Albino American Crow in Waukesha County Wisconsin on July 15, 2018

I saw the report yesterday with images by Chistin G. of an albino American Crow at Nashotah Park in Waukesha County. With not much going on, I was very curious about this bird, being close to home,  I decided to make the run over there today. Within minutes after entering the park, I heard the sound of American Crows. I located a flock that were spread out in a few different trees and low and behold, there was a white one, the albino! The more I watched this bird, the more cool and interesting, unique it seemed to me. It amazed me! I stopped in at the park a few different times as they were on the move with joggers twice and a walking couple another time, they had left area where I was. Crows were being crows and they don’t miss a thing, they have look out bird(s) and you can’t just sneak up on these birds. The bird appears to be a young bird, it had some issues perched in the trees, hanging on to limbs and my images show that. A big thank you to Christin G for finding this bird and getting the word out for others to see it. Some may say, it is just a crow, but looking at it and watching it today, it is a very special crow at that. It was a very hot and humid morning, walking through very tall wet grass with little winds, full sun, it felt like a sauna out there. Images were taken on July 15, 2018. Note: Nashotah Park is a Waukesha County Park and there is an entrance fee unless you have a annual sticker.

The first view of the albino American Crow perched on top of a spruce with a regular American Crow…

By itself…

Perched off in a oak tree by itself…

Perched…

The bird appears to loose its grip here…

Hanging on…

Hanging on…

And still hanging on…

Stabilizes…

Another slip…

And again…

Stabilizes once again…

Off to another location…

Back on track…

To the south…

Later on a return trip to the park, I see part of the family just hanging out…

Some feeding here for probably insects…

Looking…

Some of the gang…

Finding something…

Just a bite here to eat…

Later found perched in a dead pine with another bird…

Some preening by the albino crow…

What is being said here, I don’t know…

3 of them…

A wing stretch here…

A little off balance…

Perched and looking around…

The albino American Crow flies out of sight with the other crows…

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.

 

Wisconsin Native Wildflowers at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on July 13, 2018

A stop this morning at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee provided some nice views of some great Wisconsin native wildflowers. I took a few images to share. It was a morning with plenty of sunshine, a steady breeze out of the south, temps were warm with a high expected near 90 degrees. A couple of the images were taken in our yard here in Waukesha, they are noted as that. Images were taken on July 13, 2018.

Pale Purple Coneflower, Echinacea pallida

Purple Prairie Clover, Petalostemum purpureum

Butterfly Plant, Asclepias tuberosa

Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta

Wild Quinine, Parthenium intergrifolium

Prairie Coreopsis, Coreopsis palmata

Blue Vervain, Verbena hastata

White Prairie Clover, Petalostemum candidum

Pale Purple Coneflower, Echinacea pallida

Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea (not a true Wisconsin native)

Wild White Indigo, Baptisia leucantha

Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta

Butterfly Plant, Asclepias tuberosa

Wild Quinine, Parthenium intergrifolium

Purple Prairie Clover, Petalostemum purpureum

Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta

Blue Vervain, Verbena hastata

White Prairie Clover, Petalostemum candidum

Pale Purple Coneflower, Echinacea pallida

Royal Catchfly, Silene regia, Waukesha, native to IL, IA

Rattlesnake Master, Eryngium yuccifolium, Waukesha

Smooth Phlox, Phlox glaberrima interior, Waukesha

Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea (not a true Wisconsin native)

Eastern Kingbirds fledging the nest at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on July 7, 2018

There is a Eastern Kingbird nest many birders have been watching for the last month at Greenfield Park. Today was the day and an amazing day watching the young leave the nest, I just happened to be there. Two adults have been feeding the young right along for the month plus at in the nest. All of the sudden, a fledgling on the top edge of the nest, then out it flew about 2 feet. A minute later up popped up another fledgling in the nest and up on the edge of the nest it went. That bird flew a little farther, about 4 feet from the nest. Adults came around and feed them a few times rotating between birds. At one time and adult bird  landed next to a fledgling and preened. A moment later the fledgling preened too, just like class! It was so fun to watch all this in a few minutes. It was a gorgeous day with perfect temps, 70, full sun, with a light breeze. Images were taken on July 7, 2018.

1st Eastern Kingbird fledgling ready to make the maiden flight from the nest.

