Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Rainy Days and Monday

Warblers.  We needed to find more warblers! This time around, our journey took us to the beautiful Baxter's Hollow Nature Conservancy, Governor Dodge and Wyalusing State Parks. Our goal?  To find the rare Cerulean and Kentucky Warblers. And maybe a Henslow's Sparrow?  The weather conditions were severe and it made our challenge more challenging:) 

As a birder with a lifebird target list, I am not allowed to stay and enjoy an area for a long period of time. These were some of those places I wished we could have camped for several days.  There was so much wonderful habitat and not enough time to properly explore it all.  And the storms didn't help either.  To make things worse, I was eating a HOT cheese and ham croissant.  I took one bite and a squirt of the hot melted liquid cheese burned me and stained my shirt.  And I wore this shirt for two days.  How gross was I? What we do for the birds:) 

A cool stream runs along a rock wall at Governor Dodge State Park
The challenge was working with overcast skies and severe storms.  And the storms were brewing! We were only given one shot during this ambitious Wisconsin trek.  So we made the most of it and did our best with the conditions provided. 

Song Sparrow on Lupin
After chasing birds in places like Baxter's Hollow and Governor Dodge State Park, we were beginning to have our doubts about these warblers. 

Willow Flycatcher
We did have amazing birds along the way that we don't always get to see in Arizona.  And places like Baxter's Hollow Nature Conservancy offered us the potential to spot some rare-to-Wisconsin warbler action.  

We navigate the wet and slick trails under the canopy of the dark forested Baxter's Hollow
We entered the emerald green area and I felt like I was in Central America again.  The humidity was thick and drops of moisture casually landed on my head.  

Viceroy Butterfly

Red-spotted Purple
I capture "memory photos" and memorize this incredibly beautiful space. 

Indigo Bunting
At Wyalusing State Park, the lifebird list begins to tick as we hear and study an Acadian Flycatcher well.  It was a thrill to see this bird.  In fact, after this trek, I have become really interested in Flycatchers.  They may all look similar but they are quite fascinating to watch.  Each one has a unique call with different habits.  And their habitat is fascinating!

Acadian Flycatcher
This flycatcher prefers the dark shaded forest.  We watched it feed on several bugs before moving onto our BIG challenge.....the Kentucky Warbler. 

The Kentucky Warbler IS a rare bird to Wisconsin during the month of June.  We heard a chip note that was different from the rest.  The bird was circling around us watching.  The rain also began to fall causing poor photography conditions. 

Kentucky Warbler
Eventually we spotted the warbler and were super thrilled to have seen the bird. The bigger question for me was, "Was it nesting?" I discovered in Wisconsin that a lot of the warblers that weren't on our list to find were actually there in smaller numbers.  They weren't supposed to nest there during the summer and yet some did.  I wish I would have studied these unexpected birds better.  But one warbler I did study well was the Cerulean Warbler. 

Cerulean Warbler
Our final mission brings us to a bird of concern, the Cerulean Warbler. It is a stunner of a warbler and listed as vulnerable with a high risk for extinction. But here in the park, there were great numbers breeding along the wooded area. 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
It was quite easily the most abundant warbler in the park. The blues are mesmerizing but you won't be able to tell from the above pic:)  The overcast skies had now become dark! Here is a little bit of background on this bird. The Cerulean Warbler is the fastest declining Neotropcial migrant songbird. Among the many threats they face, their wintering habitat in the northern Andes is dwindling rapidly. 

Today, the American Bird Conservancy is working with its Colombian partner, Fundación ProAves, to protect wintering habitat for these warblers and other songbirds. Click on the link for more information.  Every time I add a new life bird, my knowledge base increases and my birding powers become stronger:)  This is the benefit from constant research on our planet's birds.  I listen to their calls, memorize their habitat and read about their status.  And it takes time!

Field Sparrow
While it was really exciting to watch this warbler in the wild, it was also time to move on.  It's never easy but you are given a moment.  What will you do with that moment?  

Field Sparrows, Eastern Bluebirds, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds........everywhere!  A pair of Bald Eagles hunts along a river. 

Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Bluebirds nest. 

And we continue our adventures. For now, I'll leave you with a recording of our Eastern Whip-poor-will find and video from Karen Carpenter:) Until next time......


  1. Hi Kreesh, even if i don't know the birds, they are so beautiful through your lens. And i also love the flowers you caught and included, thanks for those. And that one on top of a bent lupine, that is so lovely, as i love lupines. Unfortunately, they don't grow in the tropics, so have seen them only 3 times yet. Have a nice day! Have you washed that soiled shirt now? haha.

    1. Hello there Andrea! I washed the shirt!!! First in cold water and then again. The stain is miraculously gone! I was so happy. It was an ugly yellow splotch! Nasty! Hope you are well and great to hear from you like always!

  2. Any day you see a warlber is a good day!

  3. I am so glad you saw the warbler you were lookig for as well as many morelovely birds. I loved the Karen Carpenter's video. A very unique voice

  4. Nice warbler finds! I dipped on the Henslow's Sparrow on several walks in Nelson's Lake in Kane County, Illinois and now I have to return to Florida without seeing one this breeding season.

  5. So pleased you saw the warbler and the butterflies are just gorgeous!! What wonderful adventures and sightings you have had Chris :)


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