Saturday, April 15, 2017

Into Wisconsin

Golden-crowned Kinglet

It's the end of March as we cross Iowa and a corner of Illinois into Wisconsin.  It doesn't look or feel like spring yet but it sounds like it with the bird song in the air.  We stay at Wyalusing State Park for one night and Golden-Crowned Kinglets are everywhere.

We then drive to Goose Pond north of Madison hoping to catch the end of the Tundra Swan migration through Wisconsin, we see over 200.  The surprise is that we find out there is a Brant Goose being seen in the area.  We catch up with the bird on Harvey Road.  A rare find for Wisconsin.
White-fronted Goose

Tundra Swan


We spend a couple days visiting Ida's sister Ella in the Westfield area and find this beautiful Ring-necked Pheasant.

Since it still feels like winter, we decide to head north and see if we can find some "winter" birds that we haven't seen for a few years.  We find a nice flock of Bohemian Waxwings in Rhinelander near the hospital.

Evening Grosbeak

We headed to Alvin and the feeders are still hosting some great Evening Grosbeaks, Pine Siskins, Purple Finch, and Am. Goldfinches.

We spent the night at the Pine River "campground" east of Three Lakes,  Most of the lakes were still frozen over and as you can see there was still unmelted snow.

Walking down Sheltered Valley Road east of Giant Pine  Rd. we came upon this handsome Spruce Grouse just resting in the trees.

Spruce Grouse


Next morning we heard some Gray Jays but they didn't show themselves.  But this Barred Owl didn't mind having his photo taken and didn't fly away.
Hooded Merganser

Red Squirrel

Smiley Face Sunset on Van Patten Road

Trumpeter Swan

Heading back south, we stopped at Navarino and watched the Wood Frogs and Spring Peepers from the new deck over the Marsh.  If you haven't visited for a while, you should really stop in.  Then we spent the night at the newly renovated Observation Tower on Van Patten Rd. A pair of Trumpeter Swans were in the pond to the north.  Red-winged Blackbirds made it sound like Spring was here.
Red-winged Blackbird sounds off

Greater Scaup

We then headed to Lake Michigan to pick up some winter migrants still lingering on the water.  We found Greater Scaup, Long-tailed Ducks, Black, White-winged and Surf Scoters, Red-throated Loons, an elusive Western Grebe and Horned Grebes.  Good additions to our year list.
American Tree Sparrow

At Two Rivers we found this pair of Greater Black-backed Gulls.  And later in Sheboygan we had the huge, beautiful Glaucous Gull.  At first we missed the Harlequin Ducks but a second trip to the North Point found them mixed in with a large Bufflehead flock.
Glaucous Gull

Red-breasted Mergansers

We had heard the Great Tits were at Indian Mound Park in Southern Sheboygan and were really hoping to see them.  First walk in - no luck, but after lunch with Ty's Aunt and Uncle we returned and there they were.  High in the pines but accommodating  for a quick photo.
Camping at Kohler-Andrae State Park

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Carolina Wren

We then went through the Southern Kettle Moraine and found this beauty - A Carolina Wren at the entrance to Rome Riverside Campground.  We didn't add many more birds here and since there was some bad weather predicted for the southeastern part of the state we decided to head north to Horicon Marsh for a day or so.
A sure sign of Spring - Crocus blooming

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

This Bald Eagle is almost in adult plumage but lacking the full white head.  He was having lots of fun stirring up all the ducks along Hwy. 49 at Horicon Marsh.

The nicest surprise along the western side of the marsh were three Whooping Cranes that flew into a corn field very near to us.

Rusty Blackbird on flooded Rock River

Palm Warbler

Brown Thrasher

Tree Swallows

We then drove down to Bong State Recreation Area and found the Short-eared Owls the first evening but it was too dark for a photo.  Tree Swallows were everywhere, checking out nesting cavities and boxes.  The next morning it was frosty fog.  Beautiful but no owls.  We then went back to Ottawa Lake in the Kettle Moraine and are now in Janesville visiting friends, Bill and Glenda Berger.
Frosty Fog sunrise at Bong SRA

Happy Resurrection Day to all,
Love & Prayers,
Ty & Ida Baumann