During my trek back home to Wisconsin, I met up with friend and naturalist Nancy Gill. I think I first met Nancy through a former teacher of mine on Facebook. So once again, Facebook is legit as a social network. When and where would I have met Nancy otherwise?!
|Nancy discovers what may be a "fake goose". Turns out, it was a sneaky juvenile Trumpeter Swan! Excellent find!|
|Red Milkweed Beetle|
We then continued to talk about the Bald Eagle population in Wisconsin. This winter I reported that I had seen them everywhere. And while it is true that the Bald Eagle population has increased, it is now facing yet another decline due to feeding from carcasses that are left behind by hunters. The carcasses still contain the lead pellets which then poisons anything that feeds off the carcass. In fact, Mother Nature asked this Eastern Wood-Pewee to point out what the Federal Government is doing about hunting at Horicon on their side. However, the state is a different story. As reported before, California Condors face the same exact threats in AZ, CA and UT. CA has banned lead bullets. Arizona has a voluntary copper bullet rule. (lead spreads while copper does not but copper bullets are more expensive than lead) I thought most hunters would ignore that suggestion but I was shocked to discover that most hunters are responsible and have adopted copper over lead here in AZ. I actually sat in on a hunting lecture to get a little education and was quite happy about what they were saying. So hopefully the state of Wisconsin will adopt similar measures (if they are not planning on doing so already).
|Eastern Wood-Pewee answers a question I had about lead bullets. This is on the federally owned portion of Horicon|
Nancy showed me some areas around Horicon that Wisconsin birders normally explore. Last time we were there, I tried figuring out a route on this massive wetland area and connected some of the dots. In AZ, we have HUGE tracts of land that we lump into one birding list like the Santa Cruz Flats and the Cienegas Grasslands. These stretches go on for miles and miles. So where do birders normally stop for counts on these large tracts of land? Nancy helped me figure out a route on our trek this time around. It looks like there are two solid ways to spend your day!
One of the areas that is pretty spectacular is called the Main Dike road. In this location, the birds like to stay hidden. However, the ones that are hiding are good ones and worth the search efforts:)
What can I tell you all about Wisconsin birding? I know that when I'm here, I feel at peace. I know that when I meet Wisconsin birders, I feel a connection. Birding here is not the same edgy kind of birding found in Arizona. I don't feel like my car is going to get broken into or that I'll die from heat exhaustion. The birds are typical standard fare for the US. Rarities? Yes, there are some rarities but they are usually seen in Arizona. So the edgy nature of finding some rare first-to-the US Mexican or ocean bird isn't there. And it makes the birding super chill and fun.
And I totally get why people get excited about going to Arizona. We have some of the best birds in the world! BUT, after my Grandma's passing, all I wanted to do was get lost in the reeds, listen to the waves and watch the gulls. Wisconsin is the way, I think, birding should be. And after every outing, it should be served with homemade blueberry pie and a side of vanilla ice cream. On our day out, Nancy made delicious brownies for our trek. THAT's Wisconsin.
Oh by the way! Wisconsin doesn't have drinking fountains. We have bubblers.
We have McDonald's restaurants that proudly show off our natural wonders. Sure, we may not be as edgy as the Grand Canyon but we have some of the best scenery in this country! I've met a lot of people who take Wisconsin for granted. They've told me it's "boring" and "the same old; same old". I thought the same thing once but not anymore. Nancy has known for years what I needed to figure out on my own.......that my hometown and state are truly special places. She has the most spectacular photography that captures the color and feel of Manitowoc County during any season. Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall. All beautiful. All special in their own way.
Spectacular flowers during the summer will make you stop and stare. The crisp autumn air may carry the scent of pumpkin or apple pie as the leaves turn their colors. Each season has its moment. Each season brings with it a different Wisconsin dish. And if you think I'm making that up, you haven't met a proper Wisconsinite! We LOVE to drink and eat properly!
The Horicon Marsh and Wildlife Area is just a taste of the magical world of Wisconsin. My next trek to Wisconsin and Minnesota will be up in the northern region towards Lake Superior. This part of Wisconsin is known for its vast area of forests. Okay.....so I have a secret to admit.......
|It rained like crazy at my Grandma's place!|