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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.

Eastern Towhee at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on April 12, 2019

One of my birding stops today was the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center. The highlight was a FOY Eastern  Towhee. Update: The female Eastern Towhee was photographed at the same location on April 15, 2109. This male put on a nice show eating seeds as I watched from a distance. Another highlight was at least 25 Northern Flickers that were feeding in a field. As I walked a path on the property they flushed from distance in a field. They flushed twice as I did not know they were there till they started taking off. They appeared to just fly to another area there. A Great Horned Owl made an appearance along with a Belted Kingfisher, Song Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, a flock of 12 Wild Turkeys, with males displaying and Yellow-rumped Warblers to name a few. Stops along the lakefront earlier were very quiet bird-wise with nothing special to report other than a couple of Horned Grebes. I made my first stop of the spring at the Magic Hedge, it was bird-less. Weather was nice early in the morning but then before noon, it got overcast, windy and a north wind made it chilly. Still a nice day to be out birding. Images were taken on April 12, 2019.

Eastern Towhee, female

Eastern Towhee, female

Eastern Towhee, female

The Eastern Towhee near a feeder looking for seeds…

Getting a seed probably…

Looking for seeds…

Near a puddle the Eastern Towhee looks for seeds…

Tail up…

Pretty bird!

Getting a seed in the water maybe…

Winter Wren at Wehr Nature Center in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on April 9, 2019

While birding Wehr Nature Center in Milwaukee County, Golden-crowned Kinglets were plentiful along with a few Yellow-rumped Warblers, a bird that hides and feeds along the banks of creeks the Winter Wren was also present. These birds are very shy to say the least. While warblers and kinglets don’t even seem to acknowledge your presence, this bird sees you, and it is out of sight. It could be to that their food, gnats and bugs are in in vegetation, logs, around them, under them and along shore banks of creeks where we don’t hang out much to see them. These birds move fast and don’t typically sit still. This bird gave nice views from across the creek for a few moments and I tried to capture some of the action I saw. Clouds rolled in some during the day and temps were mild. Images were taken on April 9, 2019.

The Winter Wren, just how they stand…

Some of the habitat they hang out in and feed…

Moving along getting things to eat…

Moving along looking up, getting things to eat, sometimes they jump up for their food in the air, short flights…

Just looking around for something to eat…

Where you may see them..

 

 

Yellow-rumped Warblers at Wehr Nature Center in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on April 9, 2019

One of my birding stops today was Wehr Nature Center. I was hoping to see the start of the Yellow-rumped Warbers migrating through the area, also known as “Butter butts”. My timing was right, it was the start, only a couple of birds of that species were present, but it was very exciting! It was nice to see them as bigger things to come was on the horizon with warbler species. There were the most ever seen by me at one location, Golden-crowned Kinglets. The trees were loaded with them feeding heavily, they never stop! The Yellow-rumped warblers, only a couple present, were also busy eating gnats non-stop. My other stops along the lakefront in Milwaukee were very quiet for birds. It was a beautiful morning out with temps around 60, a little wind, but mostly sunny skies. Images were taken on April 9, 2019.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

A short flight to a gnat…

Around the tree looks a Yellow-rumped Warbler…

Looking for a gnat…

Another short flight to a gnat…

Looking …

Looking for the next gnat…and giving nice looks…

Going for a gnat…

Looking at me…

Golden-crowned Kinglet…

Sparrow ID Quiz ~ test your yourself on these beautiful birds here in Wisconsin!

Sparrow ID Quiz ~ test your yourself on these beautiful birds that can be found sometime during the year here in Wisconsin! With the other bird ID Quizzes going over well, and many requests for a Sparrow ID quiz, I have put one together. All images were taken by me and photographed here in Wisconsin. Answers are below last photo at the bottom of the page. There is a chance you may see some color variation in sparrows considering sex, age or time of year. There are books, FB groups, phone apps, classes to lean more. There are also presentations to help in learning bird ID, look for details at your local nature center. Special Note: I have complied a list of 18 species, there are 20 images, as I have an image of both the male and female House Sparrow. This quiz may not be as easy as the other quizzes! See how well you do, have fun too!

