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Friday, June 22, 2007

Flirting with Wisconsin

Bright Spot in Wisconsin for Wildlife

On the recommendation of a birder we ran into at the Rice Lake Wildlife Refuge, we made a brief visit to Wisconsin’s Crex Meadows Wildlife Area. We had only just arrived when we stopped the car to check out something that was fluttering nearby - a Field Sparrow. I’ll grant, not the most exciting looking bird but it was exciting for me, it was my FIRST LIFER FOR THE TRIP! Hurrah! Yippy Skippy! About $#%&ing time!

My 'Lifer' Field Sparrow

At our next stop brief stop by a waterway where Don picked up another lifer, a Trumpeter Swan. The slender bird had several yellow collars around its neck.

Don's Lifer Trumpeter Swan; it came LABELED even! How lucky was that?

A bit later we stood staring into a marsh, flummoxed by a strange buzzing call. Was it bug or bird? Just about the time I decided we were hearing an insect, I spotted my ‘insect’ calling from a tree, brownish feathers and all; a Clay-colored Sparrow. Driving on, playing leap frog with several cars full of senior citizens (oh shut up, they were at least three years older than us) we found another lifer for Don, a Harris Sparrow.

Clay-colored Sparrow, singing buzzing his little heart out

We made a few more stops and then it happened, we hit the birdie jack pot – a fallout of warblers –birds stopping off from their migration for a snack. There were Grosbeaks to the left of us and Warblers to the right of us! Birdie heaven!

Running back and forth in the day use area we found: Cape May, Palm and Black & White and Golden-winged Warblers,American Redstart and Blue-headed Vireo, more Harris Sparrows and loads of White-throated Sparrows.

My favorite however was a group of female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and one very vocal male that sang sweetly as he rummaged through a tree.

Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Even this guy's arm wing pits are attractive.

It was a great bout of birding we had. Nearly sated, we headed off to Duluth – me reluctantly so, because I would have rather canceled Duluth and stayed put. Still it was a great hour of birding with loads of lifers for Don.

Cape May Warbler

Sandhill Cranes in the midwest are all rust stained
and in need of a good scrubbing; it's a shame really.

so-so view of a not so-so bird - an American Redstart

Blue-headed Vireo

Eastern Chipmunk - no feathers, but still noteworthy and cute

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