Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Greene prairie

Today, I walked the Grady tract and found clumps of birds-foot violet, lupine and puccoon in bloom. Then, when I made it to the prairie, I saw quite a few spectacles, including the yellow star-grass  I'd been looking for. There was plenty of wood-betony. Then, I spotted a small white lady's-slipper along the boardwalk. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015


This is my "postage stamp" backyard that I've posted about before. There's a nice white pine...
...that sprinkles my jeep with sap
...and then a teeny strip of grass between my window and the parking lot. Just enough green space to add some feeders.
no hummingbirds yet!
Today is rainy (hence all the water in the pics), so I'm hoping it will push a few more "May flowers" up.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Rare Bird Records in WI - 3rd week May

  • Pacific loon
  • white-tailed kite
  • yellow rail
  • long-billed curlew
  • curlew sandpiper
  • ruff
  • Arctic tern
  • burrowing owl
  • western kingbird
  • Bewick's wren
  • curve-billed thrasher
  • green-tailed towhee
  • lark bunting
  • Baird's sparrow
  • black-headed grosbeak

Friday, May 15, 2015


A handy tip of the day: if you look at your shape files in a normal folder view, you see a bunch of files. The database (*.dbf) is your attribute table, so if you just need to "export" that and work with it, just copy it.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

World Series of Birding!

Today, I participated in the Swarovski Carbon Footprint Cup with the Scarlet Knight-Herons, sponsored by Birds & Blooms Magazine and Cape May Bird Observatory! Here are some rules, for those (most people...) not familiar with birding competitions or wondering how on earth an honor system can really work. If not all your teammates detect a bird, it is labeled "dirty" because your entire team must detect 95% of your species. So, you can't have many birds on your list that not everyone agrees on. This is a way to both counter-balance by number of team members and add accountability. Also, no single observer birds.

The forecast was fog the whole day, which was bad news for us (and mostly lifted late morning). When there is fog, birds (like us) have limited visibility and won't be migrating. Also, a lot of nocturnal birds will be less active. We started out at the harbor at midnight looking for waterbirds by silhouette, and found our first nocturnal bird: black-crowned night heron. In the lights of the harbor, a teammate spotted what we called common loons drifting through the lit water. An osprey was perched atop a piling, and forsters terns were still active. Then, we made our way to some spots for nocturnal forest birds. Since it was so damp, cool and foggy, we didn't have much luck. We had a begging nestling great horned owl (about the best you can hope for this time of spring) and a very weakly singing screech owl. The loudest, most definitive song we heard in the forest at night was a chuck-wills-widow. One of our teammates heard a flight call overhead that only one other teammate heard.

Then, we got to a marsh for daybreak, and pedaled some rural roads from there. We got to see a PAINTED BUNTING that had been spotted on the island before the competition, and was still hanging around. We checked out a forested campsite and places with water views. Eventually, we got to a vantage point for sea-watching and hit the state park. At the entrance to the park, there was a kettle of hawks with 2 Mississippi kites at the top, which was one of our best species of the day! Then, we re-checked a few natural areas and got to some dune crossings to scope. At the first one, I had my best "pick" of the day with parasitic jaegers chasing terns where the DE bay meets the ocean.

We tied for 1st!! It was a crazy day of 39 miles by bike and maybe 6-7 by foot on Cape Island. All in all, we tallied 126 species.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Spring Ephemerals

There are many flowers in bloom right now in Bill's woods. Today, we saw spring beauty and trout lily.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Butterflies in May

I sorted made this list of dates from the histograms on Wisconsin Butterflies.
  • late 2nd week May (starting roughly May 12) into 3rd (May 19)
    • Henry's elfin
    • eastern pine elfin
    • Frigga fritillary
    • Freija fritillary
    • Chryxus Arctic
    • columbine duskywing
  • 3rd week May
    • WV white
    • hoary elfin
    • frosted elfin
    • western tailed blue
    • "spring" spring azure
    • dreamy duskywing
    • sleepy duskywing
    • juvenal's duskywing
    • mottled duskywing
    • Persius duskywing
    • cobweb skipper
  • last week May
    • American copper
    • brown elfin
    • silvery blue
    • Gorgone checkerspot
    • question mark
    • red-disked alpine
    • Jutta arctic
    • dusted skipper
    • common roadside-skipper