Warblers at Whitnall Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on May 22, 2017

Stopping at Whitnall Park this morning provided some nice views of some stunning warblers. The hardest to locate today was the Mourning Warbler, you can assume it is around as it had been seen, but showed itself the least. On a few occasions it came out of the log jam and I captured a few shots, but the shows were very short lived and it was usually on the move getting gnats. A Gray Catbird chased it out of the area a few times from the log jam, but it soon returned after a while as it popped out again from the sticks and logs. Other warblers species seen were Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Blackpoll, American Redstart, Wilson’s and Canadas. One is always hoping for more species, but this was fun and for the most part there were numerous of each species. It was a fun time with great birds and friends! Some sun but mostly cloudy skies with mild temps. Images were taken on May 21-22, 2017.

Mourning Warbler, male

Wilson’s Warbler, male

Canada Warbler, male

Mourning Warbler, male

Chestnut-sided Warbler, female

Wilson’s Warbler, male

Mourning Warbler, male

Canada Warbler, male

Magnolia Warbler, female

Canada Warbler, male

Wilson’s Warbler, male

Blackpoll Warbler, male

American Redstart, male

American Redstart, male

American Redstart, male

Wilson’s Warbler, male

Canada Warbler, male

Chestnut-sided Warbler, female

Mourning Warbler, male

Mourning Warbler, male

Chestnut-sided Warbler, female

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Greater White-fronted Goose at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin on May 19, 2017

While checking the beaches early this morning about 6:30 am, I was very surprised to find a Greater White-fronted Goose hanging with some Canada Geese. Watching it for awhile, it appeared to be lost or acting like is this the right place, seriously! Anyways it strolled along with the Canada Geese, where they went it went along. This bird is considered rare for this date at this location. Other birds to note, 2 Common Terns and what I think is a 2nd cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull. I wonder if the strong northeast winds had something to do goose and gull being here. It was a cold morning, cloudy with 41 degrees. I actually wore my winter coat, scarf, and winter hat and it was still chilly. I guess in Wisconsin you just can’t put those items away too early. Images were taken on May 19, 2017.

NOTE: A bird that should be in Alaska or far northern Canada breeding!

The look it gave, like where am I?

The drink…

The look it gave, like where am I?

Baltimore Oriole eating caterpillars on a blooming tree at Lake Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin May 16, 2017

On a walk through Lake Park this morning in Milwaukee I was greeted with a male Baltimore Oriole eating caterpillars on a beautiful blooming tree. I observed this for about a minute with calling in between the feeding. Moments later a female Baltimore Oriole flew by the tree and off they went. This took place near the lighthouse. What a treat! Images were taken on May 16, 2017.

The call…

Sneaking around on the tree looking for caterpillars…

Sneaking around on the tree looking for caterpillars…

With a caterpillar in the beak…

The call…

Looking around…

With a caterpillar…

The call…

Looking…

Eastern Kingbird eating Sumac berries at Lake Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on May 16, 2017

I came across a pair of Eastern Kingbirds today eating sumac berries at Lake Park in Milwaukee. Some Gray Catbirds enjoyed the berries too along with some American Robins. These few Sumac plants at the park have been a food source for some many bird species this year it is amazing. It looked like to me these plants have plenty of food remaining on them too. Just part of a fun day out birding looking for warblers which there were some all over, but hard to get the list real big on the species you would expect to see this time of year. A cool start to the day but come noon it was hot out with good winds from the south. Mostly sunny skies, high was around 88 degrees. Images were taken on May 16, 2017.

Eastern Kingbird with a sumac berry…

Eastern Kingbird

Binomial name: Tyrannus tyrannus

Category: Tyrant Flycatchers

Size: 8.5” long, 15” wing span

Weight: 1.4 oz

Getting something good here…

Just posing…

Stabilizing after a gust of wind…

Gulp!

Maybe the most common pose we see the Eastern Kingbird in…

 

Warblers at Whitnall Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on May 11, 2017

I had been stopping at numerous warbler locations this week getting ready for the big surge of warblers and it really has not happened yet. I stopped at Whitnall Park and there was some nice warbler action but only a few species. Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Black-and-white, Yellow-rumped, Palm and Prothonotary which I did a blog post on yesterday. Here are a few images I captured while this burst lasted as today, the 12th of May, a warbler could hardly be found. Where are they all some ask? I think they are still coming. These images were taken on May 11, 2017 on a beautiful day with great friends too!