#1

#2

#3

#4

#5

#6

#7

#8

#9

#10

#11

#12

#13

#14

#15

#16

#17

#18

#19

#20

 

ANSWERS BELOW

#1 – White-crowned Sparrow

#2 – Fox Sparrow

#3 – Savannah Sparrow

#4 – Field Sparrow

#5 – American Tree Sparrow

#6 – House Sparrow – Male

#7 – Song Sparrow

#8 – Henslow’s Sparrow      – Retzer Nature Center

#9 – Lincoln’s Sparrow

#10 – Chipping Sparrow

#11 – Le Conte’s Sparrow     – Magic Hedge

#12 – Lark Sparrow     – Lake Park

#13 – Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow     – Magic Hedge

#14 – White-throated Sparrow

#15 – Harris’s Sparrow     – Retzer Nature Center

#16 – Vesper Sparrow     – Marquette County

#17 – Clay-colored Sparrow

#18 – House Sparrow – Female

#19 – Grasshopper Sparrow     – Magic Hedge

#20 – Swamp Sparrow

Golden-crowned Kinglets along the lakefront in Milwaukee Wisconsin on April 5, 2019

I found Golden-crowned Kinglets at two locations along the lakefront in Milwaukee. Those locations were Veterans Park and Lake Park. Flocks of about a dozen at each spot. They focused on feeding in the lawn areas and where water was. I assume they were eating gnats or whatever they could find, it was nonstop action with this species like usual. That was the highlight of the day. Other species seen to note, Field Sparrows, Song Sparrows and Common Grackles. I heard my 1st Gray Catbird of the year but did not see it. It was a very pleasant morning to be out birding with highs in the 50’s, some sun, no wind. Images were taken on April 5, 2019.

Looking for the next insect to eat…

Looking…

All they do it seems is go from one insect to another…they will fly 15 or 20 feet for an insect, their vision or hearing must be that good…

Beautiful!

Flying to the next insect…

Looking…

Getting something here…

A quick turn looking for the next bite…

Driving by, a birder can’t miss a dozen of these bird fluttering on the ground eating insects in a small area on the lawn…

Getting something here…

Ducks, Grebes, and Geese ID Quiz ~ test your yourself on these beautiful birds here in Wisconsin!

Ducks, Grebes, and Geese ID Quiz ~ test your yourself on these beautiful birds that can be found sometime during the year here in Wisconsin! There are 50 images, see how well you do. Answers are below last photo at the bottom of the page. There is a chance you may see some color variation in ducks, grebes, or geese considering sex, age or time of year. There are books, FB groups, phone apps, classes to lean more. There are also presentations to help in learning bird ID, look for details at your local nature center. All photos were taken in Wisconsin except the Wood Ducks and the female Green-winged Teal images. Please let me know if you see an error, thank you. Special Note: I have complied a list of 50 images of ducks, grebes, and geese. I am missing a few of the images for various reasons, sorry. This quiz may not be as easy as the warbler or shorebird quiz! So don’t look for these in the quiz as they are missing: American Black Duck fm, Northern Pintail fm, Barrow’s Goldeneye fm, Common Mergansers.

