Friday, June 17, 2016

Circling Southern Wisconsin

Eastern Bluebird at Pheasant Branch, Madison

We have spent the last month in the Madison area as we traded in our "home" RV for a new one .  As with most new vehicles/homes, there are things that need fixing and adjusting.  In between appointments at Camping World we have been birding the area and visiting with friends and relatives.
Red-winged Blackbird nest near DeForest

Baby Robin at the KOA

Our new home, 2015 Navion - parked at Manitowoc with Boneparte's Gulls checking it out

Greater Scaup

Brewer's Blackbird

We met up with the Bay Area Bird Club at Buena Vista Grasslands to search for the bird specialties of this unique habitat.  Three carloads of people traveled from Green Bay and it was great to see everyone.  We then drove with the group to the Sandhill Wildlife Area for the 12 mile long auto tour.
Upland Sandpiper

Savannah Sparrow

Sandhill Cranes - bonding dance

Black-billed Cuckoo - Buena Vista

Trumpeter Swan family - Sandhill WLA

Day old fawn

We spent the rest of Memorial Day weekend at friends Larry & Joyce Miller near Adams.  Before heading back to Madison we checked out singing Kirtland's Warblers near Big Flats.  We heard two males but did not pursue as not to disturb nesting as there are only 15 males singing in the state.
Common Yellowthroat

Yellow-throated Vireo

Bumble Bee collects pollen 

We went to Madison to join Troy & Carmen as they treated us to the stage performance of "The Lion King" at the Overture Theater.

We then went to Janesville to stay in the driveway of our friends Bill & Glenda Berger.   It was a great visit with good food and sharing some movies.
Jack-in-the-Pulpit seeds

Marsh Wren sings at Kohler-Andrae Park

We spent two days in Sheboygan at Kohler-Andrae State Park birding the marsh and lake shore.  We also visited Ty's Aunts and Uncles catching up with the family.
Swamp Sparrow

Chickadee brings lunch back for the babies

American Bittern

We stopped at Horicon on our way west to visit Ida's sister Ella near Westfield.  We took two day trips from there to White River Marsh and Necedah National Wildlife Refuge.
We found 6 of the rare Whooping Cranes at Necedah.  It was also great hearing the Whip-poor-wills call every evening and morning.
Snapping Turtle laying eggs

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Blue Flag at Necedah 

Banded Whooping Crane - colorful bracelets 

Whooping Crane takes a short flight

Orange Hawkweed

Goat's Beard

We are now near Madison at Lake Farm Park until the 28th.  We will then head to Green Bay for a couple weeks and then Northern Wisconsin before our trip out west.

Love & Prayers,
Ty & Ida Baumann

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Trip back to Wisconsin

Fire Wheel or Indian Blanket

We traveled through the Oklahoma Panhandle to the Cimarron Grasslands in Southwestern Kansas.  We were mainly looking for the Lesser Prairies Chickens which are difficult to find.  We heard them in the distance and got a glimpse of them but nothing close enough to photograph.  The wildflowers were blooming and the grasslands green as they have had plenty of rain.
Yes it's another Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake

Red-headed Woodpecker

Eastern Wood-pewee

Lark Sparrow

Prairie Dog

We traveled across Kansas into Nebraska, avoiding severe weather as much as possible.  We arrived at DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge on the Nebraska/Iowa border and spent two days enjoying the sights.  This pair of eagles came in and out of the nest several times bringing fish for the eaglets.
Harris's Sparrow

Magnolia Warbler

We arrived in Wisconsin on May 15th and camped at Wyalusing State Park for three days.  We were at the end of warbler migration but were able to find 23 species of warblers out of the 104 species of birds here before we headed to the Madison area.
Bell's Vireo

Henslow's Sparrow

Scarlet Tanager

Kentucky Warbler

Indigo Bunting

Prothonotary Warbler

Eastern Towhee

Trumpeter Swan nest on the Mississippi River

We stopped at Arena boat landing and found this Black-capped Chickadee nest down in the post.  The bird was turning green from rubbing against the algae in the post each time they brought food into the nest.

We spent a day at Horicon Marsh NWR to see what birds we could add to our Wisconsin and year list.   These Bobolinks were very numerous this year - a pleasant surprise.
American Bittern tries to hide

Short-billed Dowitcher

Wild Geranium 

It's great to be back in Wisconsin.  We look forward to seeing our son Troy and his wife Carmen and friends and relatives.

Love & Prayers,
Ty & Ida Baumann

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Adios to Texas

Moonrise over Bentsen Palm

We just finished our 8 month long adventure in the state of Texas.  This is the longest period of time we have spent in any one state since we retired 5 years ago.  But Texas is so big, we didn't even get to every part of the state.  Next time!!
Elf Owl finds his old woodpecker hole

Scorpion zeros in on a beetle

Scorpion in Black Light

We finished off our time at Bentsen RGV State Park with a Ranger led night adventure.  The Elf owls arrived on April 16th and the warm night brought out scorpions, spiders, bats, pauraques, and even a skunk.
Tomato Hornworm Moth

Bronzed Cowbird tries to impress

Altamira Oriole completes his nest (over 24" long)

Black Phoebe

We totaled 360 species of birds in our time in Texas this winter.  It took us 40 years to find that many in Wisconsin.
Cave Swallows take a short rest

Ox Beetle

14 Mississippi Kites spend the night at Bentsen

Mississippi Kite

We enjoyed our 2 months of Spring raptor migration with record numbers.  We had 115,699 raptors cross the sky observing them from the "Hawk Tower" at Bentsen.  That included 45,439 Broad-winged Hawks, 14,214 Mississippi Kites, 46,189 Turkey Vultures,  3,650 Swainson's Hawks and 19 other species of raptors.  Amazing sights!!
Lesser Nighthawk leucistic plumage 

Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake

Cane Toad

On May 1st we left Mission and stopped at San Ygnacio and found the rare White-collared Seedeaters.  We had this gray fox right in our RV Park.
Turkey Vulture on the grill

Black-throated Sparrow

Lake Casa Blanca 

Then there were stops at Lake Casa Blanca in Laredo, Garner S.P. and Lost Maples Natural Area in the Hill Country and Kerr Management area and a stay along the Cypress-lined Guadalupe River.
Prickly Pear Blossom

Carolina Wren

Garner State Park

Golden-cheeked Warbler

Tom Turkeys try to impress

Black-tailed Jackrabbit

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Lost Maples State Park

Guadalupe River

Yellow-crowned Night-heron

Mayfly hatch

We are headed north through the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma into Kansas carefully watching the weather radar and avoiding the severe weather as much as possible.

May God bless us with sunshine and birds all the way into Wisconsin.
Love & Prayers,
Ty & Ida Baumann