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Palm Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird

Prothonotary Warbler at Whitnall Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on May 11, 2017

My first stop this morning was Whitnall Park hoping for some warblers. It seems like it takes forever for good numbers to arrive. One of the first warblers seen this morning was a Prothonotary, male. It was a stunning bird and gave nice views most of the morning. I have seen them in the past but this one put on some nice shows feeding. Other warblers present, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Black-and-White, Yellow-rumped, American Redstart, and some Palms. Other birds to note, White-eyed and Blue-headed Vireos. It was a fun day out with friends and meeting some new ones too! Finally, a mild day with warmer temps and mostly sunny skies, no wind there. Images were taken on May 11, 2017.

Singing away this morning…

Going for a gnat!

Getting the gnat!

Looking for the next gnat…

Looking around for a gnat…

Going for a gnat!

Glossy Ibis at the Horicon Marsh in Dodge County Wisconsin on May 7, 2017

I saw the report of the Glossy Ibis along with 3 White-faced Ibis at the Horicon Marsh yesterday evening. I made the run up and after awhile with other birders all 4 were located south of Hwy 49 and west of the pump house. They all gave distant views and flew to a few different locations in the area but always stayed pretty far from the road. They continually appeared to find things to eat in the marsh cattail areas. A life bird for me and a beautiful rare one at that. With 8 years birding in, nice to finally get this one. Not sure who found these birds, but thank you for getting the word out for others. There were 19 cars lined up along 49 just one time when I counted. It was a fun time too with some good birder and photography friends! Images were taken on May 7, 2017.

Glossy Ibis in flight…

Glossy Ibis

Binomial name: Plegadis falcinellus

Category: Ibises and Spoonbills

Size: 23” long, 36” wing span

Weight: 1.2 lb

White-faced Ibis on left, note white border around reddish face — Glossy Ibis on the right

Glossy Ibis, note NO white border around reddish face

White-faced Ibis

White-faced Ibis, note white border around reddish face

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at Lake Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on May 5, 2017

A stop at Lake Park in Milwaukee this morning gave nice views of many Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. One was cooperative for the camera while preening and hanging out. The Red-headed Woodpeckers are still hanging around near the lighthouse and the FOY Baltimore Oriole sang high up in a tree in that area too, to mention a few highlights. A few Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers were also seen. A Wild Turkey also hung out near the bird feeder. Pretty quiet for the beginning of May but it felt like winter weather with a stiff wind off the with 41 degrees early in the day. Images were taken on May 5, 2017.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Binomial name: Polioptila caerulea

Category: Gnatcatchers and Gnatwrens

Size: 4.5” long, 6” wing span

Weight: .21 oz

Preening

Stretching

Scratching

More scratching

Preening

Wild Turkey near the bird feeder

Sanderling at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin on May 3, 2017

One of my first stops of the morning on the Milwaukee Lakefront gave nice views of a Sanderling at McKinley Beach. Just one hanging around grabbing a few things to eat in between some of the small waves. So few shorebirds this year, maybe they are still coming. Images were taken on May 3, 2017.

Grasshopper Sparrow at the Magic Hedge in Milwaukee Wisconsin on May 3, 2017

I hit the lakefront in Milwaukee early this morning and the bird of the day I guess was this one. It actually had 4 different names today, coming from the “Magic Hedge”, who knows I guess, but it is a Grasshopper Sparrow. It gave very brief views for about 10 seconds and that was it. Other birders were right next to me but just did not see it. Images were taken on May 3, 2017.

Back view…

Piping Plovers on Milwaukee’s Lakefront on May 2, 2017

A quick stop this morning on Milwaukee’s lakefront to see if the Piping Plovers were present proved worth it. The Piping Plovers were present and gave nice views for the few minutes I was there. They were at the location where they were found yesterday. The 2 of them moved around on the beach picking up insects, etc to eat.  While I was there a gust of wind came up and the birds just toughed it out facing the strong wind with sand in their faces! Exciting birds on a overcast, windy, and cold day! Images were taken on May 2, 2017.

Getting the insect…

With an insect…

Getting the insect…

Then there were two..

Toughing it out in the blowing sand!

