House Finches eating apples in the tree on the Milwaukee Lakefront on October 17, 2017

Birding along the lake this morning was quiet for the most part. McKinley Beach had 3 Sanderlings. These numbers seem to change daily there at that beach. Lakeshore State Park still had the Redhead Duck and 2 Pied-billed Grebes along with many American Coots and Double-crested Cormorants. A few American Shovelers still hanging out. The Black Scoters were still present off of North Point. I ran into Bruce along the Milwaukee Lakefront, he had found some House Finches eating apples in a tree and I took a few images to share of the event. I have never saw this feeding before but it is probably normal. A beautiful fall day with plenty of sunshine, nice temps but did have some wind gusts. Images were taken on October 17, 2017.

House Finch, male with an apple…

House Finch

Binomial name: Carpodacus mexicanus

Category: Fringilline and Cardueline Finches and Allies

Size: 6” long, 9.5” wing span

Weight:  .74 Oz.

Digging in…

House Finch, female with apple in the bill…

House Finch, male enjoying some apple…

House Finch, female enjoying some apple…

House Finch, female getting the good stuff!

House Finch, female with apple in the bill…

House Finch, male enjoying some apple…

House Finch, male, getting way in there!

House Finch, female getting that peeling!

Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on October 15, 2017

A stop at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee provided nice views of both the Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs. A total of 4 Greaters and 1 Lesser. When I arrive early about 7:15, just the 4 Greaters were present. After a few minutes the Lesser Yellowlegs showed up. They look tired as they probably just had put on some miles. They did next to no feeding while I was there and just rested. It was a cool morning, overcast with some strong west winds. Also present at Lakeshore State park provided brief view of a thinking now, a Common Snipe by the looks of the distant image, not a American Woodcock as first thought as it flushed while I walked the path and it just went way up and headed north, also an American Kestrel which I have not seen for awhile. Another lakefront beach, McKinley had 12 Sanderlings, and the Black Scoters were still present off North Point that Tom W reported yesterday. Images were taken on October 15, 2017.

Greater Yellowlegs

Greater Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs in front with Greater behind

Lesser Yellowlegs in front with Greater behind

Greater Yellowlegs riding the waves…

Lesser Yellowlegs on the right, I thought it was feeding but appeared to be playing with this item…

Greater Yellowlegs moving along the beach area…

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs, I thought it was feeding but appeared to be playing with this item…

Lesser Yellowlegs in front…

Lesser Yellowlegs

2 Greater Yellowlegs

Eyes closed, resting…

Greater Yellowlegs, the double…

Greater Yellowlegs…

Lapland Longspur at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin on October 10, 2017

A stop at McKinley Beach this morning in Milwaukee provided nice views of a Lapland Longspur. It seemed to be hanging with a couple of Killdeer. It continually feed in a short grass near the beach area eating seeds and then moved to a parking area. That is where the Killdeer went and so did it. The Killdeer just acted like it was a bitter cold day and did nothing, just stood there. The Lapland Longspur feed still eating seeds along cracks in the parking area and where weeds grown in cracks that held presumably a seed bank. A nice surprise to see this bird this morning but then we do see them this time of year along the lake, just once in awhile. No other unusual birds to note this morning along that part of the lakefront. A cold morning out with stiff winds from the northwest, very little sun with temps around 50. Interesting, first saw them last year at Lakeshore State Park on October 15. FOF winter hat, winter coat along with a scarf! Images were taken on October 10, 2017.

Finding seeds to eat along weed filled cracks in the parking area…

Lapland Longspur

Binomial name: Calcarius lapponicus

Category: Lapwings and Plovers

Size: 6.25” long, 11.5” wing span

Weight: 0.95 oz

Cool facts: This common bird breeds in the Arctic tundra, and winters in open fields across most of the United States and southern Canada.

Finding weed seeds…

Finding more weed seeds…

Finding seeds in the grass to eat…

Finding seeds…

To the ground for seeds…

In the short grass area…

Franklin’s Gull at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin on October 8, 2017

I made a stop at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee for a first stop checking the beach area this morning. The beach was quiet. I ran into Dave G there and I said I was heading to McKinley Beach, he said he was there earlier this morning and it was empty. Since I was at the lakefront I made the drive over and within a flock of about 25 Ring-billed Gulls I saw a gull with a light black head. I knew this was going to be something good and it was, a Franklin’s Gull, juvenile (1st cycle). Dave followed me over he also got few shots off before the gull took to the air and headed south for what appeared to be no apparent reason. The gull was just preening so it makes sense what the gull had in mind I think. It was a short lived burst of excitement in the birding world as we just don’t see Franklin’s along the lake very often. The highlight of the day with not much else to report along the north side of Milwaukee’s lakefront. It was a gorgeous day with full sun, mild temps and very little wind. Images were taken on October 8, 2017.

