Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warblers at the Fox River Sanctuary in Waukesha Wisconsin. In the couple of hours I spent birding there, the Magnolia Warbler  was the most common of the species. Both males and female were present. Other warbler species present were Blackburnian, Palm, Yellow, Blackpoll, Black-and-white, Yellow-rumped, Northern Parula, American Redstart and Chestnut-sided. One of the highlights was a Tufted Titmouse. It was a overcast day, dark day at times, 50’s, but still a nice day to be out viewing all the warbler action. It appears all the images are of males. Images taken on May 14, 2014.

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Magnolia Warbler – Male

Magnolia Warbler

Binomial name: Dendroica magnolia

Category: Wood-Warblers

Size: 5” long, 7.5” wingspan

Weight: .30 oz.

Habitat: Breeds in open coniferous stands, sometimes mixed forest.

Diet: It primarily eats insects off of tree needles, leaves, and twigs, also finds food from the undersides of plants and behind the bark of trees.

Nesting: Nests are usually located in lower tree branches or twigs, in very dense forest areas less than 10’ off the ground. They are made usually carelessly, some what messy with grass, weeds, hay and twigs. The female lays 3-5 brown-spotted or speckled white to light cream colored eggs once a year. Hatching time 11 to 13 days.

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Magnolia Warbler – Male

Looking for the next insect.

Magnolia Warbler – Male, looking for the next insect.

Seeing the insect.

Magnolia Warbler – Male, seeing the insect.

Leaping for the insect.

Magnolia Warbler – Male, leaping for the insect.

Going for the insect.

Magnolia Warbler – Male, going for the insect.

Seeing the insect and flying to the next branch!

Magnolia Warbler – Male, seeing the insect and flying to the next branch!

Look at the black lines!

Magnolia Warbler – Male, look at the black lines!

Going for the next insect!

Magnolia Warbler – Male, going for the next insect!

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Magnolia Warbler – Male

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Magnolia Warbler – Male

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Magnolia Warbler – Male

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Magnolia Warbler – Male

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Magnolia Warbler – Male

Tennessee Warbler

Tennessee Warblers at the Fox River Sanctuary in Waukesha Wisconsin. When I arrived around 11:00 Tennessee Warblers  were plentiful, but then numbers dropped in a short period of time.  All that I viewed were adult males. Other warbler species present were Cape May, Palm, Yellow, Blackpoll, Bay-breasted, Yellow-rumped, Northern Parula, and Chestnut-sided. The best day I ever had at this location for warblers. Images taken on May 13, 2014.

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Tennessee Warbler

Binomial name: Vermivora peregrina

Category: Wood-Warblers

Size: 4.75” long, 7.75” wingspan

Weight: 0.35 oz.

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Going for the bug!

Going for the bug!

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Going for the bug!

Going for the bug!

Going for the bug!

Going for the bug!

Stretching for the bug!

Stretching for the bug!

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Going for the bug!

Going for the bug!

Cape May Warbler

Cape May Warblers at the Fox River Sanctuary in Waukesha Wisconsin. While birding here today, many warbler species were present. The Cape May Warblers both male and female with their striking colors gave nice views for short periods of time. Other warbler species present were Tennessee, Palm, Yellow, Blackpoll, Bay-breasted, Yellow-rumped, Northern Parula, and Chestnut-sided. Images taken on May 13, 2014.

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Cape May Warbler – Male, Waukesha Fox River Sanctuary

Cape May Warbler

Binomial name: Dendroica tigrina

Category: Wood-Warblers

Size: 5” long, 8.25” wingspan

Weight: 0.39 oz

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Cape May Warbler – Male, Waukesha Fox River Sanctuary

Cape May Warbler - Female, Waukesha Fox River Sanctuary

Cape May Warbler – Female, Waukesha Fox River Sanctuary

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Cape May Warbler – Male, Waukesha Fox River Sanctuary

Cape May Warbler - Female, Waukesha Fox River Sanctuary

Cape May Warbler – Female, Waukesha Fox River Sanctuary

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Cape May Warbler – Male, Waukesha Fox River Sanctuary

Cape May Warbler - Female, Back view, Waukesha Fox River Sanctuary

Cape May Warbler – Female, Back view, Waukesha Fox River Sanctuary

Prothonotary Warbler at the Wehr Nature Center in Franklin Wisconsin May 11, 2014

I did some birding at Wehr Nature Center today in hopes to do well on Warblers. A couple of years ago this place did very well and I thought I would give it a shot. The stream area was really birdie when I arrived around 11:00 am. Warbler species present were Wilson’s, Chestnut-sided, Canada, American Redstart, Yellow-rumped, Yellow, and Common Yellowthroat. After about 30 minutes a warbler appeared and the striking color on this bird shocked me! I knew it was not a warbler that I had ever saw before. It did not take me but a few seconds to realize it was a Prothonotary Warbler with that bright golden-yellow head. The way the bird foraged along the stream bank waters edge feeding almost off the top of the water from branch to branch confirmed my ID thoughts. It left the area I was at and returned 3 more times in the 2 hours I was there. It was an exciting time getting this uncommon visitor to this part of the state finally on my life list!

