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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.

House Finches eating apples in the tree on the Milwaukee Lakefront on October 17, 2017

Birding along the lake this morning was quiet for the most part. McKinley Beach had 3 Sanderlings. These numbers seem to change daily there at that beach. Lakeshore State Park still had the Redhead Duck and 2 Pied-billed Grebes along with many American Coots and Double-crested Cormorants. A few American Shovelers still hanging out. The Black Scoters were still present off of North Point. I ran into Bruce along the Milwaukee Lakefront, he had found some House Finches eating apples in a tree and I took a few images to share of the event. I have never saw this feeding before but it is probably normal. A beautiful fall day with plenty of sunshine, nice temps but did have some wind gusts. Images were taken on October 17, 2017.

House Finch, male with an apple…

House Finch

Binomial name: Carpodacus mexicanus

Category: Fringilline and Cardueline Finches and Allies

Size: 6” long, 9.5” wing span

Weight:  .74 Oz.

Digging in…

House Finch, female with apple in the bill…

House Finch, male enjoying some apple…

House Finch, female enjoying some apple…

House Finch, female getting the good stuff!

House Finch, female with apple in the bill…

House Finch, male enjoying some apple…

House Finch, male, getting way in there!

House Finch, female getting that peeling!

Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on October 15, 2017

A stop at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee provided nice views of both the Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs. A total of 4 Greaters and 1 Lesser. When I arrive early about 7:15, just the 4 Greaters were present. After a few minutes the Lesser Yellowlegs showed up. They look tired as they probably just had put on some miles. They did next to no feeding while I was there and just rested. It was a cool morning, overcast with some strong west winds. Also present at Lakeshore State park provided brief view of a thinking now, a Common Snipe by the looks of the distant image, not a American Woodcock as first thought as it flushed while I walked the path and it just went way up and headed north, also an American Kestrel which I have not seen for awhile. Another lakefront beach, McKinley had 12 Sanderlings, and the Black Scoters were still present off North Point that Tom W reported yesterday. Images were taken on October 15, 2017.

Greater Yellowlegs

Greater Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs in front with Greater behind

Lesser Yellowlegs in front with Greater behind

Greater Yellowlegs riding the waves…

Lesser Yellowlegs on the right, I thought it was feeding but appeared to be playing with this item…

Greater Yellowlegs moving along the beach area…

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs, I thought it was feeding but appeared to be playing with this item…

Lesser Yellowlegs in front…

Lesser Yellowlegs

2 Greater Yellowlegs

Eyes closed, resting…

Greater Yellowlegs, the double…

Greater Yellowlegs…

Lapland Longspur at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin on October 10, 2017

A stop at McKinley Beach this morning in Milwaukee provided nice views of a Lapland Longspur. It seemed to be hanging with a couple of Killdeer. It continually feed in a short grass near the beach area eating seeds and then moved to a parking area. That is where the Killdeer went and so did it. The Killdeer just acted like it was a bitter cold day and did nothing, just stood there. The Lapland Longspur feed still eating seeds along cracks in the parking area and where weeds grown in cracks that held presumably a seed bank. A nice surprise to see this bird this morning but then we do see them this time of year along the lake, just once in awhile. No other unusual birds to note this morning along that part of the lakefront. A cold morning out with stiff winds from the northwest, very little sun with temps around 50. Interesting, first saw them last year at Lakeshore State Park on October 15. FOF winter hat, winter coat along with a scarf! Images were taken on October 10, 2017.

Finding seeds to eat along weed filled cracks in the parking area…

Lapland Longspur

Binomial name: Calcarius lapponicus

Category: Lapwings and Plovers

Size: 6.25” long, 11.5” wing span

Weight: 0.95 oz

Cool facts: This common bird breeds in the Arctic tundra, and winters in open fields across most of the United States and southern Canada.

Finding weed seeds…

Finding more weed seeds…

Finding seeds in the grass to eat…

Finding seeds…

To the ground for seeds…

In the short grass area…

Franklin’s Gull at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin on October 8, 2017

I made a stop at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee for a first stop checking the beach area this morning. The beach was quiet. I ran into Dave G there and I said I was heading to McKinley Beach, he said he was there earlier this morning and it was empty. Since I was at the lakefront I made the drive over and within a flock of about 25 Ring-billed Gulls I saw a gull with a light black head. I knew this was going to be something good and it was, a Franklin’s Gull, juvenile (1st cycle). Dave followed me over he also got few shots off before the gull took to the air and headed south for what appeared to be no apparent reason. The gull was just preening so it makes sense what the gull had in mind I think. It was a short lived burst of excitement in the birding world as we just don’t see Franklin’s along the lake very often. The highlight of the day with not much else to report along the north side of Milwaukee’s lakefront. It was a gorgeous day with full sun, mild temps and very little wind. Images were taken on October 8, 2017.

