Just because I haven’t been blogging doesn’t mean I haven’t been birding. In fact I’ve been out birding each weekend and while I started the post you’re currently reading two weeks ago, I’ve been busy reading, doing yard work, and disproportionally slacking. Now that I’m back at it, I thought I’d combine my weekend exploits into two posts recapping the month of October.
It was a beautiful fall weekend in Wisconsin and taking full advantage of being outdoors, I was rewarded handsomely. Saturday morning (Oct. 10th) Dar, Ross, and myself headed out to the Brillion State Wildlife Area in search of Nelson’s Sparrow. Dar had been out there earlier in the week and found patches of smartweed – a favored habitat of our target species. I was introduced to this wildlife area a few years ago by Dar and it’s become one of my favorite local areas due to the lack of people; you can hike this area for hours without seeing another soul – my kind of place!
In the spring this area normally floods into a large pond and I scope waterfowl from the edge. During the fall the water recedes leaving small ponds and mudflats. On this morning, with rubber boots on, we trekked farther into the mud and muck than any of us ever had and it was strangely exhilarating to be standing shin-deep in muck, dragging heavily clad boots forward one step at a time.
I know what you’re asking – “Hey Knucklehead, you’re three photos into a post on birding and not a single bird photo. What gives?” Well, you don’t need to get pissy!
Although we missed on the Nelson’s Sparrows, we were treated to a flock of 35 White-rumped Sandpipers; easily the largest flock any of us had ever seen. Trekking into the deep mud, I was able to scope the birds from a relatively close distant and get some decent photos.
It’s not often that I take a selfie, but after sludging around in the guck and glop on a beautiful morning with a couple of great birding friends, and seeing that large flock of White-rumped Sandpipers, I caught myself in a moment of bliss and couldn’t resist.
Oh yes, and Ducky made an appearance! The previous weekend was our birding clubs monthly meeting (Northeast Wisconsin Birding Club). We travelled to Wausau to take in the 40th anniversary of the Birds in Art exhibit at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. The exhibit was outstanding and one that I highly recommend if you’re in the area. The museum was giving out the free ducks and asking people to post photos with the tag #birdsinartducky
So, you can expect to see my Ducky making appearances in upcoming posts.
On the way out to Brillion we made a few stops and came across a flock of Rusty Blackbirds. This is a species I always enjoy seeing, because they are in rapid decline; populations have declined 85-90% in the past 40 years!
That’s it for now – I hope to have Part II completed by weeks end and then it’s back to tackling my Costa Rica Trip Reports. Until then, Bird It Up!