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

Eastern Towhees in Marquette County Wisconsin on May 5, 2020

A pair of Eastern Towhees, the male and female where making an appearance in Marquette County. They are probably nesting nearby where I photographed them. On a couple of photos I captured their distinct posture. It was a beautiful day, low winds, mostly sunny with temps around 55 degree. Images were taken on May 5, 2020.

Eastern Towhee, the male…

Eastern Towhee, the female…

The Eastern Towhee looking beautiful…

 

Black-throated Gray Warbler along the Menominee River in Wauwatosa Wisconsin on May 6, 2020

The report of a Black-throated Gray being seen in Wauwatosa Wisconsin sounded spectacular! I made the run in to try for this rare warbler to the state late afternoon on May 5th with no results after a 3 hour wait. It had been seen earlier in the day. It was getting dark and thought I would try first thing in the morning. I arrived the next morning just after sunrise and after 30 minutes, the bird just appeared. I only had looks for about 2 minutes, it was preening, must have just bathed. I grabbed a few shots and then it went out of sight. This western US visitor was stunning, my image does not look like much but it was across the river with low light. A big thank you to all who kept reports coming and the finder of this amazing bird, thank you too! A cool morning starting at 40 degrees, the early sun warmed things up. Bird #350 for the state of Wisconsin. Image was taken on May 6, 2020.

The Black-throated Gray Warbler

Great Horned Owl at a Cemetery in Waukesha County Wisconsin on April 21, 2020

One of the places Great Horned Owls can be found are cemetery’s. I drive though a few year round looking for these birds in slower birding times. This spring I found just that, a cemetery with a pair of Great Horned Owls. What a great place to have a nest and raise a family. Typically quiet, a large area to find prey. Today, one of the two perched in the open, I could see the nest nearby in another tree but so high up, I couldn’t see what is going on. I have seen no owlets but I’m sure they are around by this time of year. I didn’t even have to get out of the car for these shots. A nice sunny day but stiff winds from the NE made for a chilly day. Images were taken on April 21, 2020.

An adult Great Horned Owl just hanging out with the nest close by…

Osprey At Greenfield Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on April 20, 2020

One of my birding stops today was Greenfield Park. I did a quick walk around and around comes an Osprey. It flew over the large pond a few times hunting hard for something to eat but appeared it struck out on that idea. A beautiful day, steady winds made it for a cool day. Images were taken on April 20, 2020.

The Osprey hunting…

Osprey looking at me…

Osprey still looking at me…

The Osprey hunting, looking straight down into the pond…

The Osprey cruising the sky…

The Osprey hunting for something to eat…

Osprey hunting…

Osprey hunting, seems to come up empty, leaves the area after awhile…

Great Horned Owl Owlets in Waukesha County April 18, 2020

I have been watching a Great Horned Owl nest for the last couple of months in Waukesha County. I only stop every couple of weeks if that to see what is going on. At today’s visit, two owlets were present. One still on the nest and the other well out on a limb. An adult was close by perched in a tree watching. I only hung around for a minute and left the area. It was a partly cloudy morning with light winds, a pleasant day, temps around 42 degrees. Images were taken on April 18, 2020.

The Great Horned Owl owlet on the nest…

The other Great Horned Owl owlet out on a limb…

Another view…

Doing what they do…

Long-eared Owl in Southeastern Wisconsin on April 2, 2020

While birding a new location, coming out of some bushes, I was stunned to see a single Long-eared Owl starring at me. Just sitting on a branch, I quickly took some shots and walked away. It never flew, seemed content just looking at me. That was one of my biggest birding surprises of all time! Images were taken on April 2, 2020.

The Long-eared Owl

Tufted Duck at Fresh Air Park in Winnebago County Wisconsin on April 16, 2020

Trying for the male Tufted Duck today was worth the almost 2 hour trip. This Eurasian species, very rare for the state, even North America was very exciting to finally see. On arriving at Fresh Air Park, the word was the duck had not been seen for a least an hour. Not what I wanted to hear, but doing some scoping along with other birders, I think his name was Dave from Baraboo spotted the duck! It was down shore a long ways and out from shore too. The duck went out a long ways and returned a few more times to shore but never close. It hung with some scaups a couple of times but for the most part stayed by itself. On one of its return to shore runs I snapped a couple of photos. I felt the photo was good enough for a ID shot and a memory. I tried for a Tufted Duck last year way up north on the Mississippi but missed on it, it was nice to get the bird finally on my list. Life bird for the state of Wisconsin #348. A big thank you to Jim M for finding, ID-ing the bird, getting word out and letting birders onto their property. It was a sunny day, winds not bad and temps around 40 degrees. Image was taken on April 16, 2020.

The Tufted Duck, male

Wood Ducks in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on April 9, 2020

One of my birding stops today gave nice looks at a pair of Wood Ducks. They were just swimming around doing their thing while I patiently observed their actions. The nice light this morning brought out the very best in Wood Duck breeding colors. It was a cool morning to start with stiff winds, never really got pleasant out. Images were taken on April 9, 2020.

Wood Duck, the male…

Wood Duck, the female…

Back view, beautiful too…

Golden-crowned Sparrow in Calumet County Wisconsin on April 7, 2020

A Golden-crowned Sparrow was reported 4 days ago coming to a feeder in Calumet County. This reported bird far out of its normal range being California did not disappoint. After almost 3 hours the bird gave a brief appearance, enough for an ID but 5 Brown-headed Cowbirds and a chipmunk chased it away. About an hour later the bird reappeared and gave nice views at a distance for about 1 minute plus. It stayed under the feeder, ate some seeds and then disappeared once again. A big thank you goes out to the kind homeowners who have let birders in to try for this cool visitor. Well worth the wait for this exciting bird though as I remember the last time I tried for this species. It was in Winsdor WI, back about 6-7 years ago, waited for a the bird to show on on the back porch of a home from almost sun up to sun down with high temps for the day of only 20 degrees. The bird never showed. I think it was January of the year. Oh how bad I wanted this bird on my life list! Toda was a mild day, temps around 60 degrees, little wind, mostly sunny skies. Image was taken on April 7, 2020.

Golden-crowned Sparrow