Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Forest Floor

"In the woods there must be a sense that time has ceased and that for a moment we pause on the edge of some extraordinary discovery, that for the space of a heartbeat we are close to knowledge, on the verge of the solution to all problems, on the threshold of an answer."

― Faith Baldwin


Pheasant Branch Conservancy creek corridor

We're definitely past spring migration's peak, but birds will continue to pour into Wisconsin until early June. My birding friends and I have done well with wood warblers at the Pheasant Branch Conservancy creek corridor. I can't remember the last time we got Hooded, Prothonotary, Kentucky, Connecticut, and Black-throated Blue in the same season. Here's the complete list of warblers that were present during the past few weeks:

Ovenbird
Louisiana Waterthrush
Northern Waterthrush
Golden-winged Warbler
Blue-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Connecticut Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Kentucky Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
American Redstart
Cape May Warbler
Northern Parula
Magnolia Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Palm Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Canada Warbler
Wilson's Warbler

A Cerulean Warbler was discovered by Trudy Karlson at the creek corridor, but I was at work at the time. I tried to find the bird after afterwards, but was unable to relocate it. I missed this species at the conservancy last year as well, but found plenty of them at Wylausing State Park where they are exceptionally abundant nesters.


Chestnut-sided Warbler

Though there is much birding yet to be done this spring, my attention is beginning to shift toward the forest floor for wildflowers, spiders, insects, and whatever else I can find there. Observation with attentiveness reveals a world as beautiful and strange as something rendered out of a CGI science fiction movie like Avatar's Pandora. But this place is real and not an artificial theme park.


Jack-in-the-pulpit

Unlike a theme park, you're welcome to visit and explore public natural areas just about any time you like. Apart from the expense of binoculars or a camera, the cost is minimal. Some places are more popular than others, but are no long lines to witness Nature's awesome beauty.


Maidenhair fern


Hexagonal-pored Polypore


Gray-cheeked Thrush

This might be my final post for May 2017, so I'll end it with a bang of wildflowers. Sometimes I scroll through my blog's archive to relive the moments of April and May. I won't soon forget all the wonderful birds that stopped at the creek corridor this spring and graced us with their presence, even if only for a few days. Most have continued northward on their way to the boreal forest where they will spend the summer months. Additionally, I'm grateful for spending time in the field with friends, sharing and admiring the thrills of spring with kindred spirits.


Wild Ginger


Wild Ginger


American Cranberrybush


Starry Solomon's Seal


Columbine


Virginia Waterleaf


Virginia Waterleaf


Showy Orchis


Showy Orchis

Wildflowers ... and a cool spider, too!


Tuffed-legged Orbweaver (Mangora placida)

Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
May 21, 2017 6:28 AM - 10:25 AM
59 species

Mallard
Great Blue Heron
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Philadelphia Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Veery
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Swainson's Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Ovenbird
Tennessee Warbler
Kentucky Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Northern Parula
Magnolia Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Canada Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch

All images © 2017 Mike McDowell

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