Franklin’s Gull

Binomial name: Larus pipixcan

Category: Gulls, Terns and Skimmers

Size: 14.5” long, 36” wing span

Weight: 10 oz

Stretching before the flight…

Some preening…

Franklin’s Gull, left – Ring-billed Gull, right

The back view..

Sanderlings at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin on October 6, 2017

A stop at McKinley Beach this morning in Milwaukee gave brief views of 8 Sanderlings feeding pretty much non-stop. Also present were the commonly seen Ring-billed Gulls at this location. After only a couple minutes a dog approached the area and all the birds flushed with the Sanderlings heading south. Other birds to note along the local lakefront were many Double-crested Cormorants everywhere, and ~ a dozen Northern Shovelers, and a Ruddy Duck being at Lakeshore State Park. It was a overcast morning with mild temps around 58 degrees with some steady winds and waves off the lake. Images were taken on October 6, 2017.

Sanderling with a bite to eat…

Sanderlings feeding along the beach bank…

Sanderlings feeding along the beach with Ring-billed Gulls

Moving along the beach with waves rolling in…

Along the beach they go…

Trying to avoid the waves…

Shaking it off!

Size comparison image with a Ring-billed Gull and a Sanderling…

Some preening

More preening

Scratching…

Coming towards me…

In the wave…

Out of the wave action…

Just waiting for the sight of something to eat…

Great Blue Heron feeding moments at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on September 22, 2017

A Great Blue Heron was seriously fishing this morning at Greenfield Park putting on a great show while I watched from a distance. This young bird ate and ate with very few misses and twice captured 2 Flathead minnows at once while I was there. It eyed some of its food from a short distance and gave striking moves to capture its morning food, but sometimes just waited for the next small fish to swim by, then the capture. Other birds present at the park were just the typical birds that have been hanging around recent weeks. It was a nice morning to be out, with low winds, full sun and warm temps. Images were taken on September 22, 2017.

Catching a pair!

Stealth mode, looking for the next catch with a drip!

The catch!

The drop…..

Stealth mode times 2…

Another catch!

Great Blue Heron with a Flathead Minnow

The heron sees something a short distance away…

Gulp!

Got it!

Another pair of Flathead Minnows!

Shaking the head with the tongue out, I have seen this before…

Another small catch…

Black-bellied Plover at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on September 15, 2017

Heading down to the lakefront in Milwaukee this morning my first stop was Lakeshore State Park. A Black-bellied Plover, juvenile was present at the beach area. The Black-bellied Plover feed back and forth on the beach. Also present was the first Northern Shoveler for the fall at the park. It was a female generally hanging out with some Mallards. McKinley Beach had one lone Killdeer. I decided it was time to make a check at the “Magic Hedge”, about 15 Palm Warblers were present feeding along the fence to the north. A nice morning to be out with light overcast skies, light breeze and warm temps doing a little birding. Images were taken on Septemeber 15, 2017.

Coming in for a landing at the beach area

Black-bellied Plover

Binomial name: Pluvialis squatarola

Category: Lapwings and Plovers

Size: 11.5” long, 29” wing span

Weight: 8 Oz.

Habitat: Breeding habitat is lowlands on dry Arctic tundra. They spend their winters on beaches and estuarine mudflats. They sometimes are found in flooded fields, agricultural lands, meadows near coasts or inland waters.

Diet: On their breeding grounds, main food source is insects. Their wintering habitat provides worms, bivalves and crustaceans.

Nesting: They prefer a raised area for nesting for good visibility. Nest is a shallow depression made by the male and finished by the female as her job is lining it with pebbles, grass, twigs, lichens and moss. 3-4 eggs are usually laid, one brood per season, both parents incubate them. Within 12 hours, the chicks are usually able to forage and both parents care for them.

Walking the beach and feeding along the way…

Getting a drink…

Feeding…

With all the gnats…and a feather along side…

Something to eat in the bill

Something to eat…

Something to eat…

A little stretch here…

With something to eat here…

Coming at me…

The profile

The catch…

The looking back shot…

Constantly moving and feeding along the beach…

Incoming..

