Fieldfare at Prentice Park in Ashland County Wisconsin on February 21, 2024

I saw reports of this rare bird being seen in Ashland County for about a week. The Fieldfare, a super rare bird for Wisconsin, a 1st state record is native to Europe. I obviously need it for my state life list. It was being seen all week, but not everyday which made it a hard decision to drive 6 hours one way to try for it. I finally decided, I might as well try for it and made the run up to Ashland leaving the house at midnight to get there when the sun comes up. After everyone, 40 birders and I were wandering around for over an hour the bird suddenly appeared and put on a very brief appearance for the 40 birders and I, some from as far away as Montana and Maine, at Prentice Park in Ashland Co. When this bird has been seen during the week, it is only giving looks from roughly 7-8:30 am daily, then disappearing for the rest of the day. I walked away with a very distant shot at about 500 feet as the bird perched on the other side of a large field. A big thank you to the finders of this bird and getting the word out for others to see it. Life Bird for Wisconsin #377. It was a cool morning to start with temps around 26 degrees, a slight breeze and mostly cloudy skies. Image was taken on February 21, 2024.

Glaucous-winged Gull at Prairie du Sac Dam in Sauk County Wisconsin on February 18, 2024

Late Saturday afternoon I got wind of a very rare for Wisconsin, an adult Glaucous-winged Gull, being reported at the Prairie du Sac Dam in Sauk County. This gull noamally winters on the west coast of California and breeds along the west coast of Canada and Alaska in the summer. I needed this bird for my Wisconsin life list so I thought I might as well try for it. I arrived there at the dam early morning with plenty darkness. As it got lighter more birders showed up. It was seen by a couple of birders about 30 minutes after it got light but I did not get my eyes on it. There were easily 200 plus gulls flying over the Wisconsin River so it was very challenging to spot for this gull. After another hour or so had passed, it was once again re-found and I got some distant photos shooting into the sun just below the dam. It gave nice views but photos were another story. It was seen for 5 minutes and then it was out of sight again. It was a sunny morning with mild temps with a little bit of a breeze. Photos taken on February 18, 2024. Wisconsin life bird #376.

Northern Saw-whet Owls in Southeastern Wisconsin February 11-17, 2024

During the winter months I bird locations all over southeastern Wisconsin with hopes to find a Northern Saw-whet Owl. I dig here and there and it has been a quiet winter until last week. I have come across 2 of them just recently. They are so tiny, cute and motionless in the trees when I found them, and are that way when I leave. One had a vole in it’s talons. They may be cute with their catlike face and quiet looking, but they are highly nocturnal with activity beginning at late dusk. I always tell anyone who asks how to find them, I tell them look in pine trees, even if it is just one out in the open. It has been cold weather with some light snow, temps this morning around 10 degrees

Northern Saw-whet Owl…

The Northern Saw-whet Owl with the vole…

Northern Saw-whet Owl in Southeastern Wisconsin on February 11, 2024

I left the house this morning like many mornings this time of year in search for the Northern Saw-whet Owl. I have looked hard the last month and this morning was my lucky day. Coming around a corner on a path, I looked up and here is one looking right at me!! When this happens I usually am in shock for a few seconds. This Saw-whet had a vole in its talons so it was just out for breakfast I guess. I took a couple of quick photos and off I went. It looked so beautifully perched in the tree when I left it. Always a great time when you come across one of these. It was a cloudy morning with temps around 28 degrees and a good breeze making it feel like winter again. Image was taken on February 11, 2024.

The Northern Saw-whet Owl with the vole…

Eastern Screech Owl in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on February 1, 2024

I did some birding like yesterday looking for owls in Milwaukee County. Walking across a field in front of me and looking right at me was a beautiful Eastern Screech Owl, brown morph. From a long distance I took a photo. A couple of steps ahead and the owl disappeared into the cavity below. I left the area, so it can get back out and enjoy the day. It is always fun finding an owl at a new location. It was a gorgeous day with full sun, low winds and mild temps around 40 degrees. Image was taken on February 1, 2024.

The Eastern Screech Owl just enjoying the sun…

Eastern Screech Owl in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on January 31, 2024

This Eastern Screech Owl, brown morph flew by me today and landed close by while birding in Milwaukee County. It was a nice surprise, it only hung around for about 10 seconds, enough to get one photo. It was a mostly cloudy morning with a good breeze but temps were milder than they have been in the past, around 35 degrees. Image was taken on January 31, 2024.

The Eastern Screech Owl giving nice looks for about 10 seconds…

Long-eared Owl in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on January 20, 2024

While birding at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County I was observing a Long-eared Owl at a distance. Moments later a Red Fox was starting to work it’s way towards the owl. I could tell that something was going to happen as the Red Fox got about 20′ from the roosting owl near the ground the owl flushed. The Long-eared Owl landed near me in a tree. I took a few photos  and left the area. On another note… there was a 2nd Long-eared Owl when got there. It flew away from it’s roosting spot with the other owl and must have spotted a vole or something. Moments later a Rough-legged Hawk came by and snatched the Long-eared Owl off the ground and off they went. I saw a photo of the two in flight, a sad moment for the day. It was a very cold morning with a high around 10, a light breeze but full sun maybe it feel a little better. Images were taken on January 20, 2024.

The Long-eared Owl…

Sandhill Cranes at the Bark River in Delafield in Waukesha County on January 11, 2024

While birding out in Waukesha County I came across 16 Sandhill Cranes on the Bark River in Delafield. They were just hanging out doing some preening and not very active. They are probably saving their energy for the days ahead with snow and cold in the forecast. It was a cloudy day, mild temps around 34 degrees, with low winds. Images were taken on January 11, 2024.

