A couple of quick photos of a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird in Milwaukee County. I did not see a male but I’m sure he was around. It was a mild sunny morning with smoky skies and temps in the low 70’s. Images were taken on June 5, 2023.
A birding stop today gave nice views of 5 Dunlins. They were found at the far north end of McKinley Beach, some call it pebble beach. One of the Dunlins was a non-breeding adult. What a beautiful species!! I caught a little bit of their feeding action of finding things to eat that had washed up on the beach or in the water at the shore edge. It was a beautiful morning with full sun and temps were around 70 degrees. Images were taken on May 29, 2023.
One of my birding stops today gave nice views of 4 Ruddy Turnstones all males. They were found at the far north end of McKinley Beach, some call it pebble beach. Also present was one Semipalmated Plover, a male. While I was there they were flushed a couple of times by walkers but always returned to the beach. I caught a little bit of their feeding action of finding things to eat that had washed up on the beach. It was a beautiful morning with full sun and a good breeze off the lake, almost felt cold at times, temps were around 60 degrees. Images were taken on May 25, 2023.
One of my birding stops today provided nice views of 2 Ruddy Turnstones at Bender Park. They fed on the big rocks for bugs the time I was there. They moved in and around the rocks non stop finding things to eat. It was a beautiful day with full sun and mild temps, hardly a breeze. Images taken on May 22, 2023.
It is that time of the year and I thought I would check to see if the Bobolinks are back at Retzer Nature Center. There were about 9 of them, they were giving nice views from a distance. Males were chasing around some females. These are interesting birds to follow as they move to different spots, the males calling to the females. There is no sense in trying to figure out where they will land next. I stood at one location and they once in a while landed near me for a couple of photos. Always fun to watch these birds. It was a sunny day with mild temps around 70 degrees. Images were taken on May 22, 2023.
My first birding stop of the day was the Fox River Sanctuary in Waukesha to see how the warbler action was. There were a few warblers present but they were all high up feeding. A flash of brilliant red caught my eyes, it was a male Scarlet Tanager. It was high in the tree tops when I found it. After a couple minutes of watching it, flew down to the river and perched on a tree branch that fell in the river. It sang for about 2 minutes in front of me at eye level and then flew back up in a big oak to do some more feeding. It was beautiful! It was a cloudy morning with low winds and mild temps around 60 degrees. Images were taken on May 13, 2023.
With all the excitement at Sheridan Park with the Flame-colored Tanager there was also something going on nearby at South Shore Park in Bayview. 3 Willets were present getting things to eat and I’m sure also a rest stop in their trip flying north to their breeding grounds. Always nice to see this species around the 1st of May. It was a dark cloudy day and stiff winds off the lake from the east with temps around 38 degrees. Images were taken on April 30, 2023.
After reading some reports late Saturday night of Western Tanager reported that was misidentified and now was considered a Flame-colored Tanager sounded very exciting. From what I heard this species had only been reported a couple times in the south western US, Arizona and Texas so it is so very far out of it’s normal range. This bird lives in Mexico. The location was Sheridan Park so getting down there at sun up seemed like the thing to do. Could it still be there the next day? It was! After walking the bluff at the park with a few other birder for 1 1/2 hours the female bird was re-found. It gave nice views eating gnats along the bluff in trees looking down. What a big event! Life bird 373 for my Wisconsin list! It was a dark cloudy day and stiff winds off the lake from the east, temps around 38 degrees. Images were taken on April 30, 2023.
One of my birding stops today provided nice views of a Ross’s Goose in one of the fields at Veterans Park. It was hanging with about 15 Canada Geese feeding on the lawn area. I did not come across any other birds to note at my morning stops, just normal species we see this time of year. It was a nice morning out with some sun, low winds and mild temps around 45 degrees. Images were taken on April 20, 2023
A Northern Mockingbird was reported at Grant Park yesterday April 17th. I decided to make the trip down there today to see if it was still present, it was. It put on a nice show moving around the beach picnic area and then on to the river outlet area, all in short grass. It was always looking and listening for food as it moved around the short grass areas. At one time it pulled out a night crawler just like an American Robin would and ate it. It tossed the worm around some killing it and then down it went. What a beautiful bird along with the day it was with temps around 50 degrees and full sun. A little wind at times, then it was cold. Images were taken on April 18, 2023.