 

Sanderlings and Semipalmated Sandpipers at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin on September 10, 2017

A brief stop at the McKinley Beach this morning provided nice views of 2 Sanderlings and 2 Semipalmated Sandpipers. One of the Sanderlings was transitioning into nonbreeding plumage and still had some of its breeding plumage, an interesting look. The birds fed on the algae mat at the beach. Other than that the lakefront was pretty slow at Bradford Beach, Lakeshore State Park and the harbor. Images were taken on September 10, 2017.

Sanderling going into nonbreeding plumage from breeding plumage with a worm…

Sanderling in nonbreeding plumage

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Sanderling going into nonbreeding plumage

Sanderling going into nonbreeding plumage

Sanderling in nonbreeding plumage

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Sanderling nonbreeding plumage

Semipalmated Sandpiper

 

Sanderlings at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on September 3, 2017

A stop at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin provided some nice views of Sanderlings. They feed along the algae mat in the beach area. A stunning shorebird species close up that moved quickly along the beach area. Images were taken on September 3, 2017.

Sanderling chasing off another Sanderling in the area

What’s up…

Looking for something to eat…

On the move along the mat

Got something…

On the move with a little wind blowing

A little wave action here…

In search of something to eat…

Here is a bite…

Posing…

Herons at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on September 4, 2017

I stopped at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee this morning to see what was going on. A Black-crowned Night Heron, Green Herons and Great Blue Herons were present. They gave nice views, being the Black-crowned Night Heron and Great Blue Heron were immature, there was not much action. They just were perched looking and waiting near water something to come by to feed on. The Green Heron, the bluest Green Heron I have ever seen spent most of it’s time just hunting for food. The Great Blue Heron walked across the channel which was interesting. A cloudy morning, with mild temps made for a nice day out. Images were taken on September 4, 2017.

Black-crowned Night Heron, immature…

Black-crowned Night Heron looking

Black-crowned Night Heron finding something

Shaking off!

Getting a drink

Playing with a snail…

Green Heron, 1st summer and the bluest Green Heron I have ever seen. It has been around the park for most of the summer…

Green Heron on the look out…

Green Heron, enjoying the view…

Preening

Preening

Just perched

Stretching…

Great Blue Heron, crossing the channel, going down…

and down…

down…

The middle of the channel…

Going up…

Up…

 

Ruddy Turnstones at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin on September 3, 2017

My first stop this morning on Milwaukee’s lakefront was McKinley Beach. Guess there were at least 25 shorebirds. Mostly Sanderlings, a Least Sandpiper, and  few Semipalmated Plovers. Also present were 2 Ruddy Turnstones which are always exciting birds. They feed in the more stony areas of the beach turning over items on the beach such as mussels getting food. They were flushed often by walkers with and without dogs but held still a few times for photos. It  was a beautiful morning to be out with sunny skies and pleasant temps. Images were taken on September 3, 2017.

Ruddy Turnstone, juvenile on the move

Ruddy Turnstone

Binomial name: Arenaria interpres

Category: Sandpipers, Phalaropes, and Allies

Size: 9.5” long, 21” wing span

Weight: 3.9 oz

Ruddy Turnstone feeding on a mussel…

Ruddy Turnstone in a mussel and always turning things over…

Ruddy Turnstone with something to eat

Feeding in the water too….

Ruddy Turnstone feeding on mussels

Feeding

Ruddy Turnstone, juvenile

In search of food…

Northern Shoveler, maybe adult female

Ruddy Turnstone, Breeding adult plumage for comparison to fall plumage, taken in spring 2017. Image for reference only

Whooping Crane juveniles in training at Operation Migration at the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Wisconsin on August 31, 2017

