Monday, September 1, 2014

More Wisconsin Treasures

For the last two weeks in August we were able to explore areas that we hadn't spent much time at before.  Going to the beach and harbor in Racine where we found this Least Sandpiper.

We camped at Bong State Recreation Area for two nights where we added Bobwhite to our growing Wisconsin bird list.

We birded around Whitewater Lake where we hadn't camped since our sons were little.  We found this family of turkeys that seemed awfully small for near the end of August.

Bill & Ty

We spent two days with our friends Bill & Glenda in Janesville visiting the Old Mill Park and the Rotary Botanical Gardens.  Glenda and Ida became friends at Edgerton High School (oh so many years ago.
Glenda & Ida

Bull Frog at the Old Mill Pond

Cicada on Purple Cone Flower

Carmen & Troy

We headed northwest in a round about way to Madison where we camped at Lake Farm Park for a week.  We walked to Nine Springs a couple of times and over to Lake Waubesa.

Best was daily time with our son Troy and his wife Carmen including birding the Columbia County ponds, watching an IMAX movie (Guardians of the Galaxy that our other son Travis worked on), and eating out at several of Madison's great restaurants.
Northern Waterthrush at Nine Springs

Troy took new photos of us for the blog profile and the phone ID.  It was not an easy task.

We drove up to the Ripon area to find 6 White-faced Ibis but too far out for good photographs but this Widow Skimmer Dragonfly came in close.

We went to Montello to visit Ida's mother who turned 92 on July 4th.  Spent time with Ida's sister Ella on her birthday and heard Whip-poor-wills in her yard where we camped for the night.

Spent the next two and half days birding the Horicon Marsh area finding Sora Rails (pictured), American Bittern, and Black-crowned Night-herons.  We spent time in Mayville finding the reported Rufous Hummingbird visiting a feeder, plus attended Gateway Community Church for worship and fellowship.

The last morning we walked out Old Marsh Road in the fog finding a Tri-colored Heron that we posted on the bird alert.  As we were a mile and a half from the RV a very fast moving electrical storm enveloped us.  We hunkered down along the dike in the cattails getting drenched.  After 20 minutes it let up but instead of heading back we resumed our search to find a Snowy Egret and Black-necked Stilts that we successfully found.
Wild Cucumber

Next stop was Kohler-Andrae State Park south of Sheboygan.  Thankfully they have a laundry for all our drenched clothes.  The RV had an appointment at Horn's so we went birding with Dave & Margaret Brasser for the day.  A stop at Harrington Beach was very good, including a number of warblers and for us our 500th bird for the year - a very active Carolina Wren.  Also birding North Point beach and rock area where we returned the next morning when it wasn't quite as busy and more birds (Red Knot, Ruddy Turnstone, and Sanderlings).

We had lunch with Ty's Aunt Carol and Uncle Jack and enjoyed the beautiful flowers and birds in their yard.  Now we are in Green Bay until September 14th.

Love & Prayers,
Ty & Ida Baumann

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Wisconsin Wandering

We arrived in Wisconsin on July 26th at Prairie du Chein and camped at Wyalusing State Park for the next 3 nights.  The prairie flowers are in full bloom attracting a myriad of hummingbirds and insects like this Hummingbird Moth.

We searched diligently for southwestern Wisconsin specialty birds which are harder to locate without their Spring territorial songs.  We did locate the Yellow-throated, Kentucky, and Cerulean Warblers, Acadian Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Vireo and Scarlet Tanager.

A short trip down to Bagley Bottoms on the Mississippi River produced a lone Prothonotary Warbler. Up Gasner Hollow, we found Tufted Titmouse and a surprise, a White-eyed Vireo plus this Eastern Comma Butterfly.

It's a beautiful view from the top of the bluff at Wyalusing looking down at the mouth of the Wisconsin River where it enters the Mississippi.  This has always been one of our favorite places to camp and bird through the years.

We spent two nights at Gov. Dodge State Park and enjoyed the Stephens' Falls Trail.  We found a quiet Bell's Vireo on the ridge to the north and added a family of Willow Flycatchers by the creek.  Beautiful days to spend some time at the beach of Twin Valley lakes.

Drove to Spring Green Prairie and walked in the morning fog listening to the songs of Lark & Grasshopper Sparrows and a Blue Grosbeak.

A walk to Baxter's Hollow near Baraboo added a lone Louisiana Waterthrush singing.
Young Bobolink

Northward to Buena Vista Grasslands, finding large flocks of Bobolinks gathering before migration to South America.  We added Henslow's and Clay-colored Sparrows, a late flying Short-eared Owl and 4 Prairie Chickens out on a plowed field.

We drove around White River Marsh adding Whooping Cranes; Lake Puckaway - Cattle Egret; Grand River Marsh - Black & Forester's Terns; and Germania Marsh.  A visit with Ida's mother in Montello ( she turned 92 on July 4th).  Stayed in my sister's yard north of Westfield where Whip-poor-wills serenaded after sunset and again before dawn.  After breakfast out and church we headed to Lake MIchigan.

We found these Cedar Waxwings at Kohler-Andrae State Park.  We were surprised to see how little beach if any is left at the park.  Next morning we headed north stopping at Sheboygan's North Point finding Lesser Black-backed Gulls, then Manitowoc where we found 2 Little Gulls, and Caspian and Common Terns at Kewaunee and Algoma.