Ducks

# 1

# 2

# 3   Narrow black nail, and not the wide black on the tip of the bill tells you it is a?

# 4

# 5

# 6  Narrow black nail, and not the wide black on the tip of the bill tells you it is a?

# 7

# 8

# 9

# 10

# 11

# 12

# 13

# 14

# 15

# 16 left —— # 17 right

# 18

# 19 female —– # 20 male

# 21

# 22

# 23

# 24

# 25

# 26 – assuming this is a female, what species?

# 27

# 28

# 29

# 30

# 31   A rare vistor

# 32

# 33

# 34

# 35

# 36

# 37

# 38

#39

#40

 Grebes

# 41

# 42

# 43

# 44    White tip on the bill means it is a…

# 45

Geese

# 46

# 47

# 48

# 49

# 50

ANSWERS BELOW

Ducks

#1 – Mallard – male

#2 – Northern Shoveler – male

#3 –Lesser Scaup – male

#4 – Canvasback – female

#5 – Redhead – male

#6 – Lesser Scaup – female

# 7 – Bufflehead – male

#8 – Wood Duck – female

#9 – Long-tailed Duck – male

#10 – Canvasback – male

#11 – Redhead – female

#12 – Northern Shoveler – female

#13 – Ring-necked Duck – female

#14 – Bufflehead – female

#15 – Ring-necked Duck – male

#16 – Eurasian Wigeon – male

#17 – American Wigeon – male

#18 – Harlequin Duck – male

#19 – Gadwall – female

#20 – Gadwall – male

#21 – Blue-winged Teal – female

#22 – Blue-winged Teal – male

#23 – Greater Scaup – male

#24 – Red-breasted Merganser – female

#25 – Common Goldeneye – female

#26 – Hooded Merganser – female

#27 –Ruddy Duck – female

#28 – Red-breasted Merganser – male

#29 – Greater Scaup – female

#30 – Wood Duck – male

#31 – Cinnamon Teal – male

#32 – Green-winged Teal – female

#33 – Hooded Merganser – male

#34 – Green-winged Teal – male

#35 – Common Goldeneye – male

#36 – Barrow’s Goldeneye – male

#37 – Ruddy Duck – male

#38 – Long-tailed Duck – female

#39 – Mallard – female

#40 – American Black Duck, male

Grebes

#41 – Pied-billed Grebe

#42 – Western Grebe

#43 – Eared Grebe

#44 – Horned Grebe

#45 – Red-necked Grebe

Geese

#46 – Snow Goose

#47 – Canada Goose

#48 – Greater White-fronted Goose

#49 – Ross’s Goose

#50 – Cackling Goose

Leucistic American Robin at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on April 1, 2019

One of my birding stops today was the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee County. The bird of the day was a leucistic American Robin. The typical view of this bird was in the bush. It perched a few times but another common American Robin did not seem to care for its presence and kept it on the move. It was said it has been seen on and off recently there. Another nice bird there was a Oregon Dark-eyed Junco. That gave nice views at the feeder, but a little Pine Squirrel did not want to share the bird seed and flushed it out a few times while I was there. Nice to come across a couple of surprises today while I was out birding. Other birding stops I made this morning had nothing special to report. It was a cloudy overcast morning, chilly with the winds. Images were taken on April 1, 2019

Leucistic American Robin perched on a log…

Perched in the tree…

Going to drop down..

Back view…

Oregon, Dark-eyed Junco

What is Leucism?  Leucism is an uncommon condition in birds.  This condition is caused by a genetic mutation which prevents pigments, particularly melanin, from being deposited evenly in the bird’s feathers.  Leucistic birds have melanin elsewhere in their bodies which is why they may have dark eyes, legs, and bills.  However, their true color will be missing or greatly reduced due to the lack of proper pigmentation.

What is Albinism? Leucism is similar to albinism as in both cases the birds may be completely white.  However, albinism is defined as a complete absence of melanin in an animal.  Truly albino species will have pink eyes as the only color seen will be caused by blood vessels behind their eyes.  They will also have pink bills, legs, and feet.  Albinism is extremely rare in birds.

Notes: Leucistic birds are extremely uncommon for a number of reasons.  They are not thought to live very long because their white feathers make it difficult for them to hide from predators.  If they do stay alive, it is difficult for them to find a mate and successfully pass on their genetic mutation.  Additionally, the melanin found in regular birds adds strength to the feathers.  Leucistic birds lacking melanin have weaker feathers and thus have a more difficult time flying in severe weather.  Last, the reflective properties of white feathers may be problematic for birds who rely on solar energy for heat.

Shorebird ID Quiz ~ test your yourself before these beautiful birds arrive here in Wisconsin this spring!

Shorebird ID Quiz ~ test your yourself before these beautiful birds arrive here in Wisconsin this spring! 32 species, see how well you do. All shorebirds below were photographed in Wisconsin. Answers are below last photo at the bottom of the page. There is a chance you may see some color variation in shorebirds considering sex, age or time of year. There are books, FB groups, phone apps, classes to lean more. There are also presentations to help in learning bird ID, look for details at your local nature center. Special Note: I have complied a list of 35 shorebirds you might see in Wisconsin. I am missing 3 of those images for various reasons, sorry. This quiz may not be as easy as the warbler quiz! So don’t look for these in the quiz as they are missing: Solitary Sandpiper, Hudsonian Godwit, and Long-billed Dowitcher.