The Whooping Crane juveniles, 7 of them, have been in training at the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area for the last couple of months. Viewing is now open to public. A birding friend of mine, Karen Schoenike reserved the blind and I was able join her for the big event today watching some of the training. We arrived very early in the morning meeting Doug Pellerin who took us out the blind after meeting Brooke Pennypacker and Colleen Chase at the gate. Colleen who has worked with these birds since hatching joined us in the blind after she released the birds from the pen.  The event started with the release of the birds, mingling by the pen, then they took to flight and landed numerous times. This was an amazing and fun event to witness in person, to watch these birds in action feeding, flying and hanging as a group like family. Doug and Colleen were great hosts. The eggs of these birds came from Necedah in April 2017, were flown out to Maryland, incubated, hatched ~June 24th, 2017 and flown back here for Operation Migration. Correct me if I am incorrect on any of this information. The morning started out with low cloud cover with temps at 50 degrees, breezes picked up after awhile, sun peek out once or twice. Photographing these birds are difficult from the blind as prairie grasses are reaching at least 6 feet tall now plus the birds are pretty distant. No adults were seen today. With that said, it was still a great experience today at Operation Migration! I hope the Whoopers have a successful flight to the south when it is their turn to migrate. Contact Doug Pellerin if you want any information on the blind use. Images were taken on August 31, 2017.

Opening of the pen for the young Whooping Cranes begin…

Puppet in hand with the Whooping Crane hood on…

The excitement builds and the birds come running out after the gate is opened…

They are anxious to be out for feeding and it is time to fly!

They start feeding in the field at first not to far from the pen…

They are moving out…

They take to the sky!

Up, up, and away, Colleen leaves the area, they will be on their own for hours now…

They are flying off in a distant but remain in the area…

They are up and away…

Circling around in a very big area…

More of the same…

They are heading towards us…

Not time to land yet, they are just passing by for another circle…

Coming in for a landing at the pen landing strip…

Doing some feeding after the first flight and hanging out…

They are headed to behind the pen to a pond and were out of view for awhile…

Time to takeoff again…

Up, up, and away…

View looking at the pen from standing in the blind…

Shorebirds at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on August 23, 2017

Stopping at a few locations this morning along the lake, Lakeshore State Park was the highlight with some beautiful shorebirds. The beach there gave nice views of the birds as they feed. Birds included a Least Sandpiper, mostly Semipalmated Sandpipers, a couple Semipalmated Plovers and a Sanderling. Images were taken on August 23, 2017.

Semipalmated Plover

Semipalmated Plover

Semipalmated Plover feeding

Least Sandpiper on the move…

Semipalmated Sandpiper, walk don’t run…

Semipalmated Sandpiper in search of food…

Semipalmated Sandpiper feeding

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper with the feathers blowing in the wind…

Semipalmated Sandpiper on the move…

Semipalmated Sandpiper feeding

Semipalmated Sandpiper feeding…

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper feeding with a Semipalmated Plover behind…

Semipalmated Sandpiper feeding with a Semipalmated Plover behind…

Semipalmated Plover

Semipalmated Sandpiper looking for food…

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper looking for food…

Semipalmated Sandpiper with the feathers blowing in the wind…

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Sanderling on the move

Sanderling with a gnat in the bill

Sanderling taking to the air…

Semipalmated Plover with the itch!

 

Green Heron perched in the hedge at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on August 20, 2017

One of the highlights today at Greenfield Park was a juvenile Green Heron perched in a hedge north of the large pond. It was a highlight because it was a slower day than the usual there plus you typically see these birds on the pond perched on a stick. 4 Green Herons were present today along with a Great Blue Heron and Belted Kingfishers to name a few. Thanks to Dave F for finding this bird perched in the hedge and getting the word out to others at the park as this bird gave nice views. A warm day at the park, low winds, mostly cloudy skies and of photographers visiting from different parts of the state. Images were taken on August 20, 2017.

Some preening here…

When I left the heron was just resting up there enjoying the nice day…

Showy Sunflower, wildflowers on wildflowers on August 15, 2017

With the Showy Sunflower blooming away these days I took advantage of the opportunity and tried to make something with them. This sunflower, a stunning native to Wisconsin is Helianthus laetiflorus. Images were taken in Waukesha County on August 15, 2017.

Showy Sunflower, Helianthus laetiflorus with the native Meadow Phlox still blooming

Showy Sunflower

Binomial name: Helianthus laetiflorus

Habitat: Prairie, grows to a height of 36″-60″

Note: The majority of this plants native range is generally MN, NE, OK, KS and TX north into Canada then east to the Atlantic Ocean. It’s range also includes states OR and MT out west.

Showy Sunflower, Helianthus laetiflorus with the Royal Catchfly

Giant Swallowtail Butterfly gathering nectar from the Smooth Phlox in Waukesha County Wisconsin on August 8, 2017

I saw a Giant Swallowtail in the yard hovering around the native Smooth Phlox this afternoon. I went out and took a few images of this stunning butterfly in action going from plant to plant gathering nectar. One thing to note is that the wings on this species never stop fluttering when they are gathering nectar from plant blooms. This is Wisconsin’s largest butterfly. Images were taken on August 8, 2017.

