were taken on  September 23, 2020.

Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow, with food in the bill, 1 of 3 present…

Looking for something to eat…

2 of them…

With a worm to eat…

Back view…

In search of food…

With something to eat…

Sora, 1 of 4 seen at this location…

Great Egret at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on September 15, 2020

One of my birding stops today produced a surprise Great Egret. Greenfield Park was one stop on the way home, just in case. I guess today was that day. The bird was off an island feeding when I arrived. On a couple of occasions it fed along a shore until pedestrians came along on bike or foot not realizing the bird was there and the bird flushed. Still one Green Heron present, just saw it fly by when I was there. It was a beautiful day with some sun, a nice breeze, actually had a sweatshirt today. Images were taken on September 15, 2020.

Great Egret moving through the water very slow, hunting for something to eat…

A fish!

In flight after a biker came by…

Getting a fish!

Another fish…

New catch…

I think this is the kill….squish!

Almost down…

A little bite!

Fish in the throat going down…

Sanderlings and a Semipalmated Plover at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin on September 8, 2020

One of my birding stops early this morning was McKinley Beach. Present there were 7 Sanderlings and 1 Semipalmated Plover. They were feeding on some nice algae mats there. It was a gloomy morning out and just after seeing these birds it started raining. Nothing else special to note at the other couple of places I stopped before McKinley Beach. Images were taken on September 8, 2020.

Sanderling with something to eat…

Sanderling looking pretty…

Semipalmated Plover posing…

Sanderling with something to eat…

Sanderling in search of food…

Sanderling looking for things to eat…

Semipalmated Plover

Semipalmated Plover

Sanderling in the wave with food in the bill…

Sanderling in search of…

Green Herons at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on August 28, 2020

While birding Lakeshore State Park I came across 2 Green Herons hunting for food. They were not very productive while I watched, but it was still nice to see some of their actions. There was one fish taken, a Rock Bass. It was a warm morning, a nice breeze helped, sunny skies. Images were taken on August 28, 2020.

Green Heron, adult

With a nice Rock Bass…

Watching for something to come by…

In search of food at Veterans Park 9/1/2020

Going for a Damselfly and getting it at Veterans Park 9/1/2020

With the Damselfly…at Veterans Park 9/1/2020

Just looking pretty…

Just looking around…

American Golden-Plover at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on August 28, 2020

While walking Lakeshore State Park this morning checking out the beach area, it was empty. I started to walk east across the field and after a couple of 100 feet I turned around to look at the beach again and a shorebird had just dropped in. I’m like what?? I put my bins up and decided it was a plover by the size and body. As I got closer I assumed it was an American Golden-Plover. Someone told me once, a chunky bill is a Black-bellied Plover. This bill was not chunky. I immediately took some photos, and only getting a few, bikers, dog walkers being good, walkers in general, the area all of the sudden became very busy, I watched the bird fly off to the northeast across the grass field. Not really sure what spooked it as I was looking at images on my camera. It was a warm morning, a nice breeze helped, sunny skies. Images were taken on August 28, 2020.

The American Golden Plover

American Golden-Plover

American Golden-Plover, with a feather…

American Golden-Plover

Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on August 26, 2020

I had seen a couple reports of a Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Lakeshore State Park so this morning I thought I would try my luck. It was there along the end of a mowed field with a Lesser Yellowlegs. After watching this bird for awhile sitting up on a clump of grass, it decided to hunt a little in the grass for insects to eat. I saw on one image it had a moth in its bill. Later it flew to the beach area and hung out for a while. When I left the area other birders had arrived and were enjoying nice views. It was a warm morning with early temps at 84 degrees, full sun, a little breeze. Images were taken on August 26, 2020.

Buff-breasted standing on top of a clump of grass…

Off to do a little hunting for insects…

A moth in the bill…

Always changing directions as it walks, looking and listening for something to eat…

Getting something here…

Near the beach area on a rock…

Those beautiful feathers…

The closeup

Preening…

A resting Lesser Yellowlegs a couple of feet from the Buff-breasted, they are friends it appeared…

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at Whitnall Park in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on August 23, 2020

I made a stop at Whitnall Park this morning with hopes to photograph my 1st Ruby-throats of the year. Whitnall Park did not let me down. I photographed a few different hummers as they came and went from Red Sage plants. Another hot day once it got to be around 10 AM with plenty of sun, temps around 85 degrees. Images were taken on August 23, 2020.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, female

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, female

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, young male

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, female

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, young male

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, female

 

Mexican Violetear Hummingbird in Crawford County Wisconsin on August 2, 2020

After some late morning festivities, I got home and checked the computer. I was shocked to see a Mexican Violetear was just seen in Crawford County and just posted. This bird is far out it’s range being Central Mexico. This hummingbird is 1″ larger in size than our common Ruby-throated. The homeowner preferred you contact her for the address. I figured this was maybe going to be a once in a lifetime chance to see this bird in the state of Wisconsin. With an almost 3 hour ride heading to the Gay Mills area in Crawford County, I felt I would take the chance and hit the highway with out an address. It was my lucky day as 30 minutes on the road Rachel returned my email, I got her address. I continued on to the location. After arriving at the location, walking towards the crowd of birders, all with masks, a voice said, Jim, you missed the bird by 2 minutes! They also said it shows about every 20 minutes, I felt better.  After about 20 minutes the bird did show up and gave us some great action at the feeder. Wow, what a show! A beautiful bird, the colors and the size too! A big thank you to Rachel for allowing birders to come onto her property to view this bird. This was life bird #355 for me in the state of Wisconsin and an exciting one at that! Images were taken on August 2, 2020.