# 1

#2

#3

#4

#5

#6

#7

#8

#9

#10

#11

#12

#13

#14

#15

#16

#17

#18

#19

#20

#21

#22

#23

#24

#25

#26

#27

#28

#29

#30

#31

#32

ANSWERS BELOW

 

#1 – Buff-breasted Sandpiper

#2 – American Woodcock

#3 – American Avocet

#4 – Black-belled Plover

#5 – Short-billed Dowitcher

#6 – Purple Sandpiper

# 7 – Marbled Godwit

#8 – Whimbrel

#9 – Killdeer

#10 – Semipalmated Plover

#11 – Dunlin

#12 – Sanderling

#13 – Upland Sandpiper

#14 – Ruddy Turnstone

#15 – Western Sandpiper

#16 – Red Phalarope

#17 – Lesser Yellowlegs

#18 – Greater Yellowlegs

#19 – Black-necked Stilts

#20 – Willets

#21 – Red Knot

#22 – Wilson’s Phalarope

#23 – Pectoral Sandpiper

#24 – Semipalmated Sandpiper

#25 – Baird’s Sandpiper

#26 – Wilson’s Snipe

#27 – Spotted Sandpiper

#28 – Stilt Sandpiper

#29 – Least Sandpiper

#30 – Piping Plove

#31 – American Golden-Plover

#32 – White-rumped Sandpiper

Wood Ducks and Green-winged Teal in Cook County Illinois March 26, 2019

Wood Ducks and Green-winged Teal were the highlights on a trip down to Cook County Illinois. I was invited to go with Caron G and Sylvia P and with a great subject as the Wood Duck, I did not turn it down. It turned out it was a nice opportunity for photos of these beautiful ducks. The ducks were calm at this location for the most part, swimming around, hanging out and just being ducks. It was a gorgeous spring day, still winter coat weather, but the full sun eventuality warmed things up. Winds were calm with temps around 40 degrees. Images were taken on March 26, 2019

Wood Duck, male

Wood Duck, male coming in…

Wood Duck, female

Wood Duck, male on the log looking proud…

Green-winged Teal, male

Wood Duck, male, head up…

Green-winged Teal, male

Wood Ducks, the couple…

Wood Duck, female

Wood Duck, male

Wood Duck, female coming in…

Green-winged Teal, male

Wood Duck, male

Wood Duck, female

Wood Duck, male, just hanging out…

Beautiful!

Wood Duck, female

Wood Duck, male

Mourning Dove Gathering, Carrying Nest Material and Building the Nest in Waukesha County Wisconsin on March 25, 2019

While out birding this afternoon I walked upon a Mourning Dove coming out of a tree. I stepped back and watched. The dove gathered nesting material off the ground and flew into a pine tree. It would drop into a nest under construction. Sometimes the dove would stay in the nest for a short time after bringing something in and do a little construction work, and moving around to round the nest out. It was only one bird doing all the work. After about 15 minutes the bird stopped, perched near the nest and took a break. It was exciting to watch! It was a cold morning with temps around 30 to start. Full sun but the winds were strong making it feel like winter was still here.  Images were taken on March 25, 2019.

Mourning Dove carrying nesting material, a twig to the nest location…

Mourning Dove carrying more nesting material, a twig to the nest location…

Mourning Dove carrying nesting material, a leaf to the nest location…

Dropping down into the nest location…

Dropping down more…

Near the nest under construction…

Mourning Dove in the nest under construction, doing some work…

Mourning Dove carrying in a leaf to the nest…

Into the nest, but the dove seems to look at me but then continues it’s work…

The dove turned around and drops down into the nest…

Mourning Dove gathers nesting material off the ground before flying to the nest…

More carrying of nest material…

Mourning Dove holding a leaf above the nest…

Drops into the nest…

Mourning Dove in the nest working on things…

More gathering of nesting material on the ground near the nest…

To the nest…

To the nest…

Into the nest…

Above the nest with nesting material…

In the nest working…

Another leaf for the nest…

Mourning Dove takes a break near the nest on a limb…

Red-breasted Mergansers at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on March 24, 2019

One of my birding stops this morning along the lakefront was Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee. Very few winter ducks remain in the lagoon there. The majority of the few that were there were Red-breasted Mergansers. A group of 8, 3 males and 5 females were diving and finding food in the area by the foot bridge. Other birds at Lakeshore State Park were Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, and Song Sparrows. The rest of the lakefront in Milwaukee was quiet with only a few scattered Red-breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead, Greater Scaup and Common Goldeneye. A stop at Lake Park, it was almost bird-less, but did have a flock way up high of about 50 Tundra Swans heading northwest. It was a beautiful morning with only a light breeze, light sun, temps in the 40’s. Images were taken on March 24, 2019.