With an insect…

With an insect in the blowing sand…

Le Conte’s Sparrow at the Magic Hedge in Milwaukee Wisconsin on May 2, 2017

I hit the Lakefront in Milwaukee early this morning to see it the Piping Plovers were still present at Bradford Beach. While photographing them I received a text from Mark K that he had just found a Le Conte’s Sparrow at the Magic Hedge. I was only a couple blocks away and away I went.  I found the beautiful Le Conte’s Sparrow after about 10 minutes on the ground sifting through low ground cover getting gnats. The bird remained in about a 50′ section of the hedge  while I was there. The bird briefly perched twice giving pretty nice views. The rest of the time it worked the ground cover and leaves for gnats and was hard to see at times. At times the bird would be still and not move for up to 5 minutes. This bird I have struggled with to get on my life list for the last 8 years. Crazy enough, Mark and I were just talking about this bird yesterday as one I needed for my life list! What a stunning bird. It was another overcast day, chilly, and winds from the SE but a very exciting one at that. About all I can say is the images show pretty much of what took place at the Magic Hedge today. Images were taken on May 2, 2017.

Le Conte’s Sparrow

Binomial name: Ammodramus leconteii

Category: Emberizids

Size: 5” long, 6.5” wing span

Weight: .46 oz

Going for a gnat…

With a gnat in the beak…

Always looking for gnats…

With a gnat in the beak…

With a gnat in the beak…

The Bonaparte’s Gull in migration at Grant Park on Lake Michigan in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on May 1, 2017

I hit Grant Park this morning with hopes to see some shorebirds. There were no shorebirds present but the Bonaparte’s Gull numbers were very impressive way out on the water. Only one time did one land on the beach when I was there. For the most part they were either moving north, sometimes south, and sometimes they would land for resting and feeding. Literally 1,000’s and 1,000’s of them what a treat to see! It would have been nice to have a different lens for this type of photography to get a better picture of the mass of gulls there were as it went as far as I could see north and south on the lake. It was a pleasant morning for a few hours but rain is on it’s way again. Images were taken on May 1, 2017.

One on the beach was it…

Some gulls were flying, some feeding and some resting…

Note the line of gulls on the horizon went on for as far as you could see in both directions

2-Bonaparte’s Gulls, adult in breeding plumage, 1 – 1st winter, correct me if I’m wrong.

Marbled Godwits, Willets, American Avocets, and a Black-bellied Plover at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on April 30, 2017

On a gloomy morning I decided to head into Milwaukee to check out some of the beaches. My first stop was Lakeshore State Park. Jym M must have had the same idea as we pulled in together. We enjoyed some nice views of 4 American Avocets and 10 Willets. I left and check some other beaches in the area with nothing happening. I headed back to Lakeshore State Park and 2 Marbled Godwits, a Black-bellied Plover had joined in and Willets were up to 20. These birds put on a great show! They moved around being flushed by walkers and joggers but stayed on the island. With the horrible weather of 41 degrees and light rain, some wind, a few birders along with myself enjoyed the great show these birds put on. Images were taken on April 30, 2017.

Marbled Godwit

Marbled Godwit

Binomial name: Limosa fedoa

Category: Sandpipers, Phalaropes, and Allies

Size: 18” long, 30” wing span

Weight: 13 oz

Marbled Godwit

Marbled Godwits

American Avocets, Willets and a Marbled Godwit

Willets incoming with a Marbled Godwit

Willets incoming with a Marbled Godwit

Marbled Godwits along with 3 Willets

Marbled Godwit with a Willet

Marbled Godwit with a Willet

2 Marbled Godwits, 4 American Avocets and 5 Willets…

3 Willets along with a Marbled Godwit

Black-bellied Plover

Marbled Godwit looking for food

Marbled Godwits along with 3 Willets

Marbled Godwit preening

A call…

Across the water they go…

Walk don’t run…

The Willets

Incoming Willet!

After a short flight…

It is just how we all come in…

American Avocets

With a worm…

American Avocets at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on April 29, 2017

Birding along the lakefront in Milwaukee this morning the prize birds were the 2 stunning American Avocets. A male and a female were present at the beach area. I was near the park when the report came in that they were there. The birds appeared to be skittish when I arrived with dog walkers and joggers but gave some nice views anyways. They mostly rested while I was present. Been waiting for these to show up and thought we had missed them as they have been reported all over in the last couple of weeks. I did not hang around too long with the cold winds off the lake made it feel like winter. Thanks to John M for finding this bird and Mike W for helping get the word out. Light sun started they morning but gave way to clouds with temps at a cold 41 degrees with winds to 15 mph. I saw continued reports that the birds were still being seen at 1:30 pm. Images were taken on April 29, 2017.

American Avocet

Binomial name: Recurvirostra americana

Category: Stilts and Avocets

Size: 18” long, 31” wing span

Weight: 11 oz

Note: From what birders say, these birds are called one-day-wonders as they usually only hang around for one day when seen in migration.