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler – Male

Prothonotary Warbler

Binomial name: Protonotaria citrea

Category: Wood-Warblers

Size: 5.5” long, 8.5” wingspan

Weight: 0.56 oz.

Habitat: Breed in wooded swamps, lake or pond edges, woody streams and wooded river bottoms. Breeding habitat range is the southern US from east Texas to the east coast, north in southern Wisconsin. This species winters in parts of West Indies, Central and South America.

Diet: Forages along low vegetation, dead wood and stumps on rivers, streams, swamps, lakes and ponds. They feed on insects, snails, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, mayflies and spiders annually found on logs, branches, tree trunks and on the ground. After the breeding season they have been also known to eat seed, fruit and nectar.

Nesting: The male locates at least one cavity in a tree, sometimes digging their own in a tree 3 to 10 feet from the ground, but most often woodpecker holes are used. They can be found over water. Nest boxes are also used along with and artificial cavities such as cans, jars, pipes, etc. The male puts moss inside the nest cavities and the female finishes the foundation construction with materials of more moss and liverwort. While finishing the nest construction the male protects the female. The nest cup is constructed of grape plants, rootlets, plant down and some of the materials it is lined with are grasses, sedges, leaves bark material, tendrils and sometimes even fishing line has been used. Size of the nest cup is approximately 2” wide. Typically 3-7 whitish brown spotted eggs are laid and both adults tend to feed the young after incubation of 12 days by the female.

Cool facts: On occasion the Prothonotary Warbler will visit hummingbird feeders for nectar. The male will set up fake nest holes and display in front of them, this is not fully understood.

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler – Male

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler – Male

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler – Male

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler – Male

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler – Male

Prothonotary Warbler with insect.

Prothonotary Warbler – Male with insect.

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler – Male

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler – Male

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler – Male

Prothonotary Warbler looking for food.

Prothonotary Warbler – Male, looking for food.

Prothonotary Warbler looking for food.

Prothonotary Warbler – Male, looking for food.

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler – Male

Prothonotary Warbler looking for food.

Prothonotary Warbler – Male, looking for food.

Prothonotary Warbler looking for food.

Prothonotary Warbler – Male, looking for food.

Canada Warbler

Canada Warbler – Male

Chestnut-sided Warbler - Male

Chestnut-sided Warbler – Male

Chestnut-sided Warbler - Male

Chestnut-sided Warbler – Male

Chestnut-sided Warbler - Male

Chestnut-sided Warbler – Male

Chestnut-sided Warbler - Male

Chestnut-sided Warbler – Male

Wilson's Warbler - Male

Wilson’s Warbler – Male

Wilson's Warbler - Male

Wilson’s Warbler – Male

Wilson's Warbler - Male

Wilson’s Warbler – Male

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Warblers and more at Lake Park Milwaukee Wisconsin, May 8, 2014

I birded Lake Park in Milwaukee this morning into mid-afternoon. I saw some great warbler action with 16 warblers species and 73 total species for the day. Some of the FOY warblers were Wilson’s, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Black-throated Green, Blue-winged, Northern Parula,  Bay-breasted, and American Redstarts. Some of the other highlights from the day, Indigo Bunting, Scarlet Tanager, Baltimore Oriole, Eastern Bluebirds, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Eastern Towhee and Gray Catbirds. Interesting to see a Ruby-throated Hummingbird within 50 feet of a Dark-eyed Junco. It was a very cold morning with strong NE winds and mostly cloudy but early gave way to some sun and warmer temps that were expected.

Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat going for the gnat!

Common Yellowthroat going for the gnat!

Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat

Least Flycatcher

Least Flycatcher

Least Flycatcher

Least Flycatcher looking for the next snack!

Least Flycatcher looking for the next snack!

Least Flycatcher looking for the next snack!

Least Flycatcher in flight!

Least Flycatcher in flight!

Least Flycatcher

Least Flycatcher

Chestnut-sided

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Chestnut-sided

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Ovenbird

Ovenbird

Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

Eastern Towhee - Female

Eastern Towhee – Female

Eastern Towhee - Female

Eastern Towhee – Female

Eastern Towhee - Female

Eastern Towhee – Female

Eastern Towhee - Male

Eastern Towhee – Male

Black-and-white Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

Gray Catbird with insect in bill.

