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

Wild Cloumbine

Red Trillium

Wild Geranium

Jacobs Ladder

Foamflower

Wild Blue Phlox

Wild Geranium

Large Flowered Trillium

Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Golden Alexanders

Red Trillium

Cream False Indigo

Large Flowered Trillium

Mayapple

Wild Geranium

 

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 them 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…

Great Horned Owl with Owlets in Southeastern Wisconsin on April 27, 2018

While out birding this morning along the lakefront in Milwaukee I received a call from Bruce that he had and was photographing a Great Horned Owl with 3 owlets. Birding was a little slow along the lakefront where I was with nothing really going on so I made the drive to check these cuties out. When I arrived there were 3 owlets in a row on one limb. The adult female stopped in a couple times to check on the little ones but did not hang around. I’m not sure how old these owlets are but I’m sure they will be flying some soon and spreading out in the tree some too. It was a nice opportunity to see the first owlets of the spring. It was a bright sunny day with little wind but chilly at first. A thank you to Bruce for the call this morning. Images were taken on April 27, 2018.

The 3 Great Horned Owl owlets…

The one on the right is looking at the adult female off in a tree…

Great Horned Owl, adult female off a ways in a tree…

Great Horned Owl, adult female…

Just a pair cuddled up…

Red-throated Loon in Breeding Plumage at McKinley Marina on April 20, 2018

Birding along the lakefront in Milwaukee today I ran into John Miller who in talking had never seen a Horned Grebe. I said I had seen 3 at McKinley Marina on the about an hour ago. We were at Lake Park and it was quiet so we meet over at the McKinley Marina. We walked out the concrete pier about a 1/4  mile with not much seen other than the Long-tailed Duck which was not close, male which was still hanging around. On our way back to our cars I spotted a couple of Horned Grebes. John started photographing them. While he was busy doing that I used my bins and checked out north of the big pier. I spotted what I thought was loon out quiet a ways. I knew this was a loon I had never seen before, I thought OMG, it is a Red-throated Loon nearing full breeding plumage. It dove 5 times and stayed under for long periods of time. Each time it surfaced, it was a couple hundred feet more out in the lake until it was pretty much hard to make out anymore details. I never thought I would have ever seen one of these as we typically see the none breeding plumage Red-throated Loons, it must be the weather! A fun time out which started out slow. Still present at the marina, 100 Bonaparte’s Gulls, Long-tailed Duck, adult male, and noticed a nice raft of about 25 Ruddy Ducks near Bradford Beach. Finally a gorgeous day out with plenty of sun, felt like 60 and no wind.  It has been along time since I could go with out my snow boots and winter coat, how sweet! Images were taken on April 20, 2018.

Great Egrets at Humboldt Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on April 19, 2018

One of my birding stops today was at Humboldt Park in Milwaukee. There have been a couple of Great Egrets hanging around there and they were still present today. They did a little fishing but for the most part remained perched in some trees on one of the islands there. A nice stop over for them there as they won’t be around long. Along with the Great Egrets, a few Red-breasted Mergansers, Blue-winged Teal and Mallards were present. A nicer day than what we have had in the past with some sun and temps near 40 degrees. Images were taken on April 19, 2018.

The beauty of two Great Egrets looking for a place to perch…

Fishing

More fishing…

A flyby…

Perched on an island…

Focused on the next meal…

Ruddy Ducks on the Fox River in Waukesha on April 18, 2018

My first stop of the day was in downtown Waukesha at the Fox River just north of the dam. Four Ruddy Ducks, 3 males and one female have been hanging around the last couple of days. They were moving around a lot and at times would be following the female around. They dove a little at times feeding.  A Common Loon was also present but remained in the middle of the river to the north. It stayed low in the water the time I was there as once in awhile Mallards and Ring-billed Gulls harassed it lightly. It did do a little feeding at times. A mostly cloudy day with a stiff wind from the northwest temps around 30 degrees, still felt like winter with 5″ of snow on the ground. Images were taken on April 18, 2018.