One of my birding stops today provided nice views of an Eastern Screech Owl, gray morph. It was resting, its eyes were closed for the most part in a tree cavity. I only hung around for a moment. It was a sunny day with mild temps around 45 degrees, a pleasant morning to be out birding. Images were taken on March 27, 2023.
With birding still slow I stopped at a rookery that I have not been to for a few years to see if the Great Blue Herons had returned. Yes they did with about 10 birds and about 9 active nests. The birds were just standing on nests when I arrived at a distance. I did not see any repair work on the nests being done yet or herons bringing in branches to fix things up for the new season. Who knows when they arrived back, maybe it was just yesterday. I took a few photos and left as I did not want to disturb them as I’m sure they had things to do. They say a winter storm is coming! It was a beautiful sunny day with mild temps around 40, low winds. Images were taken on March 24, 2023.
My last birding stop of the day was to check on an old nest off a highway in Waukesha County. This nest was not used last year. Present was an adult Great Horned Owl which flew from the nest before I got a photo off and an owlet which of course stayed in the nest. This nest is very far off the highway so the photo is a distant shot. I hung around a while with hopes the adult would return with some food but even though it was warmer today, the wind made if feel still like winter, I did not hang around. Temps around 43 degrees, steady winds from the west, mostly sunny skies. Image was taken on March 20, 2023.
One on my birding stops this morning provided nice looks at a pair of Killdeer. They were mating or called the a cloacal kiss and finding a few things to eat too. I have one photo of the two birds mating. It was a nice morning with some filtered sun, low winds and mild temps around 35 degrees. Images were taken on March 8, 2023.
I saw another amazing birding event today in Delafield in Waukesha County. Sandhill Cranes painting themselves by preening mud on and into their feathers. They are known to do this to change their colors to blend in more with their surroundings at nesting time. It is said that iron oxide in the mud is a form of dye, they also said they turn gray again after they molt before migrating in the fall, makes perfect sense. Totally amazing to watch so I had to share some of this excitement with others. After painting, they walked to a nearby puddle and found a couple of things to eat. It was a nice sunny day with no wind and mild temps around 35. Images were taken on March 5, 2023.
I did a little birding in Waukesha County this morning and saw 5 Sandhill Cranes. Locations of the Sandhill Cranes were Brookfield and South Kettle Moraine. Two were in a marsh far off the road and 3 were closer at two other locations and I took a couple of photos. The birds seemed to be finding things to eat at all locations. A nice sunny morning out with no wind and temps around 32 degrees. Images were taken on February 28, 2023.
A stop at the Fox River in Waukesha provided nice views of a pair of Redhead Ducks. The male and female centrally located themselves in the middle of the river with pedestrian traffic and dog walkers but it was nice to see a new species of duck there. A few times they found a few things to eat to diving. A beautiful morning with plenty of sunshine, no wind and pleasant temps around 32 degrees early. Images were taken on February 26, 2023.
One of my birding stops today was Greenfield Park. Not much has been going on there but I saw a flock of Mallards land in on a little open water so I thought I would take a closer look. One beautiful looking male Wood Duck was in the flock swimming around with the Mallards. The Wood Duck seemed to be hanging with a female Mallard. Starting to look like a few birds are coming north. Also I had nice looks at a Red-winged Blackbird. It was cloudy, no wind, nice temps around 43 degrees. Images were taken on February 20, 2023.
Word was out that the Mandarin Duck that was seen last December and early January had returned to South Shore Yacht Club in Milwaukee this morning. If it is the same duck, probably is, it was hiding somewhere else for about the last month. Anyways it put on a nice show this morning and followed a female Mallard around while I was there. It will be interesting if it hangs around. This bird is not a wild bird and considered an escapee, still fun to see. It was a sunny morning but very cold with a good wind out of the north early morning. Images were taken on February 10, 2023.