Red-breasted Merganser, male

Red-breasted Merganser, female

Red-breasted Merganser, female front, Red-breasted Merganser, male back…

Red-breasted Merganser, male

The dive for something to eat…

Tail end of the dive…

Red-breasted Merganser, female

Red-breasted Merganser, female closeup…

Red-breasted Merganser, male closeup…

Red-breasted Merganser, female…

Red-breasted Merganser, male

Red-breasted Merganser, female

Warbler ID Quiz ~ test your yourself before these beautiful birds arrive here in Wisconsin this spring!

Warbler ID Quiz ~ test your yourself before these beautiful birds arrive here in Wisconsin this spring! 28 species, see how well you do. All warblers below were photographed in Wisconsin. Answers are below last photo at the bottom of the page. There is a chance you may see some color variation in warblers considering sex, age or time of year. There are books, FB groups, phone apps, classes to lean more. There are also presentations to help in learning bird ID, look for details at your local nature center.

#1 ~ tail bobbs

#2

#3

#4

#5 ~ usually found lower

#6

#7

#8 ~ also called butter butt

#9 ~ usually seen on the ground picking through leaves, etc

#10

#11

#12 ~ can be seen on the bank of a lake, river or creek, seen near water…

#13

#14

#15

#16

#17

#18

#19

#20

#21

#22

#23 ~ not common in our area

#24

#25

#26

#27

#28

ANSWERS BELOW

 

#1 – Palm Warbler

#2 – Black-and-white Warbler

#3 – Magnolia Warbler

#4 – Northern Parula

#5 – Common Yellowthroat

#6 – Black-throated Blue Warbler

#7 – Nashville Warbler

#8 – Yellow-rumped Warbler

#9 – Worm-eating Warbler

#10 – Black-throated Green Warbler

#11 – Blackpoll Warbler

#12 – Prothonotary Warbler

#13 – Cape May Warbler

#14 – Chestnut -sided Warbler

#15 – Yellow Warbler

#16 – Wilson’s Warbler

#17 – Blackburnian Warbler

#18 – Orange-crowned Warbler

#19 – Hooded Warbler

#20 – Mourning Warbler

#21 – Canada Warbler

#22 – Tennesse Warbler

#23 – Prairie Warbler

#24 – Ovenbird

#25 – Golden-winged Warbler

#26 – Kirtland’s Warbler

#27 – American Redstart

#28 – Pine Warbler

Common Goldeneye, Greater Scaup and Red-breasted Merganser at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on March 18, 2019

Another stop today at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee provided some nice views once again of the Greater Scaup, Common Goldeneye and a Red-breasted Merganser. One never knows what will show up so I make the stop there often. I was not there long but did capture a few different poses, etc. that I did not get yesterday.  It was a chilly day with a stiff wind from the west. Even with full sun, it was cold! Temps around 30 to start the day warmed a little as the day went on. Images were taken on March 18, 2019.

Common Goldeneye, male stretching…

Common Goldeneye, male out of water…I think this fella was tired…

Common Goldeneye, male out of water…

Common Goldeneye, the female…

Common Goldeneye, female, so cute…

Greater Scaup eating a mussel, that is what they eat there in the lagoon…

Greater Scaup, female

Red-breasted Merganser, male…

Greater Scaup, female…

Greater Scaup, male

Common Goldeneye, male wings up…

Common Goldeneye, male cruising along the ice edge…

Red-breasted Merganser, female – Fox River Waukesha 3/19/19

Red-breasted Merganser with a Bullhead, female – Fox River Waukesha 3/19/19

Common Goldeneye and Greater Scaup at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on March 17, 2019

One of my stops this afternoon along the lakefront in Milwaukee was Lakeshore State Park. A few open places free from ice in the lagoon provided places for ducks to be diving and feeding on mussels. Those species were Common Goldeneye and Greater Scaup. There were very many walkers enjoying the sunny day which kept the birds tight in the openings. The birds were moving around a little and a couple of flight shots were taken. It was a nice sunny day, but winds kept things on the cold side. Images were taken on March 17, 2019.