Giant Swallowtail Butterfly

Binomial name: Papilio cresphontes

Wingspan: Can sometimes exceed 5″

Note: Wisconsin’s largest butterfly

The legs of the butterfly hold the butterfly in place and help balance it while the nectar gathering takes place…

The Cup Plant, wildflowers on wildflowers on August 6, 2017

With cloudy weather today and a good chance of rain I decided to try my luck at some Cup Plant in the yard. These plants are currently about 5-8 feet tall. Images were taken on August 6, 2017.

Cup Plant, Silphium perfoliatum

Most occasions the leaf cup holds water at the start of the day, birds frequent this plant for a drink…

The Cup Plant with Meadow Phlox in the background…

The Cup Plant with Royal Catchfly in the back ground

 

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron and Juvenile Green Herons at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on August 5, 2017

A stop this morning at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County proved worth while. Juvenile Green Herons and a Black-crowned Night Heron gave nice views and put on some shows. The Green Herons fished for food, but came up with very little size wise if anything as they are still learning the ropes. The juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron just hung out at a few locations there, preening was the highlight. Also present, the pair of Belted Kingfishers which are seen often flying back and forth around the pond. Plenty of juvenile Wood Ducks are at most ponds. A beautiful morning out with low 70’s, sun and a nice breeze from the northwest. Images were taken on August 5, 2017.

Black-crowned Night Heron, juvenile

Black-crowned Night Heron, juvenile preening

Black-crowned Night Heron, juvenile

Green Heron, juvenile

Green Heron, juvenile eyeing up it’s next meal

Green Heron, juvenile

Green Heron, juvenile

Green Heron, juvenile, in for the catch!

Green Heron, juvenile

Green Heron, juvenile

Green Heron, juvenile, it may have something here!

Green Heron, juvenile, heads out of the water…

Green Heron, juvenile, on to the log…

Green Heron, juvenile, a look around…

Green Heron, juvenile

Green Heron, juvenile, back to fishing…

Green Heron, juvenile on alert!

Green Heron, juvenile, the closeup…

Green Heron, juvenile, more fishing…

Green Heron, juvenile, waiting for the next catch!

Ruby-throated Hummingbird on the Royal Catchfly in Waukesha County on August 2, 2017

The wildflowers are blooming away these days in the yard and every once in awhile a Ruby-throated Hummingbird puts on a show. They have not been seen often, but I did get a couple of shots yesterday of what I think is a juvenile on the Royal Catchfly. Images were taken on August 2, 2017.

Getting that nectar in the Royal Catchfly

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Binomial name: Archilochus colubris

Category: Hummingbirds

Size: 2.8″-3.5″ long, 3” – 4” wingspan

Weight: 0.071 oz. – 0.21 oz.

Wildflower Walk and Photo Shoot at the Retzer Nature Center in Waukesha Wisconsin on July 13, 2017

We had a very nice turnout of members show up this morning for the annual wildflower walk and photo shoot at the Retzer Nature Center in Waukesha. This annual event is a field trip for the Retzer Nature Center Camera Club. Lighting was nice early this morning but had some wind for the 2.5 hour event. I think the group walked away with some great shots as it is getting near peak blooming time for many native species at the nature center. It was a fun event for everyone in sharing some of each others photography tips and ideas. Some images to share from the event today on July 13, 2017.

Rattlesnake Master, Eryngium yuccifolium

Yellow Coneflower, Ratibida pinnata

Cardinal Flower, Lobelia cardinalis

Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta

Swamp Milkweed, Asclepias incarnata

Leadplant, Amorpha canescens

Wild Petunia, Ruellia humilis

Solomon’s Seal, Polygonatum biflorum

Early Goldenrod, Solidago juncea

Purple Prairie Clover, Petalostemum purpureum

False, Oxeye or Early Sunflower, Heliopsis helianthoides

Yellow Coneflower, Ratibida pinnata

Wild Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa

Canada Milk Vetch, Astragalus canadensis

Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea – not a true native to Wisconsin

Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta

Common Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca

Wild Rose with a bee…

Prairie Coreopsis, Coreopsis palmata

Spiderwort, Tradescantia ohiensis

Rattlesnake Master, Eryngium yuccifolium

Yellow Coneflower, Ratibida pinnata