Gray Catbird with gnat in bill.

Gray Catbird with insect.

Gray Catbird with gnat in bill.

Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird

Clay-colored Sparrow

Clay-colored Sparrow

Clay-colored Sparrow

Clay-colored Sparrow

Lincoln's Sparrow

Lincoln’s Sparrow

Lincoln's Sparrow

Lincoln’s Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

American Robin

American Robin

Worm-eating Warbler

A Worm-eating Warbler was present at Fox River Parkway South in Waukesha Wisconsin on April 29, 2014. This gloomy morning gave way to some decent views and nice action of the bird searching and finding food on the forest floor. I viewed the bird twice at about 6:30 a.m. and then again 10:30 a.m. Other birders were fortunate to see this uncommon visitor to this part of the state that is viewed by only a few birders each year. I hope it hangs around for awhile yet for others to enjoy too! Other highlights were Nashville, Pine and Yellow-rumped Warblers and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Photographs were taken on April 29-30th, 2014.

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Worm-eating Warbler

Binomial name: Helmitheros vermivora

Category: Wood-Warblers

Size: 5.25” long, 8.5” wingspan

Weight: .46 oz.

Habitat: Breeds in deciduous forests sometimes mixed with conifers on steep hillsides with a dense understory. Winters in mature tropical forests found in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Diet: Spends a lot of its time near or on the ground. It searches through leaf litter and low vegetation and uses it long narrow bill to access the food it prefers, which is small larvae of moths (worms), spiders, slugs, and arthropods.

Nesting: The cup sized nest is located on the ground near the truck of a deciduous tree, often on a slope near water. The nest is constructed of leaf parts and lined with moss and grass material. Usually 3-6 white to pinkish eggs are laid in the nest. The female incubates the eggs and stays tight on it. Young usually leave the nest within 10 days unable to fly but they survive. When intruders like chipmunks, squirrels and other small animals approach the nest, it sometimes waits until contact is made to be flushed from the nest as it blends in well with the forest floor. If that happens the female leaves the immediate nest area with distracting motions.

Cool Facts: Song of the Worm-eating Warbler is similar to that of the Chipping Sparrow but shorter in length. Plumage of both sexes are similar.

Looking for larvae (worms)

Looking for larvae (worms)

Looking for larvae (worms)

Looking for larvae (worms)

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With spider in bill!

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Looking for larvae (worms)

Looking for larvae (worms)

Looking for larvae (worms), leg holding leaf

Looking for larvae (worms), leg holding leaf

Looking for larvae (worms), leg holding leaf

Looking for larvae (worms), leg holding leaf

Looking for larvae (worms), leg holding leaf

Looking for larvae (worms), leg holding leaf

Looking for larvae (worms), leg holding leaf

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Searching for and finding food.

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Looking for food

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Searching for food.

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Just finished eating something!

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Black-and-white Warbler

I birded for a short time this afternoon at the Fox River Sanctuary in Waukesha Wisconsin. Looking up, the trees were loaded with Yellow-rumped Warblers. I saw one Black-and-white Warbler in the mass of Yellow-rumps and just for a moment.  A breezy day with temps about 50, the sun made for a very pleasant day. Images were taken on April 22, 2014. After the first 4 images are some Black-and-white Warbler images taken back on May 13, 2011 at Wehr Nature Center.

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Black-and-white Warbler

Binomial name: Mniotilta varia

Category: Wood-Warblers

Size: 5.25” long, 8.25” wingspan

Weight: .37 oz.

Habitat: Moist mixed deciduous-conifer forests or woodlots.

Diet: Mostly insects, while forging like a nuthatch along limbs and trunks of a tree. Some other items in their diet are ants, flies, spiders, leaf hoppers, wood-borers and weevils.

Nesting: Usually the cup shaped nest is on the ground, hidden near a stump, fallen log, base of tree, or under leaves or limbs with 4-5 eggs. Some of the materials used to build the nest are, horse hair, leaves, moss and grasses.