Common Goldeneye, male

Common Goldeneye, male

Greater Scaup, male

Greater Scaup, female

Greater Scaup, female

Common Goldeneye, male

Common Goldeneye, male

Common Goldeneye, male

Greater Scaup, female

A pair of Common Goldeneye, males taking off…

Common Goldeneye, male at the ice edge

Mute Swans on the Fox River in Waukesha Wisconsin on March 11, 2019

A pair of Mute Swans appeared on the Fox River in Waukesha County this afternoon. They fed for awhile and then gave some nice views too. It was a pleasant late afternoon with plenty of sunshine, lows winds, actually was starting to feel like spring could be coming yet. Images were taken on March 11, 2019.

Mute Swan

The pair…

The close up…

“Being shy”

Incoming…

Feeding…

The pair together…

Barred Owl in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on March 11, 2019

Barred Owl in a tree, presumably a nesting pair in Milwaukee County. This male resting peacefully in a tree kept his eyes on a nest hole nearby. Hopefully they will have a successful breeding year at this location. Partly cloudy but in a short time gave way to beautiful blue skies, cool temps starting at 21 degree with some breeze, it was chilly out there! Images were taken on March 11, 2019.

Barred Owl, the male…

Here the male looks over to the nest hole tree…

Enjoying some of the morning sun…

Off in a distance to show some of the setting…this owl was very high up there…

Townsend’s Solitaire at Port Washington in Ozaukee County Wisconsin on March 8, 2019

On my way home from birding in Sheboygan and getting the Great Tit, I thought I would stop at Port Washington. A Townsend’s Solitaire had recently been reported there. The Solitaire was present in the area as reported near the creek at the entrance of Coal Dock Park. When I arrived it was in a tree just above the creek perched. After watching it for awhile, it flew to the concrete wall a couple feet away along the creek and ate what I would think would be gnats or tiny insects. Hopping and skipping around on the concrete wall, I could tell it was catching things and eating. It was also picking insects out of mid-air. I think maybe the warming concrete there provided awaking insects that were dormant? After awhile it flew to the power plant fence adjacent to the creek across the road and ate some conifer berries. This only went on for a shot time. From there it flew high into a tree above the creek and then onto a condo roof top, then north out of sight, I left the area. It was comfortable at 36 degrees, the sun was fading with clouds, but with no wind it was very pleasant.

When I arrived, the Townsend’s Solitaire perched in the tree…

Townsend’s Solitaire

Binomial name: Myadestes townsendi

Category: Thrushes

Size: 8.5” long, 14.5” wingspan

Weight: 1.2 Oz.

Note: What makes this bird a rare visitor? The normal range for the Townsend’s Solitaire is mountainous regions in the western US.

In the tree, looking or listening for insects…

Flying a short distance to the concrete wall a few feet away…

Going for insects…

Getting something to eat here…

here too…

And more, it is eating something here…

Looking for more…

Turns on a dime to look for more, as it must hear something or see something…

Back to the tree…

Before flying across the creek…

To the conifers for the berries along the fence…then off it went…

What the Townsend’s Solitaire ate…

Great Tit at Indian Mound Park in Sheboygan Wisconsin on March 8, 2019

With birding being some what slow, I decided it was time to try for the Great Tit. A bird I have always wanted to see and get on my life list even though it is not a countable bird at this time. I went for it thinking it will be added to the list sooner than later. It happened today after almost a 4 hour wait. There are several locations to try to see the Great Tit , but I also wanted to get a picture of it too. I made the run to Kohler-Andrae State Park first. I stood at the feeders by the ranger station for the first hour plus and it was Pine Siskins, both Nuthatches, American Tree Sparrows and the common feeder birds present. They had recently reported the Great Tit there so I thought I had a good chance. I felt it was time to go to my next location which was Indian Mound Park in Sheboygan. I walked the park almost from end to end very quietly looking for any movement of birds. It was just Black-capped Chickadee’s, both nuthatches and a small flock of American Robins came in to bath as there was some open water in the low areas. I think I was there over an hour. I went back to KASP again also driving the park, and spending some time at the feeder, nothing new. I went back to Indian Mound Park for the last time and spent another hour there. Just about ready to leave for the day and I spot what I thought was the Great Tit ~150 feet high in a tree. I put my bins on it and it flew and landed on a tree a few feet away from me. I was on a walking path at the time, I think it was checking me out. I could not get a shot as it was right above me so I slowly walked away. Looking back I was about 20 feet away, I took a couple shots and off it went. I hung around another 15-20 minutes hoping it would return but it did not. Harrington Beach is suppose to be a good place to see this bird too. So a life bird but not countable, like the European Goldfinch. The day started out at 7 degrees but warmed up fast with the full sun. No wind, it was quiet as a mouse everywhere I went. Images were taken on March 8, 2019.

