Monday, August 19, 2013

Traveling Wisconsin - Here and back again

Heavy thunderstorms pelted the RV at Kohler-Andrae  State Park.  Thankfully not the tornadoes and wind damage we observed on our way to Green Bay.   We stopped to see Ty's Aunt Carol & Uncle Jack in Howard's Grove and enjoyed their beautiful, wildlife friendly landscaped yard.

We surprised everyone as we crashed the Friend's of the Wildlife Sanctuary Picnic.  It was great to get reconnected with "Friends", volunteers and WLS staff.  We walked the waterfalls area and the prairie plantings and new lighting looked great.

Also joined the "Swift Night Out" with the bird club, counting at city chimneys then meeting at Titletown restaurant.

We'll be back in Green Bay soon but we had to leave for Madison stopping at Horicon for more birds.  We again found the Hudsonian Godwit (on left), much closer than our earlier trip.  We added Red-necked Phalaropes and Buff-breasted Sandpiper - making 20 species of shorebirds seen at Horicon this month.

We traveled west and stayed at Little Bluff Campground near Poynette for a couple days.  Ty called in this Great Horned Owl while actually looking for warblers.

We spent a few hours at the MacKensie Environmental Center walking through the live wildlife exhibits, museum and visiting with Smokey the Bear.

We are now at Madison staying at Lake Farm Park, walking the extensive hiking and biking trails that were surrounded by prairie flowers.

We walked to Nine Springs impoundment ponds and followed the dikes looking for ducks and shorebirds.  It was pretty quiet but has great potential.  but we did find this leopard frog.

Best of all in Madison was a nice visit with our son Troy and his wife Carmen.  We went to some great adventure movies and good eating establishments.

Fall is in the air with these Jack O' Lantern mushrooms leading the way.

We'll soon be saying good-bye to the state capital and journeying northeast back to Green Bay for fall migration, visits with old friends and watching the Packers.

God Bless!
Ty & Ida Baumann

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Eastern Wisconsin

Horicon Marsh is the largest fresh water marsh in North American and draws a myriad of migrating waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds and songbirds to the area.

This Wilson's Snipe was one of nine that ventured unto the Main Dike Road during a heavy rain.

This highly endangered species - the Whooping Crane - was observed several times from the Marsh Road Dike.

We spent three days camping at Ledge County Park overlooking the marsh.  We found 110 species during this visit.

Next birding area calling us was North Point in Sheboygan, we stayed for three days at Kohler-Andrae State Park.  There was a great commotion at our campsite and it turned out to be a family of Cooper's Hawks.  Adults were carrying food to fledged young that were food begging all day long.

At North Point we found this mallard family among the thousands of Ring-billed, Herring, and both Black-backed Gull species.

We traveled north along the lake stopping at harbors and beaches.  We found this Canvasback at Manitowoc and an adult Franklin's Gull at Two Rivers.

We enjoyed some quality time visiting with the Stukenberg family near Algoma. Our friendship started 20 years ago on a missions trip to Guatemala where they hosted the church's youth group.  We joined them for church on Sunday.

No Wisconsin birding trip is complete without a trip to Door County.  We stayed a night a Potawatomi  State Park where we found this family of Wild Turkeys.

We drove north along the Lake to the tip of Gills Rock and south along the Bay and camped 2 days at Peninsula State Park where fawns were plentiful (yes, another photo - hard to resist - they're so cute).

We finally found a Little Gull, with 7 Boneparte's Gulls in the Ephraim Harbor.

Heard the word that birds were really good at Horicon, so we headed back south.  We stopped at Red River Park north of Dykesville and found 6 Am. Avocets;  Hwy. 29 pond yielded at White-rumped Sandpiper; and back at Horicon we found the Hudsonian Godwit and this Wilson's Phalarope.

Each morning we found a large mixed flock of egrets, herons, Am. Pelicans and cormorants feeding in this channel along Hwy. 49.  We also had hundreds of shorebirds, Trumpeter Swans, Sandhill Cranes, and ducks.

We spent time on the auto tour where we found this young Least Bittern (note the fuzzy down on head and back),  one of the half dozen encountered.

On the way back to camp each day, we ventured out the Main Dike.  This Virginia Rail family took it's good time crossing the dike.  These chicks looked like they were fresh out of the egg, a late nesting.  (Photo below)

Needing to stop at Horn's RV Center for our annual motorhome check-up, we camped at Kohler Andrae State Park.

This active Marsh Wren was caught in the act of preening on the Black River Marsh boardwalk near the campground.

Enjoying familiar biring area in Wisconsin!
Ty & Ida Baumann