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Black-and-white Warbler at Wehr Nature Center May 13, 2011

Black-and-white Warbler at Wehr Nature Center May 13, 2011

Black-and-white Warbler at Wehr Nature Center May 13, 2011

Black-and-white Warbler at Wehr Nature Center May 13, 2011

Black-and-white Warbler at Wehr Nature Center May 13, 2011

Black-and-white Warbler at Wehr Nature Center May 13, 2011

Black-and-white Warbler at Wehr Nature Center May 13, 2011

Black-and-white Warbler at Wehr Nature Center May 13, 2011

Black-and-white Warbler at Wehr Nature Center May 13, 2011

Black-and-white Warbler at Wehr Nature Center May 13, 2011

Black-and-white Warbler at Wehr Nature Center May 13, 2011

Black-and-white Warbler at Wehr Nature Center May 13, 2011

Black-and-white Warbler at Wehr Nature Center May 13, 2011

Black-and-white Warbler at Wehr Nature Center May 13, 2011

Yellow-rumped Warblers at the Waukesha Fox River Sanctuary April 8, 2014.

I spent a short time down at the Fox River Sanctuary in Waukesha today and observed my 1st Yellow-rumped Warblers of the season. There were 3 present and they were hopping around in the trees eating what appeared to be small insects. I also enjoyed watching 2 different Black-capped Chickadees and 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker excavating nest cavities in dead trees while I was there. The sun felt nice, but it was chilly when it clouded over with the steady breeze.

Yellow-rumped Warbler April 8, 2014

Yellow-rumped Warbler April 8, 2014

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Binomial name: Setophaga coronata

Category: Wood-Warblers

Size: 5.50” long, 9.25” wingspan

Weight: .43 oz.

Habitat: Open coniferous and mixed coniferous-deciduous woodlands and edges.

Diet: Insects are their main diet, but depend on berries when insects are not available.

Nesting: The small shallow cup nest is built on a horizontal branch of a tree any where from 4’to50’ from the ground. The nest is constructed of grass, twigs, rootlets, with a inter lining of feathers with plant fluff that drapes over the edge of the top of the nest and partially covers the eggs. Female sits on 3-6 eggs that are white and incubates them for about 12-13 days.

Notes: The Yellow-rumped Warbler is known for one of the earliest warblers to arrive in spring and one of the last to leave in fall.

Yellow-rumped Warbler April 8, 2014

Yellow-rumped Warbler April 8, 2014

Black-capped Chickadee excavating a nest hole in a dead tree.

Black-capped Chickadee excavating a nest hole in a dead tree.

Black-capped Chickadee excavating a nest hole in a dead tree.

Black-capped Chickadee excavating a nest hole in a dead tree.

Black-capped Chickadee excavating a nest hole in a dead tree.

Black-capped Chickadee excavating a nest hole in a dead tree.

Black-capped Chickadee excavating a nest hole in a dead tree.

Black-capped Chickadee excavating a nest hole in a dead tree.

Red-bellied Woodpecker excavating a nest hole in a dead tree.

Red-bellied Woodpecker excavating a nest hole in a dead tree.

Just looking around!

Just looking around!

Just looking around!

Just looking around!

Yellow-rumped Warbler - image taken in SE Wisconsin pre-2014

Yellow-rumped Warbler – image taken in SE Wisconsin pre-2014

Yellow-rumped Warbler - image taken in SE Wisconsin pre-2014

Yellow-rumped Warbler – image taken in SE Wisconsin pre-2014

Yellow-rumped Warbler - image taken in SE Wisconsin pre-2014

Yellow-rumped Warbler – image taken in SE Wisconsin pre-2014

Yellow-rumped Warbler - image taken in SE Wisconsin pre-2014

Yellow-rumped Warbler – image taken in SE Wisconsin pre-2014

Yellow-rumped Warbler - image taken in SE Wisconsin pre-2014

Yellow-rumped Warbler – image taken in SE Wisconsin pre-2014

Yellow-rumped Warbler - image taken in SE Wisconsin pre-2014

Yellow-rumped Warbler – image taken in SE Wisconsin pre-2014

Yellow-rumped Warblers and Cedar Waxwings Sharing Berries

Yellow-rumped Warblers and Cedar Waxwings sharing the berries of a cedar tree in Waukesha County.  Photographs taken October 19, 2013.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

1st winter Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Binomial name: Setophaga coronata

Category: Wood-Warblers

Description: Both males and females have gray streaks, white on wings, and yellow rumps.  Males have black streaking on slate blue backs while females also have brown steaks.  Both have black bills and legs.

Size: 4.7″-5.9″ long, 7.5” – 9.4” wingspan

Weight: 0.39 oz. – 0.49 oz.

Habitat: Broadleaf and pine forests, mountains

Diet: Insects such as beetles, ants, aphids, grasshoppers, and spiders, as well as berries, fruits, and seeds

Nesting: The female builds the nest on a conifer branch out of grass, pine needles, twigs, and feathers. The male may help supply materials.  The clutch size is 1 to 6 eggs, usually 3 or 4, with 1 to 2 broods laid per season.  The female incubates the eggs for 12 or 13 days and the young can fledge after 10 to 14 days.

