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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.

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…

Sandhill Crane on the Nest with Eggs in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on June 7, 2020

One of my birding stops today in Milwaukee County was checking out a reported Sandhill Crane on a nest. From a distance I watched a Sandhill Crane on the nest and on a few occasions the bird stood up and rolled the eggs over. I have never seen this before, it was very exciting to watch. Two birds have been rotating sitting on the eggs, I only saw one today. Rolling over the eggs was one thing but then the bird has to get comfortable in sitting back on the eggs after rolling. It took a couple of times to get comfy after the rolling over was done. Cranes roll the egg over as it serves to distribute the heat evenly and prevent the egg membrane from sticking to the shell. I heard this is the second try for this couple to try for young as the first attempt the eggs were washed away from flooding. It was a beautiful June day with cool temps to start the day, some sun came mid-morning. Images were taken on June 7, 2020.

The eggs…

Sitting back on the nest and eggs…

Sandhill Crane sitting on the nest…

Rolling over the eggs…

Standing tall, on the nest, like taking a break I would say…

A little preening…

More rolling of the eggs….

Sitting back on the nest and eggs…

The eggs…the second one is a little hard to see…

Just another shot, sitting on the nest with eggs…

Alder Flycatcher in the South Kettle Moraine in Waukesha County Wisconsin on June 3, 2020

After 10 years of birding, working on my state life list, I have never had a confirmed Alder Flycatcher. I assumed, like some birds, it would just appear in front me someday birding, that never happened. I chased a few ebird reports this spring locally with no luck. A hard bird for me to get as it is typically confirmed from it’s call, not by looks as other flycatchers look similar. My hearing is not the best for calls. I let Anne M. know of my needed bird as she has excellent hearing. She told me where I could find them, in the South Kettle Moraine near Eagle at the Low Prairie. I went out there and she just happened to be in the area of that location birding. We walked to the location and in a minute, 2 Alder Flycatchers were calling in front us at a distance. I could hear their calls on occasion today “free-beer, free-beer”. Other flycatchers have different calls. These birds can sit perched for 5 to 15 minutes at a time, guarding their territory. I hung around for awhile and took a few distant shots. A big thank you to Anne M. for helping me get this bird #354 on my Wisconsin state life list. It was a pleasant morning , with low winds, mild temps, with heat coming for the day, mostly cloudy to start. Images were taken on June 3, 2020.

Alder Flycatcher

Calling free-beer free-beer…

Yellow-billed Cuckoo at Lake Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on June 2, 2020

The highlight of the day while birding Lake Park in Milwaukee was this Yellow-billed Cuckoo. It gave nice views while moving about in some mid size trees. This photo was taken near the statue on the south end of the park. I had a Black-billed Cuckoo a couple days before this in a ravine near the statue too, but was too far away for a decent photo. A beautiful day, mostly sunny and mild temps. Images were taken on June 2, 2020.

The Yellow-billed Cuckoo

As it moved from one tree to another…

Barred Owl with Owlets in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on June 1, 2020

I came across a pair of Barred Owls along with two owlets this morning in Milwaukee County. The owlets are so cute! They were very high in the tree tops so photos are distant. First of the year for me on this species so it was a real treat to see them. A gloomy morning but temperatures were pleasant. Images were taken on June 1, 2020.

One of the adult Barred Owls…there were a pair…

Barred Owl owlet #1

Barred Owl owlet #2

Black-bellied Whistling Duck at Washington Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on May 27, 2020

Word was out that a Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, male was at Washington Park in Milwaukee. The normal range for this species is lower Texas and the coasts of Mexico. I had just got home from birding Lake Park in Milwaukee but not the first time I had to go back the same day for a bird. When I arrived at the park birders were gathered talking among themselves and the bird was located near them in the lagoon. The duck just sat there with a pair of Mallards. I asked no action? They said this is what this species does, just sits around for the most part. The duck moved to the other side of the lagoon following the Mallards. Thanks to all who found the duck and who got the word out for others to see. Not a life bird but I only saw a wing of this species at Horicon a few years ago as one was flying off. Nice to see this beauty close up. It was a beautiful day, just bordering hot, some sun, a little breeze. Images were taken on May 27, 2020.

The Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, male…

Hanging out with the Mallards…

Cerulean Warbler in Jefferson County Wisconsin on May 26, 2020

On one of my birding stops today I came across a male Cerulean Warbler high in a tree in Jefferson County. It was the highlight of the day for birds as things have really settled down after the big migration run. No other special birds to note for the birding run this morning. It was a warm morning with humidity too, sunny skies, actually hot! Images were taken on May 26, 2020.

Cerulean Warbler, male

Cerulean Warbler, male

Sandhill Cranes with Colts in Waukesha County Wisconsin on May 24, 2020

Driving through the South Kettle Moraine in Waukesha County I came across a pair of Sandhill Cranes with their colts. The adults probed for food while the young colts observed then giving the food to the colts. On some occasions the colts probed and got their own food. I was a pleasant day, hot in the sun with some humidity. Images were taken on May 24, 2020.

Adult Sandhill Crane just passed a grub worm to the colt…

Colt practicing the wing stretch…

The Sandhill Colt…

Adult probing for a grub with the colt watching and waiting for the adult to let it know when food is ready….