Note: Both sexes are here. You can distinguish the sex of the American Avocet by the curve on the bill. Greater the curve of these two birds is the female.

Male

Male

Female

Swimming offshore

Something to eat…

Looking for something to eat

Some preening

Open wide…

When I arrived, female on right, male on left. Notice bill curve is greater on right bird making it a female.

One side of the beach to the other with some walkers coming around…

Coming in for a landing…female bird in front

Female, greater curve on bill

Male

Preening

More preening

Close up..

Still shot…

One feeding

Keeping a watch…

American Bittern at Oak Creek in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on April 20, 2017

As an American Bittern was reported between Oakwood Road and Ryan Road on Pennsylvania Ave. yesterday in Oak Creek. I thought I would give it a try later this morning. The bird was present in a ditch off the road. Even though this bird was a different color than the surroundings it was in, sometimes I saw it, sometimes I did not. It was an amazing situation as it just blended in, did not look like a bird sometimes with the angle I was at. It stood motionless when I saw it in the couple of passes I made, but gave nice looks for a couple photos. There was a lot of traffic on Pennsylvania Ave. and my stop times were very short. After a few minutes a few cars stopped to see what I was up to, and the bird walked into the brush on the side of the road, but it was still visible. I have struggled to get images of this bird over the years as I have not seen them. I did get a flight shot last year of one at Horicon Marsh but that was it. Thanks to Dave M for finding this bird and getting the word out yesterday. It was a cold day with mostly cloudy skies and winds off the lake, it did not feel at all like spring. Images were taken on April 20, 2017.

American Bittern

Binomial name: Botaurus lentiginosus

Category: Bitterns, Herons, and Allies

Size: 28” long, 42” wing span

Weight: 1.5 lb

Cool Fact: Bitterns are stealthy in a way that they typically stand motionless as they wait for prey to approach or stalk prey with barely perceptible motions.

In the brush…

 

Pied-billed Grebe at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on April 19, 2017

One of my last birding stops of the day was at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee. Not a whole lot going on there but a Pied-billed Grebe gave some nice views. There were a few others present but they stayed farther out in the lagoon. The Pied-billed Grebe was fishing and getting something to eat too on a very gloomy day with temps in the low 50’s. Images were taken on April 19, 2017.

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Pied-billed Grebe

Binomial name: Podilymbus podiceps

Category: Grebes

Size: 13” long, 16” wing span

Weight: 1 lb

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Brown Thrasher Sheridan Park

Brown Thrasher Sheridan Park

Great Egret one of 6 on Pennsylvania Ave

Great Egret, one of 6 on Pennsylvania Ave out in a flooded field

Black-crowned Night-Herons at Veterans Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on April 14, 2017

Doing some birding along the lakefront in Milwaukee today, Bruce and I stopped to check out if the Black-crowned Night-Herons were still by the lagoon, as they were yesterday. They were, but only 3 as 4 were seen yesterday. I’m sure the other one is around. One did a little preening but that was about it for action. Beautiful birds always sitting high in the trees. It will be interesting to see how long the hang around. A little nice day than yesterday to get a couple shots off. Images were taken on April 14, 2017.

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Black-crowned Night-Heron

Binomial name: Nycticorax nycticorax

Category: Bitterns, Herons, and Allies

Size: 25” long, 44” wing span

Weight: 1.9 lb

In flight

In flight

One doing a little preening

Doing a little preening

 

Hermit Thrush eating Sumac seeds at Lake Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on April 13, 2017

While birding Lake Park in Milwaukee I came across a couple of Hermit Thrushes eating Sumac seeds off a tree. I photographed the same species eating seeds at the exact location a couple of years ago, interesting. It was a gloomy day with a cold breeze off the lake. Images were taken on April 13, 2017.

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Hermit Thrush

Binomial name: Catharus guttatus

Category: Hawks, Kites, Eagles, and Allies

Size: 6.75” long, 11.5” wing span

Weight: 1.1 oz

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Eastern Towhee at Lake Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on April 13, 2017

Birding along the lakefront in Milwaukee this morning one of the highlights was a FOY Eastern Towhee, male at Lake Park. It was a pretty gloomy day and cool. Other birds to note, a lot of Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets and still a few Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. Images were taken on April 13, 2017.

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Eastern Towhee

Binomial name: Pipilo erythrophthalmus

Category: emberizids

Size: 8.5” long, 10.5” wing span

Weight: 1.4 oz

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