Makes the landing a couple feet from the nest with a little struggle with balance at first…

Looking back at the nest where it just came from…

An adult lands at the nest and checks on the 2nd young bird…

1st bird is calling to the adult losing some balance…

The adult says to the young, it is time to leave the nest with the 1st bird behind it…

The 2nd fledgling lands about 4 feet from the nest and the adult quickly lands next to it…

1st fledgling calling for an adult…

The adult comes over and preens in front of the fledgling to show how it is done…

Seconds later, the fledgling preens just like the adult did…

The adult feeds the 1st bird…

Another feeding to the first fledgling…

 

Arctic Tern in Sheboygan Wisconsin on June 15, 2018

After returning home from birding some of the lakefront in Milwaukee in the morning I realized my birding was not finished for the day. I saw the rare bird report of an Arctic Tern found by Amy K up at Sheboygan. I needed this bird for my Wisconsin state life list so I decided to make the run up around 12:30 pm. My last try for this species was back on May 21, 2016 when there was one present at the time of seeing the famous White-winged Tern in Manitowoc, but I missed that bird by a day. I got a hold of Amy and she told me exactly where she saw the Arctic Tern and from where. I picked up Bruce on the way up as he had an interest in seeing this bird. We arrived around 2:00 pm and went to the hot spot, the Blue Harbor Pier. We could see very many gulls and some terns from the pier on the rocks in the harbor, but unfortunately it was too far to get an ID. We tried by the sailing club and met Barry B there, but could not ID the Arctic Tern 100% from there with the distance. None of us brought a scope! We knew our only hope was to wait for a birder with a scope to show up. Along came Davor G with his scope. We headed back over to the pier and with in a minute or two Davor had the tern in his scope. The bird was about 1/4 mile away from us so images are not much, just a couple of doc shots. Big thank you to Amy K for finding the rare bird and getting the word out to others, and Davor for nailing this bird in his scope. There was a lot of excitement had with all of us and a few birders that showed up after the big find. A mostly sunny period when I was there, stiff breeze off the lake where, felt very cool and it made me have to have two light coats on. Images were taken on June 15, 2018.

Arctic Tern surrounded by Common Terns…bird is a couple inches above the round hole in the rock…image taken at about 1/4 mile from tern..

Red arrow to see the tern location…just above the round hole in the rock…

Arctic Tern

Binomial name: Sterna paradisaea

Category: Gulls, Tern, and Skimmers

Size: 12” long, 31” wing span

Weight: 3.9 oz

Note: Breeding grounds for this species is the High Arctic and wintering is in the Antarctic, migrating across the oceans each year, what a distance!

Preening…

Head turned in as it was preening…

A Laughing Gull was also present giving nice views at a distance from the Sailing Club…

Red-headed Woodpecker feeding young in Marquette County Wisconsin on June 11, 2018

Doing some birding I came across a pair of Red-headed Woodpeckers. One bird was bringing insects to the nest hole in a dead oak. The other adult perched at a distance off a ways  from the nest hole. I hung around for 3 feedings and then let them be. It was a beautiful day, mostly sunny with some gusts of winds which made for a stunning day out there, and no mosquito’s. Images were taken on June 11, 2018.

Red-headed Woodpecker leaving the nest hole after feeding young…

Bringing the insects to the young after a few minutes…

Going into the nest hole…

Before entering the nest hole…

Leaving…

Just standing by, the young know that…

Another bill full for the young…

Just before entering…

Perched in a nearby tree by the nest hole…

Taking a look around, watching the nest hole too…

Great Blue Heron with the Goldfish at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County on June 8, 2018

One of my birding stops this morning was Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County. A slow morning out, the highlight at Greenfield Park was a Great Blue Heron hunting, catching and eating a Goldfish. It is always nice to see a heron eat something other than a Goldfish, but I guess it is good if they are taken out of the pond. Other species seen where a few Green Herons doing some high flybys. A beautiful morning out with light sun, low winds and temps in the upper 60’s. Images were taken on June 8, 2018.

The Great Blue Heron looking and waiting for something to eat…

Intense listening and looking and waiting for the next meal…

The catch…

Some handling of the fish…

More handling of the fish…

More handling of the fish…

Turning the fish in the correct position to swallow…

In it goes…

Going in…

Going down…

Gulp…

More gulp with a quick drink which is what they do typically after eating something…

Waiting for the next snack…

To a new fishing spot…

Bobolinks at Retzer Nature Center in Waukesha County Wisconsin on June 7, 2018

I made the annual early June stop at Retzer Nature Center in Waukesha to see if any Bobolinks were around. There were at least 10 males and some females present, I really did not do a count. They flew to many field locations and gave nice views flying and perching near me at times. Nice to see them there. No sign of Dickcissels which I had hoped to see there too. It was a warm sunny morning with little winds, I was hot standing out on a trail there. Images were taken on June 7, 2018.