Ruddy Duck, the stunning male with it’s blue bill in breeding plumage…

Ruddy Duck

Binomial name: Oxyura jamaicensis

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Size: 15” long, 18.5” wingspan

Weight: 1.2 Lb

Ruddy Duck, female

Ruddy Ducks, male front and female

Ruddy Ducks, the males chasing the female…

Tail up, sign of courtship display…

The mouth open…

Pair of males…

Coming in to shore following the female…

Full speed ahead following the female…

Caspian Terns at Bradford Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin on April 18, 2018

Birding along the Milwaukee lakefront I found my first Caspian Terns of the year. From the parking lot I saw 3 on the beach nearby a flock of Ring-billed Gulls. When I got on the beach area, 1 lone tern was present as pedestrians were in the area and must have flushed the other 2 birds. The bird took to the sky twice as I stood at a distance and observed. Only new birds for the year I saw today. A cloudy day, still cold around 30 degrees with the wind out of the north with more snow expected. Images were taken on April 18, 2018.

Caspian Tern

In flight…

Northern Flickers eating Staghorn Sumac seeds at Lake Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on April 17, 2018

While birding Lake Park in Milwaukee one of the highlights was watching the Northern Flickers, yellow-shafted feeding on a couple of clumps of Staghorn Sumac plantings in a ravine. 3 or 4 different Northern Flickers hit these plants hard for seeds probably with anticipated snow coming and the ground having 4″-5″ of fresh snow down now. I have never seen Northern Flickers on sumac before. Very many American Robins and Black-capped Chickadees hit these plants hard too while I was there, even a brief stop by a pair of Eastern Bluebirds even checked out the seeds but did not stay. I think of the different species of birds that have hit these plants over the years is amazing, and this is just a couple of plants I am sort of watching. It was a cloud day with brief sunlight, cold temps around 30 degrees and winds off the lake, made for a cold day out there. Images were taken on April 17, 2018.

Northern Flicker, Yellow-shafted

Binomial name: Colaptes auratus

Category: Woodpeckers and Allies

Size: 12.5” long, 20” wingspan

Weight: 4.6 Oz

American Woodcock Foraging at Lake Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on April 17, 2018

One of my birding stops today was Lake Park in Milwaukee. As I stood on a ravine top, out of the corner of my eye a bird flew up from below and landed a couple hundred feet away. I knew this was a new bird to the area.  From a distance it actually looked like a large hummingbird flying up. Well, I knew it was not that, but in a minute I knew it was an American Woodcock. I knew I was not going to be chasing this bird around the park. Walking around the park some more I noticed movement in a ravine off a bridge. It was a couple of the American Woodcocks foraging in open running water in the ravine probing down deep with their long bills. One took to the higher ground on the side of a ravine and walked around some but ended up back near the bottom of the ravine. This one foraged near rocks and an old stump thinking it was finding things to eat. I thought it was all pretty exciting, the whole show these 2 birds put on. A total of 4 birds seen, the other 2 were up the ravine just foraging and resting.  A nice day to be out, some sun, a good wind, still felt like winter with temps in the mid 30’s. Images were taken on April 17, 2018.

A short flight here…

American Woodcock

Binomial name: Scolopax minor

Category: Sandpipers, Phalaropes, and Allies

Size: 11” long, 18” wingspan

Weight: 7 Oz

The walk..

Foraging

Mud on the bill from probing…

Foraging

Foraging

Foraging

Foraging at the base of a rock….

Foraging on a ravine slope…

Foraging at the bottom of a ravine in the running water…

Foraging at the bottom of a ravine in the running water…

Foraging at the bottom of a ravine in the running water…

Bonaparte’s Gulls at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin on April 16, 2018

Stopping at McKinley Beach this morning gave nice views of Bonaparte’s Gulls feeding in the wave action hitting the shore. We see them for a very short time in spring in migration so I tried to capture some of what they do while they make brief stops in the area heading north. It was a light snow flurry day with cool temps and still winter coat weather even though it is mid April with good snow on the ground. Images were taken on April 16, 2018

Bonaparte’s Gulls lined up along the wave action on the shoreline finding things to eat…

Something to eat in the bill….

Watching and waiting for the next piece of food….

Just waiting for the sight of food…

Feeding on the wave…

It’s a matter of survival, in search of food, it’s all eyes…

Looking and waiting for food…has something on the left…

One on the left has something…

On shore, did some preening….

Something in the bill…

Trying to balance here…

Just flew in…

It is all about getting something to eat…

Just flew in…

Got something to eat here..

Reaching for something….