Blooming Summer Wisconsin Native Wildflowers in Waukesha County 2020

I have tried to capture some of the recent beauty of some late spring and summer blooming native wildflowers. Most wildflower images have been taken in the yard here in Waukesha County. Other locations and they noted, were taken at the Retzer Nature Center or in the South Kettle Moraine in Waukesha County. It has been an amazing year for wildflower blooms with the on going moisture and warm temperatures.

Yellow Coneflower, Ratibida pinnata

Smooth Phlox, Phlox glaberrima interior

Compass Plant, Silphium laciniatum at Retzer Nature Center

Wild Petunia, Ruellia humilis at Retzer Nature Center

Purple Prairie Clover, Petalostemum purpureum at Retzer Nature Center

Blue Vervain, Verbena hastata at Retzer Nature Center

Hoary Vervain, Verbena stricta

False Sunflower, Ox-eyed Sunflower, Heliopsis helianthoides

Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta

Wild Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa

Turk’s Cap Lily, Lilium michiganense in the South Kettle Moraine

Red Bee Balm, Monarda didyma

New Jersey Tea, Ceanothus americanus

Swamp Milkweed, asclepias incarnata in the South Kettle Moraine

Tennessee Coneflower, Echinacea tennesseensis

Royal Catchfly, Silene regia

Butterfly Milkweed, asclepias tuberosa

Nodding Pink Onion, Allium cernuum

Spiderwort, Tradescantia ohiensis

Rattlesnake Master, Eryngium yuccifolium

Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea

Tennessee Coneflower, Echinacea tennesseensis

Smooth Phlox, Phlox glaberrima interior

Great Egrets at Echo Park in Burlington Wisconsin on July 21, 2020

I stopped out at Echo Park in Burlington to see if any Great Egrets were present. Surprisingly there were 8 present, they were spread out, some perched in trees on the lake, a few at the dam, some in tree tops near the dam. At the dam a couple of the Great Egrets were fishing hard for fish to eat and they did well while I was there. It was a very pleasant morning with partly cloudy skies, low winds, and temps around 75 early. Images were taken on July 21, 2020.

Great Egret with a fish…

Stealth mode here waiting for a fish to come by…

Nice catch!

At the dam…

Typically head first!

Beautiful bird!

Shaken off…

Shaken off…

Just being a Great Egret here…

Northern Water Snakes in Waukesha County Wisconsin on July 10, 2020

On one of my birding stops today I was stunned when I looked down and saw a 4 foot plus long Northern Water Snake. I counted 5 different ones, they all were very big at 4 feet plus in length. It was actually pretty cool to see them. They sit very still and wait for a frog or fish to come by for something to eat, I think that is what was going on when I saw them. They eat other things too. Even though this species is not venomous, they are considered an aggressive species and will bite if handled. No major birds to report. The snakes were very exciting, it made my day. The morning started out very pleasant with a nice breeze from the northwest. It was sun and clouds mixed. Images were taken on July 10, 2020.

The Northern Water Snake laying there very still…

The Northern Water Snake just sitting motionless probably waiting for something to come by to eat…

Common Loons with Chicks in Sawyer County Wisconsin on July 4, 2020

On a trip to Sawyer County in Northern Wisconsin, I had the opportunity to watch and enjoy Common Loons with the chicks. These chicks were already very big. I saw them briefly coming in from fishing near a dock. Images were taken on July 4, 2020.

Common Loon, adult…

Common Loon chick, so big already!

Common Loon stretching after preening…

Common Loon, chick

Common Loon, adult…

Bobolinks at Retzer Nature Center in Waukesha County Wisconsin on June 16, 2020

Birding Retzer Nature Center in Waukesha County this morning I came across some Bobolinks, 5 of them, males and females. They are nesting at this location so I did not hang around for more than a minute or two as I did not want to disturb the feeding of the young. Amazing grassland birds they are. I noticed what appeared to be one of the males eating Yellow Coneflower seeds still on an old seed head from last year. They are seed eaters. A beautiful morning out, no other birds to note other than common species. Sunny skies with a light breeze blowing, keeping the Bobolinks working steady to stay on the old plant canes from last year as perches. Images were taken on June 16, 2020.

Bobolink, male

The Bobolink, male calling…

Bobolink, female with food in the bill, looks like a Daddy Long Legs…and something else…on it’s way to the nest…

Bobolink, female…with food for the young…

Flying about their habitat, the grassland..

Bobolink, female with the wind blowing, trying to hang on…

Bobolink, male, with the wind blowing trying to hang on, they must be very use to this…

Interesting how they grab a clump of old canes from last years Yellow Coneflower to make one stronger perch…

Eating seeds from last years Yellow Coneflower plant, a strong Wisconsin native.

Just looking at the seed head here…

Bobolink with food in the bill on its way to the nest…

Hanging on in the wind…

Just perched and calling like what a Bobolink does…

A balancing act, perched on the old cane with the wind blowing…

Just looking…