Bobolink, male

Bobolink

Binomial name: Dolichonyx oryzivorus

Category: Blackbirds

Size: 7” long, 11.5” wing span

Weight: 1.50 oz

Notes: A male Bobolink may have more than one mate. A well known birder in Wisconsin had called this bird a “skunk blackbird” because of the whitish stripe down the back of the head.

Bobolink, female

Bobolinks, male left, female right…

In flight and calling…

Bobolink, female perched with Golden Alexanders

Bobolink, male

In flight and calling…

Bobolink, female at takeoff…

Bobolink, female

Bobolink, female, just hanging on…

Bobolinks, female left, male right…

Bobolink, female

Bobolink, female looking…

Bobolink, male in the stalks which they typically perch in…

In coming…

American White Pelicans at North Point Park in Sheboygan Wisconsin on May 29, 2018

I made a run up to North Point Park in Sheboygan on Lake Michigan’s lakefront to see if American White Pelicans where present. Arriving just after sun up, there were about 150 off the rock point. The water on the lake is high and there is less room for them to gather on the point so they were more condensed I would say. A couple of the old concrete piers to the south of the point held some pelicans on and off while I was there in the morning, they were flying back and forth. There was not much action when I was there other than some flying back and forth to the piers or flying just down the shoreline along with preening and small interaction among them. Even with little action, these majestic birds are still exciting to see. Only other bird to note was a 1st summer Lesser Black-backed Gull. It started out feeling like a cold fall morning with good winds right out of the NE and some haze. Temps did warm up some mid morning with a little sun coming through. Images were taken on May 29, 2018.

American White Pelican

American White Pelican

Binomial name: Pelecanus erythrorhynchos

Category: Pelicans

Size: 62” long, 108” wing span

Weight: 16.4 lbs

Cool fact: One of the largest birds in North America. Their pouch, bottom of their bill can hold up to 3 gallons of water.

Congregated off the rock point at North Point Park

Just a flyby…

3 preening on the rock…

Alone…

American White Pelican with a Ring-billed Gull on the rock…

In the water…

Incoming…

Dropping down…

Overhead…

Dropping down…

Wisconsin Native Wildflowers in Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties on May 25, 2018

At a couple of locations today, Wehr Nature Center being one, also our backyard, I took a few minutes to photograph some of the stunning wildflowers native to the state that were currently blooming. Images were taken on May 25, 2018.

Shooting Star, Dodecatheon meadia

Wild Cloumbine, Aquilegia canadensis

Red Trillium, Trillium erectum

Wild Geranium, Geranium maculatum

Jacob’s Ladder, Polemonium reptans

Foamflower, Tiarella cordifolia

Wild Blue Phlox, Phlox divaricata

Wild Geranium, Geranium maculatum

Large Flowered Trillium, Trillium reccurvatum

Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum

Golden Alexanders, Zizia aurea

Red Trillium, Trillium erectum

Wild Cream Indigo, Baptisia leucophaea

Large Flowered Trillium, Trillium reccurvatum

Mayapple, Podophyllum peltatum

Wild Geranium, Geranium maculatum

 

Western Tanager at the Lion’s Den in Ozaukee County Wisconsin on May 22, 2018

With only a couple hours available today for birding, I thought I would give the male Western Tanager a try that was reported yesterday at the Lion’s Den in Ozaukee County. I arrived at 5:15 am with heavy fog and very little light. The images show that. After about 30 minutes walking along the bluff and different  areas, I spotted the Western Tanager on a bluff trail. This species is well out out of it’s normal range. Typically I think we get 1 or 2 in the state each year but their presence is usually short lived with a day visit. A male Scarlet Tanager was usually within the area of the Western Tanager. They both actively feed while I was present for a few minutes I was there as I had to head back home. A cool life bird that I did not have on my life list for Wisconsin yet. Life bird #339 for the state. Sorry for the poor quality of the images, but I tried to capture some of the action to share. A gloomy early morning at the park with heavy fog, little light, but temps where mild, so that was a good thing. Thanks to the finder of this bird and for those who got the word out for others to see it. Images were taken on May 22, 2018.

Western Tanager, the male in the fog…

Western Tanager

Binomial name: Piranga ludoviciana

Category: Piranga Tanagers and Allies

Size: 7” long, 11.5” wingspan

Weight: .98 Oz

Note: Normal range for this species is Wyoming and west.

With a gnat…

Looking for a gnat…

Going for a gnat…

Getting the gnat…

Warblers at the Fox River Sanctuary in Waukesha Wisconsin on May 13, 2018

I had an hour free in the afternoon so I stopped at the Fox River Sanctuary in Waukesha. It had a nice selection of warblers but not a lot of numbers of each. Warblers species seen, Blackburnian, Cape May, Yellow, Tennessee, Nashville, Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, American Redstart, Black-and-white, Blackpoll, and Northern Parula. They actively feed along the river. It was a cloudy day, mild temps in the mid 60’s, little wind. Images were taken on May 13, 2018.