Great Tit, looks like it just took a drink of water…

Great Tit

Binomial name: Passer montanus

Size: 5.5” long, 9”-10″ wing span

Weight: .57 oz

Note: The Great Tit is pretty common in Europe, but so far Wisconsin is the only state in the US where nesting populations have been found of this pet shop escapee.

Great Tit

Eurasian Tree Sparrows in Lafayette County Wisconsin on February 25, 2019

A species I have always wanted to get on my life list was the Eurasian Tree Sparrow. It finally happened after following up an ebird report from Quentin Y on 2/23/19, thank you Quentin! With the winter like weather we have been having, it took till today, the 25th to get out there. The location is about 14841 East State Line Road in South Wayne Lafayette County. Illinois is on one side of the road, Wisconsin on the other if I am correct. I arrived about 7:00 am. I drove up and down the road very slow coming across flocks of 20 or so birds, mostly Dark-eyed Juncos, with a few American Tree Sparrows mixed in. With the flocks being so large and ice breaking on the road as I rolled along, it was difficult to get near them as they would flush from a distance and with a few cars going by too. After about 45 minutes, I spotted a Eurasian Tree Sparrow in one of the flocks on the side of the road. Of course, it was on the Illinois side of the road! I parked for the most part and waited and waited, finally a group formed in front of me down the road and I noticed a Eurasian Tree Sparrow was in that flock.  From the vehicle I took a few distant shots staying back a ways with out flushing them. Things quieted down and I looked up and a American Kestrel was perched up in a tree above me. Surprisingly Dark-eyed Juncos flew in the same tree as the Kestrel being only 8-10 feet way. They must know there safety zone from the Kestrel with branches in the way I guess.  The Kestrel stayed perched there for 20 minutes, maybe waiting for a Dark-eyed Junco forget that he was there and be in the open. I left the area at that point. To say the least, it was exciting to see this bird and finally get it on my state life list. Other birds seen in the area, 200~ Horned Larks and 5 Lapland Longspurs. It was a cloudy day, very cold with temps about 11 degrees, very little wind, but I was in the car the whole time so not to bad out there. Images were taken on February 25, 2019.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow, in the middle with a American Tree Sparrow behind, with Dark-eyed Juncos, sorry for the watermark…

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Binomial name: Passer montanus

Category: Old World Sparrows

Size: 6” long, 8.75” wing span

Weight: .77 oz

Cool facts: The Eurasian Tree Sparrow from Europe was released in St. Louis, Missouri area in 1870. It became established there. Unlike its close relative, the House Sparrow, it never spread very far from the original point of being released. It is said now that this species is very slowly moving up the Mississippi River northward and breeding.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow in the middle with a American Tree Sparrow on the right and Dark-eyed Juncos…

Eurasian Tree Sparrow in the middle with Dark-eyed Juncos…

Distant shot of the Eurasian Tree Sparrow eating weed seeds with Dark-eyed Junco’s along the shoulder of the road…

Lapland Longspur

Horned Lark in the middle and Lapland Longspurs on each side…

Eastern Screech Owl, red morph in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on February 21, 2019

An Eastern Screech Owl enjoying some sunshine in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on February 21, 2019. This beautiful owl was the highlight of the day. Still, in my opinion very quiet in Milwaukee County Parks. A little action around feeders. 1,000’s of ducks along the Milwaukee lakefront, Common Goldeneye, Greater Scaup and some Red-breasted Mergansers in the areas I checked. It was a gorgeous day with plenty of sunshine, low winds, temps around 30 degrees.

Eastern Screech Owl, red morph soaking up some sunshine…

At a long distance…