Franklin’s Gull

Binomial name: Larus pipixcan

Category: Gulls, Terns and Skimmers

Size: 14.5” long, 36” wing span

Weight: 10 oz

Stretching before the flight…

Some preening…

Franklin’s Gull, left – Ring-billed Gull, right

The back view..

Sanderlings at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin on October 6, 2017

A stop at McKinley Beach this morning in Milwaukee gave brief views of 8 Sanderlings feeding pretty much non-stop. Also present were the commonly seen Ring-billed Gulls at this location. After only a couple minutes a dog approached the area and all the birds flushed with the Sanderlings heading south. Other birds to note along the local lakefront were many Double-crested Cormorants everywhere, and ~ a dozen Northern Shovelers, and a Ruddy Duck being at Lakeshore State Park. It was a overcast morning with mild temps around 58 degrees with some steady winds and waves off the lake. Images were taken on October 6, 2017.

Sanderling with a bite to eat…

Sanderlings feeding along the beach bank…

Sanderlings feeding along the beach with Ring-billed Gulls

Moving along the beach with waves rolling in…

Along the beach they go…

Trying to avoid the waves…

Shaking it off!

Size comparison image with a Ring-billed Gull and a Sanderling…

Some preening

More preening

Scratching…

Coming towards me…

In the wave…

Out of the wave action…

Just waiting for the sight of something to eat…

Great Blue Heron feeding moments at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on September 22, 2017

A Great Blue Heron was seriously fishing this morning at Greenfield Park putting on a great show while I watched from a distance. This young bird ate and ate with very few misses and twice captured 2 Flathead minnows at once while I was there. It eyed some of its food from a short distance and gave striking moves to capture its morning food, but sometimes just waited for the next small fish to swim by, then the capture. Other birds present at the park were just the typical birds that have been hanging around recent weeks. It was a nice morning to be out, with low winds, full sun and warm temps. Images were taken on September 22, 2017.

Catching a pair!

Stealth mode, looking for the next catch with a drip!

The catch!

The drop…..

Stealth mode times 2…

Another catch!

Great Blue Heron with a Flathead Minnow

The heron sees something a short distance away…

Gulp!

Got it!

Another pair of Flathead Minnows!

Shaking the head with the tongue out, I have seen this before…

Another small catch…

Black-bellied Plover at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on September 15, 2017

Heading down to the lakefront in Milwaukee this morning my first stop was Lakeshore State Park. A Black-bellied Plover, juvenile was present at the beach area. The Black-bellied Plover feed back and forth on the beach. Also present was the first Northern Shoveler for the fall at the park. It was a female generally hanging out with some Mallards. McKinley Beach had one lone Killdeer. I decided it was time to make a check at the “Magic Hedge”, about 15 Palm Warblers were present feeding along the fence to the north. A nice morning to be out with light overcast skies, light breeze and warm temps doing a little birding. Images were taken on Septemeber 15, 2017.

Coming in for a landing at the beach area

Black-bellied Plover

Binomial name: Pluvialis squatarola

Category: Lapwings and Plovers

Size: 11.5” long, 29” wing span

Weight: 8 Oz.

Habitat: Breeding habitat is lowlands on dry Arctic tundra. They spend their winters on beaches and estuarine mudflats. They sometimes are found in flooded fields, agricultural lands, meadows near coasts or inland waters.

Diet: On their breeding grounds, main food source is insects. Their wintering habitat provides worms, bivalves and crustaceans.

Nesting: They prefer a raised area for nesting for good visibility. Nest is a shallow depression made by the male and finished by the female as her job is lining it with pebbles, grass, twigs, lichens and moss. 3-4 eggs are usually laid, one brood per season, both parents incubate them. Within 12 hours, the chicks are usually able to forage and both parents care for them.

Walking the beach and feeding along the way…

Getting a drink…

Feeding…

With all the gnats…and a feather along side…

Something to eat in the bill

Something to eat…

Something to eat…

A little stretch here…

With something to eat here…

Coming at me…

The profile

The catch…

The looking back shot…

Constantly moving and feeding along the beach…

Incoming..

 

Sanderlings and Semipalmated Sandpipers at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin on September 10, 2017

A brief stop at the McKinley Beach this morning provided nice views of 2 Sanderlings and 2 Semipalmated Sandpipers. One of the Sanderlings was transitioning into nonbreeding plumage and still had some of its breeding plumage, an interesting look. The birds fed on the algae mat at the beach. Other than that the lakefront was pretty slow at Bradford Beach, Lakeshore State Park and the harbor. Images were taken on September 10, 2017.