Northern Parula, female

Magnolia Warbler, male

Magnolia Warbler, male getting a gnat…

Blackburnian Warbler, female

Blackburnian Warbler, female getting a gnat…

Northern Parula getting a gnat…

Yellow Warbler, female

Tennessee Warbler, female with a gnat in the bill…

Blackburnian Warbler, female getting a gnat…

Blackburnian Warbler perched pretty…

Magnolia Warbler, male

Northern Parula, female

Blackburnian Warbler, female

Blackburnian Warbler, female going for the gnat…

Blackburnian Warbler, female with a gnat in the bill…

Northern Parula looking for the next gnat…

Northern Parula going for a gnat…

Northern Parula going for a gnat…

Northern Parula posing…

Northern Parula

American Redstart, male

Tennessee Warbler, female, going for a gnat…

Blackpoll Warbler, male

Cape May Warbler, female

Magnolia Warbler, male

American Redstart, male

Magnolia Warbler going for a gnat under the bark…

 

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at Lake Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on May 11, 2018

While birding Lake Park in Milwaukee one of the highlights was a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher feeding on gnats and then a little preening. A cold day and winds off the lake, it sure did not feel like spring. Images were taken on May 11, 2018.

Getting those gnats on sumac…

Looking…

Tail spread…

Perched pretty…

Some preening…

More preening…

Resting…

Looking for the next gnat…

Blackburnian Warbler at Lake Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on May 10, 2018

Making a stop midday at Lake Park gave nice views of many warbler species. One of the highlights was a Blackburnian Warbler feeding on gnats on a opening Maple tree. Other warbler species seen, Cape May, Yellow, Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, Nashville, Tennessee, Northern Parula, Orange-crowned, Black-throated Blue, Yellow-rumped, American Redstart, Palm, Prothonotary, Northern Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, Wilson’s, and A Black-and-white. A fun time out with great views for the 2 hours I was there. A pretty nice day, mostly cloudy, mild temps and low winds. Images were taken on May 10, 2018.

Blackburnian Warbler

Looking for a gnat, it is what they do, it is what they eat…

Going for a gnat…

Looking at you…

Going for a gnat…

Looking around…

Calling…

More calling…

Looking for a gnat…

Just looking…

Cape May Warbler at the Fox River Sanctuary in Waukesha Wisconsin on May 9, 2018

While birding at the Fox River Sanctuary this afternoon another stunning warbler species seen feeding was the Cape May Warbler. It was doing what all the warblers do, feeding as they migrate through our area. There were 3 present while I was there. Gnats, gnats were everywhere there, clouds of them in a air and the trees must have been loaded too. Other warbler species to note, Northern Parula, Tennessee, Magnolia, Yellow, Nashville, Palm and Cape May. It was cloudy with a mist once in awhile with temps in the mid 60’s.

Perched pretty…

Deciding what gnat to get next, with two in front of him…

Looking for the next gnat…

Looking under the leaf for the next gnat, it is what they do…

Looking for the next gnat…

Getting a gnat…

Getting the next gnat…

Looking for the next gnat…

Perched off a ways with a gnat close by….

Going to the next branch…

Prothonotary Warbler at the Fox River Sanctuary in Waukesha Wisconsin on May 9, 2018

I made a quick birding stop after the rain let up today at the Fox River Sanctuary. It was quiet for the first few minutes but then I spotted a Prothonotary Warbler down stream. It feed on gnats on a branch over hanging the river which is typical. The air was filled with gnats as a few times I got them in my mouth. Other warbler species to note, Northern Parula, Tennessee, Magnolia, Yellow, Nashville, Palm and Cape May. It was cloudy with a mist once in awhile with temps in the mid 60’s.

Prothonotary Warbler

With a gnat…

Looking for a gnat…

Just perched pretty…

Giving good looks…

Looking for the next gnat…

Reaching for the gnat…

Reaching for the next gnat…

With a gnat…

Looking for the next gnat…

Looking for the next gnat, that is about all they do…

 

 

Sora at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on May 7, 2018

Birding along the lakefront in Milwaukee today, a stop at Lakeshore State Park provided nice views of a Sora. It came out of the cattails a couple of times to do some feeding. At first I thought it was an American Coot, seeing only the front of the head in the dark, but then, yes and Sora! It was a beautiful spring day with perfect temps, sunny skies with low winds.