Notes: Four related species are often lumped together as the Yellow-rumped Warbler: Myrtle Warbler, Audobon’s Warbler, Mexican black-fronted Warbler, and Guatemalan Goldman’s Warbler.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

1st winter Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

1st winter Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

1st winter Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

1st winter Yellow-rumped Warbler

Cedar Waxwing

Binomial name: Bombycilla cedrorum

Category: Waxwings

Description: Pale brown on and chest with gray wings and tail.  Pale yellow belly with and a bright yellow tip on the tail.  Black mask on the face outlined in white and red drops on wings.  Black bill and legs.

Size: 5.5” – 6.7” long, 8.7” – 11.8” wingspan

Weight: 1.1 oz.

Habitat: Open woodlands, orchards, and residences, particularly locations with fruit and berry sources

Diet: Berries, fruits, insects, and cedar cones

Nesting: The courtship ritual involves the male doing a “hopping” dance.  If a female is interested, she’ll “hop” back.  Mating couples will pass small objects between each other such as flowers or food and may rub bills affectionately.  Females handle most of the nest-building using twigs, grass, feathers, and animal hair.  4 to 6 eggs will be laid per clutch with 1 to 2 broods per season, and the female incubates them for 11 to 13 days.  Both parents will care for the young.

Notes: Unlike most birds, the Cedar Waxwing specializes in eating fruit.  Instead of separating and regurgitating seeds from fruit and berries as most birds do, Cedar Waxwings will pass them.  Occasionally if fruit has become overripe, Cedar Waxwings may ingest too much and become intoxicated or even die.

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

To see the gallery of images, please click here.

Prairie Warbler

The uncommon sightings of Prairie Warblers here in Wisconsin. The location of one was found as has been reported in the South Kettle Moraine State Forest in Waukesha County on July 10, 2010. The other Prairie Warbler was only viewed by me as I birded Lake Park on September 5, 2010.

Prairie Warbler in the South Kettle Moraine State Forest in Waukesha County on July 10, 2010

Prairie Warbler in the South Kettle Moraine State Forest in Waukesha County on July 10, 2010

Prairie Warbler

Binomial name: Dendroica discolor

Category: Warblers

Size: 4.75″ long, 7” wingspan

Weight: .27 oz

Prairie Warbler in the South Kettle Moraine State Forest in Waukesha County on July 10, 2010

Prairie Warbler in the South Kettle Moraine State Forest in Waukesha County on July 10, 2010

Prairie Warbler in the South Kettle Moraine State Forest in Waukesha County on July 10, 2010

Prairie Warbler in the South Kettle Moraine State Forest in Waukesha County on July 10, 2010

Prairie Warbler at Lake Park in Milwaukee on September 5, 2010

Prairie Warbler at Lake Park in Milwaukee on September 5, 2010

Prairie Warbler at Lake Park in Milwaukee on September 5, 2010

Prairie Warbler at Lake Park in Milwaukee on September 5, 2010

Yellow-breasted Chat

The report of Yellow-breasted Chats in the South Kettle Moraine in Waukesha County drew my attention both times. Not a common bird for this area, some years there are reports, others not. I headed out and with some other birders at the reported location reported off of Wilton Road, the bird was found in minutes, this date was May 16, 2012. The other Yellow-breasted Chat was reported off of Hwy 59. That location I birded for about 15 minutes before I locating the bird by its call, this date was May 30, 2013.

Yellow-breasted Chat off Wilton Road in Waukesha County May 30, 2013

Yellow-breasted Chat off Highway 59 in Waukesha County May 30, 2013

Yellow-breasted Chat

Binomial name: Icteria virens

Category: Wood-Warblers

Size: 7.5″ long, 9.75” wingspan

Weight:  0.88 oz

Yellow-breasted Chat off Highway 59 in Waukesha County May 30, 2013

Yellow-breasted Chat off Highway 59 in Waukesha County May 30, 2013

Yellow-breasted Chat off Highway 59 in Waukesha County May 30, 2013

Yellow-breasted Chat off Highway 59 in Waukesha County May 30, 2013

Yellow-breasted Chat off Highway 59 in Waukesha County May 30, 2013

Yellow-breasted Chat off Wilton Road in Waukesha County May 16, 2012

Yellow-breasted Chat off Wilton Road in Waukesha County May 30, 2013

Yellow-breasted Chat off Wilton Road in Waukesha County May 16, 2012

Yellow-breasted Chat off Wilton Road in Waukesha County May 30, 2013

Yellow-breasted Chat off Wilton Road in Waukesha County May 16, 2012