Sanderling going into nonbreeding plumage from breeding plumage with a worm…

Sanderling in nonbreeding plumage

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Sanderling going into nonbreeding plumage

Sanderling going into nonbreeding plumage

Sanderling in nonbreeding plumage

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Sanderling nonbreeding plumage

Semipalmated Sandpiper

 

Sanderlings at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on September 3, 2017

A stop at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin provided some nice views of Sanderlings. They feed along the algae mat in the beach area. A stunning shorebird species close up that moved quickly along the beach area. Images were taken on September 3, 2017.

Sanderling chasing off another Sanderling in the area

What’s up…

Looking for something to eat…

On the move along the mat

Got something…

On the move with a little wind blowing

A little wave action here…

In search of something to eat…

Here is a bite…

Posing…

Herons at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on September 4, 2017

I stopped at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee this morning to see what was going on. A Black-crowned Night Heron, Green Herons and Great Blue Herons were present. They gave nice views, being the Black-crowned Night Heron and Great Blue Heron were immature, there was not much action. They just were perched looking and waiting near water something to come by to feed on. The Green Heron, the bluest Green Heron I have ever seen spent most of it’s time just hunting for food. The Great Blue Heron walked across the channel which was interesting. A cloudy morning, with mild temps made for a nice day out. Images were taken on September 4, 2017.

Black-crowned Night Heron, immature…

Black-crowned Night Heron looking

Black-crowned Night Heron finding something

Shaking off!

Getting a drink

Playing with a snail…

Green Heron, 1st summer and the bluest Green Heron I have ever seen. It has been around the park for most of the summer…

Green Heron on the look out…

Green Heron, enjoying the view…

Preening

Preening

Just perched

Stretching…

Great Blue Heron, crossing the channel, going down…

and down…

down…

The middle of the channel…

Going up…

Up…

 

Ruddy Turnstones at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin on September 3, 2017

My first stop this morning on Milwaukee’s lakefront was McKinley Beach. Guess there were at least 25 shorebirds. Mostly Sanderlings, a Least Sandpiper, and  few Semipalmated Plovers. Also present were 2 Ruddy Turnstones which are always exciting birds. They feed in the more stony areas of the beach turning over items on the beach such as mussels getting food. They were flushed often by walkers with and without dogs but held still a few times for photos. It  was a beautiful morning to be out with sunny skies and pleasant temps. Images were taken on September 3, 2017.

Ruddy Turnstone, juvenile on the move

Ruddy Turnstone

Binomial name: Arenaria interpres

Category: Sandpipers, Phalaropes, and Allies

Size: 9.5” long, 21” wing span

Weight: 3.9 oz

Ruddy Turnstone feeding on a mussel…

Ruddy Turnstone in a mussel and always turning things over…

Ruddy Turnstone with something to eat

Feeding in the water too….

Ruddy Turnstone feeding on mussels

Feeding

Ruddy Turnstone, juvenile

In search of food…

Northern Shoveler, maybe adult female

Ruddy Turnstone, Breeding adult plumage for comparison to fall plumage, taken in spring 2017. Image for reference only

Whooping Crane juveniles in training at Operation Migration at the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Wisconsin on August 31, 2017

The Whooping Crane juveniles, 7 of them, have been in training at the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area for the last couple of months. Viewing is now open to public. A birding friend of mine, Karen Schoenike reserved the blind and I was able join her for the big event today watching some of the training. We arrived very early in the morning meeting Doug Pellerin who took us out the blind after meeting Brooke Pennypacker and Colleen Chase at the gate. Colleen who has worked with these birds since hatching joined us in the blind after she released the birds from the pen.  The event started with the release of the birds, mingling by the pen, then they took to flight and landed numerous times. This was an amazing and fun event to witness in person, to watch these birds in action feeding, flying and hanging as a group like family. Doug and Colleen were great hosts. The eggs of these birds came from Necedah in April 2017, were flown out to Maryland, incubated, hatched ~June 24th, 2017 and flown back here for Operation Migration. Correct me if I am incorrect on any of this information. The morning started out with low cloud cover with temps at 50 degrees, breezes picked up after awhile, sun peek out once or twice. Photographing these birds are difficult from the blind as prairie grasses are reaching at least 6 feet tall now plus the birds are pretty distant. No adults were seen today. With that said, it was still a great experience today at Operation Migration! I hope the Whoopers have a successful flight to the south when it is their turn to migrate. Contact Doug Pellerin if you want any information on the blind use. Images were taken on August 31, 2017.