Sora

Sora

Binomial name: Porzana carolina

Category: Rails, Gallinules, and Coots

Size: 8.75” long, 14” wingspan

Weight: 2.6 Oz

Note: Member of the rail family

Coming out through the cattails…

Looking for something to eat…

Going for something here…

Looking for food…

edible…?

The Sora drops it…

It went for something….

Walking around, looking for something to eat…

Finds something on the rock, but it does not take it…

Leaves it…

Back to the water…

Dives for something…

Has something here…

Eats it…

Warblers at Wehr Nature Center in Franklin Wisconsin on May 6, 2018

A stop this morning at Wehr Nature Center provided nice views of Chestnut-sided, Wilson’s, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow, Magnoila, Yellow-rumped, Black-and-white, and the American Redstart. Also present a Swainson’s Thrush. They put on a great show feeding while I was there. A beautiful spring like day with low winds, some light cloud cover with temps around 65 degrees.

Yellow Warbler, male

Wilson’s Warbler, male

Black-and-white Warbler, male

Chestnut-sided Warbler, male

Yellow Warbler, male

Common Yellowthroat, male

Wilson’s Warbler, male

Common Yellowthroat in search of a gnat, it is what they do….

American Redstart, male

Swainson’s Thrush

Chestnut-sided Warbler, male

Yellow Warbler, male

Yellow Warbler, male

Yellow Warbler, male looking for a gnat…

Chestnut-sided Warbler, male

Common Yellowthroat, male

Yellow Warbler, male

American Avocets at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on May 5, 2018

My first stop for birding was Lakeshore Sate Park in Milwaukee. A bird I have been waiting for since the last time they were on the lakefront, the American Avocet. They were at the beach there and doing some feeding and preening, but for the most part they rested. Once they were flushed by a dog walker with 3 dogs at the end of the beach, but that was the only time they took to the skies and they were present when I left. There where 11 birds present in this flock. Female Avocet has a more upturned bill. An amazing bird to photograph and watch too on a mostly sunny day with temps in the 70’s and little wind. Images were taken on May 5, 2018.

American Avocet

Close up, a male…

Coming in…

All Eleven of them…

The way they were…male in the front, female second, with another female third…

Just a drink, probable female…

Feeding…

The pose…

Bathing…

Bathing…

Bathing…

Preening…

Preening…

Preening…

Grooming those feathers…

Stunning reflection….

The stretch…

A few loops around high up after being flushed by the dogs but they returned…

Circling above…

On their way down…

Landing…

Just pretty, female…

Walking along, male…

Something to eat in the bill here…

A little run here…

Looking pretty with gnats around…

Resting and what they did a lot of…

The reflection…

Mouth stretching…

One feeding, others resting…

Walking along…

Calling…

The drip…

Preening…

More bathing…

Beautiful…

Warblers at Wehr Nature Center in Franklin Wisconsin on May 2, 2018

I made a brief stop at Wehr Nature Center this afternoon to see if there was some warbler action and there was. Warblers seen were Magnolia, Orange-crowned, Black-throated Green, Palm, Yellow-rumped, Black-and-white, Blackpoll, and Northern Waterthrush. They put on some great shows feeding while I was there. A warm afternoon with partly cloudy skies and low winds. Images were taken on May 2, 2018.

Black-throated Green Warbler diving to a gnat…

Blackpoll Warbler

Blackpoll Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

Palm Warbler looking for the next gnat

Orange-crowned Warbler

Northern Waterthrush

Black-and-white Warbler ready to get a gnat…

Black-throated Green Warbler

Magnolia Warbler looking for the next gnat

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Northern Waterthrush

Blackpoll Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler looking for the next gnat

Palm Warbler

Blackpoll Warbler looking for the next gnat

Black-throated Green Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler looking for it’s next gnat…

Blackpoll going to make the leap…

Blaclpoll making the leap…

Palm Warbler looking at you…

Black-throated Green perched pretty…looking for the next gnat…

Eastern Screech-Owl in Southeastern Wisconsin on April 29, 2018

While out birding I came across a Eastern Screech-Owl sitting in a natural cavity. The owl sat there not doing much but was keeping track of a couple of Grey Squirrels that caught its attention. I will say it is the year of the Eastern Screech-Owl, this is the 5th different one I have seen. It was another cool day with temps in the upper 50’s midday, with plenty of sun but with an east wind made for a chilly day for this time of year. Images were taken on April 29, 2018.

Eastern Screech-Owl resting peacefully in a natural cavity…

Eyes on a Grey Squirrel a tree away…

Looking out yonder…

Looking below at another Grey Squirrel…