Sandhill Crane…

Sandhill Cranes, pair…

All of them, 16 Sandhill Cranes…

A pair…

Some preening…

Some more preening…

Sandhill Cranes…

Preening…

A group, some preening…

Just beautiful…

American White Pelican at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on December 16, 2023

While birding Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee an American White Pelican was present. Not totally uncommon to have a few pelicans around in the winter months if there is open water. It was on a rock shore in the lagoon area giving great looks. It moved around some, to the beach area, then out in the open water in the lagoon and then took off flying south. I heard later it ended up at South Shore Yacht Club. It was a very gloomy day, temps around 40 but with the winds it was pretty cold. Images were taken on December 16, 2023.

The American White Pelican on the rocks…

Preening…

At the beach area….gulls were doing some light harassing and the pelican moved out into the water…

Headed south from the lagoon…

House Finches eating Crab Apples at Fox River in Waukesha on December 14, 2023

My first birding stop of the morning gave great views of House Finches eating crab apples on a tree in Waukesha along the Fox River. I have seen them along the river often but not eating crab apples. I think the crab apples are softening up now and the birds can enjoy them. It was a gorgeous day with full sun, low winds and mild temps around 36 degrees early in the morning. Images were taken on December 14, 2023.

The male House Finch enjoying a crab apple…

The female House Finch enjoying a crab apple…

Piece by piece they take the crab apple and eat it…

The male House Finch enjoying a crab apple…

The male House Finch enjoying a crab apple…

The male House Finch enjoying a crab apple and perched pretty…

The male House Finch enjoying a crab apple…

The male House Finch nibbling away…

The male House Finch

The male House Finch…

The female House Finch with a bite to eat…

Eastern Screech Owl, Gray Morph in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on November 27, 2023

Some birding today produced a nice looks at a Eastern Screech Owl, gray morph just hanging out in a natural cavity. It was maybe sleeping, or just keeping it’s eyes closed while I was in the area. It was a cold day with some good wind gusts out there with temps around 26 degrees, and the sun was on and off. Images were taken on November 27, 2023.

The Eastern Screech Owl, gray morph…

Another angle…must have been following me…

Great Horned Owl in Waukesha County on November 25, 2023

A birding location I stop at once cold weather is upon us, like now November. I spotted this Great Horned Owl which I have not seen one at this location since early spring. I have seen a pair at this location for the last 4 years in winter and have always seen a nest so this is what I’m assuming. They move out to a different location for the late spring once the young are older. I’m sure when I saw this owl that a mate was nearby in fact it was looking off to another direction which tells me it was there in that direction, just my thinking how these owls act. It was a cloudy day with little wind temps around 38 degrees. Image was taken on November 25, 2023.

The Great Horned Owl resting in a White Pine at a distance…

Ancient Murrelet at George Pinney County Park in Door County Wisconsin on November 21, 2023

It was 12 noon and I saw a message of a Ancient Murrelet in Door County! The exact location was George Pinney County Park. It looked like a 3 hour drive and it looked like I had enough daylight to get there with some time to look for it. Wow, what a great bird and rare bird for the state. They winter on the California coast and breed on the west coast from Canada thru Alaska. When I arrived there were a group of birders on the bird which was about 75-100 feet from shore. It was diving often and gave nice looks when up. Wow again on this bird! A big thank you to the person who found this bird and got the word out for others to see it. I hope it hangs around for a while. My Wisconsin life bird #375. Another Ancient Murrelet was also seen in Ashland County Wisconsin just yesterday. It was a cloudy day with a light breeze out of the north. Images were taken on November 21, 2023

The Ancient Murrelet…

The Ancient Murrelet did a lot of diving while I was there…

Iceland Gull at Frame Park on the Fox River in Waukesha on November 20, 2023

I typically stop at the Fox River in the mornings this time of year when birding and it has really been quiet. Today was the first surprise this fall with a 2nd cycle Iceland Gull, Kumlien’s subspecies. I have never seen one before on the Fox River. It is a place where Ring-billed Gulls hang out year round. A couple of Ring-billed Gulls dived at this bird while I was there, it looked like they did not want it around. After a few minutes looking up and down the river I turned around and the gull was gone, but probably still in the area. It was a gloomy morning with cloudy skies, low winds, but mild temps for this time of year. Images were taken on November 20, 2023.

The 2nd cycle Iceland Gull, Kumlien’s subspecies…

With a Ring-billed Gull…

Taking off…

Red Crossbills in Marquette County Wisconsin on November 18, 2023

I was walking on some private property in Marquette County and out of nowhere 6 Red Crossbills landed in a Red Pine 25 feet from me. 4 males and 2 females. The event lasted only 30 seconds and I did not even see the females until they flew from the area as they were in a tree nearby. I never seen the birds again but I did get a quick few photos to share. It was a gorgeous day for this time of year with mild temps around 50 degrees, full sun, low winds. Images were taken on November 18, 2023.

Red Crossbill, male

A pair of males…

Their stop was very short…

Long-tailed Duck at the South Milwaukee Yacht Club in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on November 4, 2023

A stop at the South Milwaukee Yacht Club gave great views of an adult male Long-tailed Duck. It was moving around for just a short time when I arrived and then rested for a good 30 minutes. Something from above caught the bird’s eye and it was up for a couple minutes before going back in the resting mode. I got some shots of the beautiful Long-tailed Duck in between resting times. I was a mostly sunny day with little winds and mild temps near 60 degrees. Images were taken on November 4, 2023

The beautiful Long-tailed Duck, male…

There is the long tail…

Resting and always watching too…

The Long-tailed Duck stretching, look at that tail!

More resting, what it did most of the time I was there…