Colt closeup, mud on the bill from probing…

Adult bugling call…

Colt is typically always near an adult, here waiting for the next food, the adult will call it over…

Here the colt is probing on it’s own maybe getting food…

Close-up, mud on the bill from probing…

Colt getting something to eat from the adult…

Colt just being a colt…

Stretching that leg, it is growing so fast…

Another wing stretch…

Western Tanager in Waukesha County Wisconsin on May 21, 2020

I had the opportunity to try for the Western Tanager in Waukesha County and did not pass it up. This stunning male was coming to a feeder at a private residence and today it continued. The normal range for this species is basically the dakota’s and west, also north and south of the dakota’s. A couple distant photos as the home owners had a blind set up to keep a safe distance between viewers and an area the bird was coming to in their yard. Thank you to the homeowner and all that made this opportunity happen. It was a gorgeous day with plenty of sunshine, perfect temps and little wind. Images were taken on May 21, 2020.

The Western Tanager, male

Mountain Bluebird in Taylor County Wisconsin on May 18, 2020

I thought I would try for the recent female Mountain Bluebird that has been reported in Taylor County Wisconsin. Very rare bird to the state, their range being the dakota’s and south and west. I did not want to miss this opportunity. Being a 4 hour trip up, I hit the road at 2:15 AM. Arriving at 6:30 am, all I could come up with were Tree Swallows at the approximately a trail of 10 bird houses. After about 45 minutes I saw what I thought was my target bird sitting on a Bluebird house farthest away from me. I took a couple of photos at a very long distance but could not really confirm the ID on the bird, it was dark and gloomy, photo was useless. The bird disappeared out of sight, I did not know where it went. I knew it was not a  female Eastern Bluebird. I also knew it was not a male Eastern Bluebird. A male Eastern Bluebird was perching in the area, that was an easy ID. A Bluebird house that was seeing the Mountain Bluebird action the last couple of days by other birders was wide open this morning, a predator? I thought at this point, the Mountain Bluebird had maybe moved on. After 3 hours of hanging out at the bird house area from a distance, I spotted a light colored bird way off at the bird house I had photographed the bird earlier on and along with that I noticed was a male Eastern Bluebird. I was up beat and with my bins I could tell, the bird has shown up! The two birds Eastern and Mountain did some feeding catching a couple of probable insects. Moments later they went back to the bird house, the female stood on the roof, looked in the hole a couple of times and then went in. I feel now the Mountain Bluebird was in the house for the 3 hours I spent looking and waiting for it. It was very windy with high wind gusts, sure, the Mountain Bluebird was just hanging low out of the wind. I took a few shots for the few minutes the bird was out and headed home. A big thank you to the finder of this bird and getting the word out for others to try for it. Images were taken on May 18, 2020.

I see both birds at a distance. The Mountain Bluebird, female on the roof. The Eastern Bluebird, male at the nest hole….

The female Mountain Bluebird goes from the roof to the hole…

Turning for a landing…

Mountain Bluebird at the hole…are there eggs in there??

Out for a brief feeding then perched…

Perched giving nice looks at a distance…

Female Mountain Bluebird back on the roof…

Heads for the hole…

Almost there…

The bird then goes into the hole….are there eggs in there???

Warblers at Wehr Nature Center in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on May 16, 2020

As warbler action was great at Wehr Nature Center a few of days ago, I thought I would see what was going on there today. My thought was the best day ever for warblers as far as species seen and nice views. It was on going action for the morning hours I was there. Species seen, were Blackburnian, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Canada, Mourning, Prothonotary, Bay-breasted, Wilson’s, Magnolia, Black and white, Yellow, Palm, Northern Parula, Yellow, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-rumped, Blue-winged, Tennessee, Nashville and the American Redstart were species I saw. A beautiful day with temps around 60, mostly sunny skies, very little wind. Images were taken on May 16, 2020.

Bay-breasted Warbler, male

Blackburnian Warbler, male

Canada Warbler, male

Northern Parula, male

Black-throated Green Warbler, male

Black-throated Blue Warbler, male

Common Yellowthroat, male

Cape May Warbler, male

Black and white Warbler, female

Black-throated Blue Warbler, female

Chestnut-sided Warbler, female

Prothonotary Warbler, male with something to eat…

Canada Warbler, male

Blackburnian Warbler, male

Warblers at Wehr Nature Center in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on May 13, 2020

My first stop of the year for warblers in Milwaukee County did not let me down. It was at the Wehr Nature Center. I spent some of the morning there and it was a hot spot giving great views of very many warbler species. Blackburnian, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Canada, Mourning, Wilson’s, Magnolia, Black and white, Yellow, Palm, Northern Parula, Yellow, Common Yellowthroat, Blackpoll, Yellow-rumped, Nashville and the American Redstart were species I saw. It was a comfortable spring day with mild temps around 55 degrees, full sun, a little breeze out of the northeast, just gorgeous! Images were taken on May 13, 2020.

Blackburnian Warbler, male

Black-throated Blue, male

Black-throated Green, male

Magnolia Warbler, male

Mourning Warbler, male

American Redstart, male

Canada Warbler, male

Magnolia Warbler, going for a gnat…

Chestnut-sided Warbler, female…

Yellow-rumped Warbler, female

Yellow Warbler, male

Wilson’s Warbler, male

Canada Warbler, male

Blackburnian Warbler, male

Yellow Warbler, male

Black and white Warbler, female

Black-throated Blue Warbler, male

Magnolia Warbler, male

American Redstart, male

Common Yellowthroat, male

Magnolia Warbler, going for a gnat…

Black-throated Green Warbler…

Black and white Warbler, female

Canada Warbler, male

Mourning Warbler, male

Magnolia Warbler going for a gnat…

Canada Warbler, male