Ok, I haven't been very good on posting lately. Birding has taken up so much time.....
First, I went along on the Madison Audubon field trip to Baxter's Hollow SNA. Baxter's Hollow is a very cool spot. It's a true hollow in a sense that the hills wrap around a small valley with a stream flowing through it. it's a lone hill in sort of a "C" shape.
It will come up on Google Maps if you search "Baxter's Hollow".
At the start of the trip, the leader's wife brought a Turkey Vulture to show everyone. That was pretty cool. If you haven't see a TV close up, I recommend it. They may be ugly looking but they are cool birds.
The little hairs on the head are cool.
This one had a broken left wing that was healing so he coundn't lift his wing very far.
Then we went for a walk. The birds were rather minimal. The only interesting ones were a pair of Broad-winged Hawks, a flyover B Kingfisher and several singing Louisiana Waterthrush. The LAWT nest at Baxter's Hollow.
Since the birds were rather scarce, we spent most of the walk looking at the vast carpets of wildflowers. Trout Lilies and Spring Beauties were by far the most common and were spread in thick carpets on the woodland floor.
Nodding Trillium! Not flowering yet, but give it a week or so.
See all the green on the forest floor? Know what it is? If you said Garlic Mustard, you're wrong. Dead wrong. All the green is Spring Beauties. Solid Spring Beauties.
Here's more a little closer:
This Female Cowbird was carefully watching the Female Louisiana Waterthrush.
I'm not sure what this is. Probably in the Hepatica family though:
This Spring Beauty didn't focus like I wanted it to:
The Trout lilies carpeted the forest floor:
Here's a closeup of one flowering:
The Stream at Baxter's Hollow. This is across the road from where the Mourning Warblers like to hang out:
After spending the morning at Baxter's, Peter Fissel and I headed down to the Spring green Preserve. The land is owned by the Nature conservancy.
Here's the view from the top of the hill:
The hillside here has been cleared of everything woody and is currently growing up as a tallgrass prairie. It has some specialty species that are more reliable here than anywhere else.
Some of the best ones that can be found here include Grasshopper Sparrow, W Meadowlark, Dickcissel and this spectacular adult male Lark Sparrow:
This bird was VERY cooperative. He was still sitting there when I walked away.
Peter and I also found several Pasque Flowers in bloom:
After we left the Preserve with a targeted Lark Sparrow written down, we headed down to Pearl Rd and County G to find the flooded field that we had seen from the top of the hill.
We found the Flooded field (actually, it was more of a shallow "Lake") but didn't find any shorebirds. We did find a flock of about 60 Yellow-rumped Warblers though.
This beautiful adult male posed several times for his picture:
Then he showed off his bright yellow crown:
Even better, he posed out in the open on a fencewire:
Peter and I then ran down to Bakken's Pond. The water is much higher than I've ever seen it.
Besides half a dozen Ducks and a million Coots, I was also able to pick out this adult Palm Warbler:
It was a fun day! I wish everyday was a full birding day like that! Unfortunately, it's not. So it's back to nose-to-the-grindstone for now.... plus a little birding on the side!