Opening of the pen for the young Whooping Cranes begin…

Puppet in hand with the Whooping Crane hood on…

The excitement builds and the birds come running out after the gate is opened…

They are anxious to be out for feeding and it is time to fly!

They start feeding in the field at first not to far from the pen…

They are moving out…

They take to the sky!

Up, up, and away, Colleen leaves the area, they will be on their own for hours now…

They are flying off in a distant but remain in the area…

They are up and away…

Circling around in a very big area…

More of the same…

They are heading towards us…

Not time to land yet, they are just passing by for another circle…

Coming in for a landing at the pen landing strip…

Doing some feeding after the first flight and hanging out…

They are headed to behind the pen to a pond and were out of view for awhile…

Time to takeoff again…

Up, up, and away…

View looking at the pen from standing in the blind…

Shorebirds at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on August 23, 2017

Stopping at a few locations this morning along the lake, Lakeshore State Park was the highlight with some beautiful shorebirds. The beach there gave nice views of the birds as they feed. Birds included a Least Sandpiper, mostly Semipalmated Sandpipers, a couple Semipalmated Plovers and a Sanderling. Images were taken on August 23, 2017.

Semipalmated Plover

Semipalmated Plover

Semipalmated Plover feeding

Least Sandpiper on the move…

Semipalmated Sandpiper, walk don’t run…

Semipalmated Sandpiper in search of food…

Semipalmated Sandpiper feeding

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper with the feathers blowing in the wind…

Semipalmated Sandpiper on the move…

Semipalmated Sandpiper feeding

Semipalmated Sandpiper feeding…

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper feeding with a Semipalmated Plover behind…

Semipalmated Sandpiper feeding with a Semipalmated Plover behind…

Semipalmated Plover

Semipalmated Sandpiper looking for food…

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper looking for food…

Semipalmated Sandpiper with the feathers blowing in the wind…

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Sanderling on the move

Sanderling with a gnat in the bill

Sanderling taking to the air…

Semipalmated Plover with the itch!

 

Green Heron perched in the hedge at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on August 20, 2017

One of the highlights today at Greenfield Park was a juvenile Green Heron perched in a hedge north of the large pond. It was a highlight because it was a slower day than the usual there plus you typically see these birds on the pond perched on a stick. 4 Green Herons were present today along with a Great Blue Heron and Belted Kingfishers to name a few. Thanks to Dave F for finding this bird perched in the hedge and getting the word out to others at the park as this bird gave nice views. A warm day at the park, low winds, mostly cloudy skies and of photographers visiting from different parts of the state. Images were taken on August 20, 2017.

Some preening here…

When I left the heron was just resting up there enjoying the nice day…

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron and Juvenile Green Herons at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on August 5, 2017

A stop this morning at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County proved worth while. Juvenile Green Herons and a Black-crowned Night Heron gave nice views and put on some shows. The Green Herons fished for food, but came up with very little size wise if anything as they are still learning the ropes. The juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron just hung out at a few locations there, preening was the highlight. Also present, the pair of Belted Kingfishers which are seen often flying back and forth around the pond. Plenty of juvenile Wood Ducks are at most ponds. A beautiful morning out with low 70’s, sun and a nice breeze from the northwest. Images were taken on August 5, 2017.

Black-crowned Night Heron, juvenile

Black-crowned Night Heron, juvenile preening

Black-crowned Night Heron, juvenile

Green Heron, juvenile

Green Heron, juvenile eyeing up it’s next meal

Green Heron, juvenile

Green Heron, juvenile

Green Heron, juvenile, in for the catch!

Green Heron, juvenile

Green Heron, juvenile

Green Heron, juvenile, it may have something here!

Green Heron, juvenile, heads out of the water…

Green Heron, juvenile, on to the log…

Green Heron, juvenile, a look around…

Green Heron, juvenile

Green Heron, juvenile, back to fishing…

Green Heron, juvenile on alert!

Green Heron, juvenile, the closeup…

Green Heron, juvenile, more fishing…

Green Heron, juvenile, waiting for the next catch!

Ruby-throated Hummingbird on the Royal Catchfly in Waukesha County on August 2, 2017

The wildflowers are blooming away these days in the yard and every once in awhile a Ruby-throated Hummingbird puts on a show. They have not been seen often, but I did get a couple of shots yesterday of what I think is a juvenile on the Royal Catchfly. Images were taken on August 2, 2017.

Getting that nectar in the Royal Catchfly

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Binomial name: Archilochus colubris

Category: Hummingbirds

Size: 2.8″-3.5″ long, 3” – 4” wingspan

Weight: 0.071 oz. – 0.21 oz.