We camped at Potowotami State Park and next day was a great Door County warbler day.  We traveled north along the lake stopping at Whitefish Dunes S.P., Caves Point County Park and Toft's Point Nature Preserve finding 13 species of warblers including Canada, Black & White, (both pictured), Chestnut-sided, Blackburnian, Tennessee, & N. Parula, etc.

We stayed at Wagon Trail Campground at Rowley's Bay and headed back down the bay stopping at Peninsula State Park, finding Red-shouldered Hawk.  We found Great Spangled Fritillary Butterflies on the milkweed and a full-grown Ring-necked Snake that only measures 8 inches.

We drove south through Collin's Marsh, Sheboygan Marsh and into the northern Kettle Moraine and camped at Long Lake.  We found this little Gray Tree Frog (looked green to us too) in our electric box.

There were lots of Blue-winged Warblers feeding young in the area.  We found the above Widow skimmer Dragonfly near Long Lake.

Next stop was Horicon Marsh, where this pair of Trumpeter Swans were reflecting on on the crazy traffic on Highway 49.

We added Least Bittern, Common Gallinule, Sora & Virginia Rails, and saw 4 Whopping Cranes near Ledge Road.

We camped at Ledge Park south of Mayville, later we toured all the shorebird ponds on the west side of the marsh finding 14 species including, Red-necked Phalaropes, Stilt & White-rumped Sandpipers and American Golden Plovers.

Next stop was the southern Kettle Moraine where we finally picked up the Hooded Warbler.  Several hours of scanning the Wind Lake Sod Farms turned up a Buff-breasted Sandpiper among all the Killdeer and Horned Larks.

We are now near Racine and checked the sand and jetty areas.  We had several Semipalmated Plovers (pictured) and one Black-bellied Plover.

Looking forward to more of Wisconsin, visiting with family and friends and getting more birds with fall migration.

Blessings & Prayers,
Ida & Ty Baumann

Monday, July 28, 2014

Montana to Iowa

While at Great Falls, Montana we spent several hours on a 9 miles auto tour at Benton National Wildlife Refuge.  These beautiful Am Avocets were adamant about protecting their growing fledglings.

The fields had many Upland Sandpipers curiously peeking their heads above the prairie grasses.

We followed the Lewis & Clark Trail and stayed at Battle Ridge campground.  We walked up King's Hill finding some interesting plants like this Pacific Coral Root and many butterflies on the plentiful flowers.
Field Crescent

This whole trip from Alaska, Canada and into the U.S.  has had an abundance of Black-billed Magpies.  We couldn't resist another photo opportunity!
Vicki, Nate,Becky Abi, Jim, Rachel, Ty & Ida

In our two day visit at Livingston, MT. we enjoyed visiting Ty's nephew Nate and family, plus our sister-in-law Vicki, visiting from Florida.

An early start into Yellowstone National Park, staying ahead of the crowds, we enjoyed the wildlife.  We saw thousands of Bison, herds of Pronghorns and Elk, and one Gray Wolf half-heartedly chasing a herd of Pronghorns.

We skipped the geysers and paint pots and headed to the alpine areas of Bear Tooth Pass.  Ty searched diligently for Rosy Finches only finding Am. Pipits, Horned Larks and White-crowned Sparrows.

Eastward to Devil's Tower National Monument in northeastern Wyoming.  We took a mile and a half walk around the base of this 876 foot monolith before the crowds arrived.

There is a huge Prairie Dog "Town" on the grounds - they are very used to getting their photo taken.

We settled into the Black Hills Custer- Crazy Horse campground on a hot afternoon.   By 7pm the sky was darkening and thunder was rolling.  Lightning was a continuous strobe followed by torrential downpour and 3/4 inch hail that proved to be deafening as it hit the roof of the RV.  Rivers of mud and water rolled down the hills of the campground.  There was a three hour calm and at 1am came round two and more hail, thankfully no damage to our vehicle although others weren't so fortunate.

The sun shone bright next morning as we traversed the curving roads of the Black Hills State Forest through beautiful pine forests and rock tunnels that we just barely made it through.
We took photos of Mt. Rushmore before it opened and decided to skip the crowds again.

This Mountain Bluebird emerging from his morning bath met us as we went through the 20 mile wildlife loop at Custer State Park.

We found wandering herds of bison, many White-tailed deer including these twins, and burros that are the descendants of pack animals brought to work the mines but are now free to roam.

We drove to the Badlands National Park in South Dakota, recent showers brought out the vivid colors in this unique landscape as well as many tiny toads.

The temperatures kept rising and hit 104 degrees by afternoon.  Too hot to settle down so we kept driving across South Dakota.  We saw flocks of Lark Buntings  along the highway.


We stayed at Snake Creek State Park on the Missouri River.  The wind of 30-40 mph continued through the night.

Driving through the remainder of SD into Iowa, we found a Com. Nighthawk that was resting on this fence post and our first of many, many Dickcissels.

Looking forward to Wisconsin and adding all the eastern birds to our yearly list.  Also looking forward to meeting with family and friends.

See you soon,  Ty & Ida Baumann