Green Heron catching and eating fish at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on July 11, 2017

During a visit at Greenfield Park this morning I observed a Green Heron fishing, catching fish and eating them. This bird is a 1st summer Green Heron, born last year. A typically event that occurs here daily during the summer months are Green Herons fishing all around the pond, rotating their fishing spots to allow new food to come into those places. Some of the species seen today at the park were 2 Green Herons, 2 Great Blue Herons, 2 Belted Kingfishers and a couple groups of Wood Ducks with the mother and young. The day was just a little slower than normal. A beautiful morning out with mostly sunny skies and warm temps but not as hot as it could be for this time of year. Images were taken on July 11, 2017.

Green Heron, the catch with a fish……and a weed too

Green Heron

Binomial name: Buborides virescens

Category: Bitterns, Herons, and Allies

Size: 18” long, 26” wing span

Weight: 7 oz

The gulp!

Fishing…

Fishing and then just before the catch…

Got-em!

Getting a good grip!

The catch, a nice fish!

A look around

More fishing…

An incredible stretch for the next catch!

And a nice catch!

Killing and turning the fish around to go down the throat…

The gulp!

Sitting pretty…

Dickcissels and Savannah Sparrows at the County Grounds Park in Wauwatosa Wisconsin on June 20, 2017

One place I have never birded was the County Grounds Park in Wauwatosa Wisconsin. This morning I met up with Bruce there as he frequents this place often and we did some birding around the park. Some of the birds we saw were Dickcissels, Eastern Meadowlarks, and very many Savannah Sparrows. On the many acres of gentle hilly terrain, there are some nice foot trails there. Amazingly on some of that property you would think you were out in the middle of nowhere, not in the middle of a city. It appeared the Savannahs were nesting everywhere. Images were taken on June 20, 2017

Dickcissel, male

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow bringing food to the young…

Savannah Sparrow calling

Savannah Sparrow calling

Dickcissel, male calling…

Dickcissel, male

Savannah Sparrow sitting pretty…

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow stretching and calling…

Savannah Sparrow calling…

The setting at County Grounds Park

The setting at County Grounds Park

Dickcissel, male calling

Bobolinks in Waukesha County Wisconsin on June 19, 2017

Out birding this morning in Waukesha County I came across some Bobolinks. There were 2 males and 2 females in an area where I assumed they were nesting. I took a few shots to share and left the area. It was a sunny morning with cool temps with some clouds moving in. Images were taken on June 19, 2017.

Bobolink, male calling

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, male preening

Bobolink, female keeping an eye on the nesting area

Bobolink, female keeping the balance…

Bobolink, male in the grass as we see them…

Bobolink, male just sitting pretty

Female watching the nest from a distance…

Bobolink, the female in flight…

Both sexes here…

Calling….displaying…

Distant shot of caterpillars in the bill…

The balancing act

On the lookout

Over looking the nesting area…

 

Dickcissels Mating at the Rock in Franklin in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on June 15, 2017

I made the trip over to the Rock in Franklin Wisconsin early this morning to see if any of the Dickcissels that have been recently reported were present. Sure enough, there were at least 4 and I observed them in a patch of some non-native aggressive species of plants that were 2-3 feet in height. The highlight of the morning was watching a pair of Dickcissels mating. Always enjoyable  to watch these birds calling from a perch for long periods of time. A few non native Teasels were in the planting that made great perches for these birds to call from. As I said last year, interesting that a 1/2 acre lot full of non native species fighting each other to gain growing space and looking like a rats nest at ground level can be habitat for some native bird species. The Red-winged Blackbirds, also nest in this planting along with Savannah Sparrows. These birds were here at the same location last year. Easy to spot these birds as they were calling on territory. An exciting morning to say the least! Images were taken on June 15, 2017.

Dickcissel, male

Dickcissel

Binomial name: Spiza americana

Category: Cardinals, Piranga Tanagers and Allies

Size: 6.25” long, 9.75” wing span

Weight: 0.95 oz

Dickcissels, the mating…

Dickcissels, the mating…

Dickcissels, the mating…his part is done…

Dickcissels, he drops down…

Dickcissel, the female after the act…

Dickcissel, the female, the proud mother to be…

Dickcissel, the male calling from an old clump of Teasel from last year

Dickcissel, the male taking off…

Dickcissel, the male perched…

Dickcissel, the female looking around…

Dickcissel, the male calling…

Dickcissel, male trying to balance with the blowing winds on an old Teasel seed head from last year.

Dickcissel, perched male

Savannah Sparrow