Early this year, fellow birder and friend, Chris Rohrer and I, made plans to visit his home state of Wisconsin for some birding. I had been to Wisconsin before, but it was long before I was a serious birder. His family still resides in Wisconsin, so it was a no-brainer for me to take advantage of this adventure. I had decided to fly into Chicago as the airfare was much less than flights into Milwaukee. I was renting a car anyway and I planned on doing some birding on my way to the Manitowoc area to meet up with Chris the day after.
I knew that the habitat in this part of the United Staes was going to be much different than what I was used to in Arizona. For starters it was so GREEN and lush! My first stop took me to Ryerson Conservation Area in Illinois and I was immediately amazed at all the birds I was seeing. In fact this spot was where I found my first new life bird of the trip; the Field Sparrow. Yes, this bird was fairly high on my list of target birds. Many people might think sparrows unworthy, but they can be so cool to see the subtle difference in marking and coloration and hear their all-important songs. And I had a pair that were singing their hearts out and putting on a show for me. What a great welcoming crew!
Another bird that caught my eye were the Tree Swallows. Not a life bird by any means as we see them in migration in Arizona. But my photo opportunities of this bird were actually non-existent. In WI, they nest in nest boxes and can be quite accommodating. In the right light, these birds are stunningly beautiful.
Other birds that I got to observe for the first time in a long time were the American Redstart, Baltimore Oriole, and the Gray Catbird. It always brings a smile to my face when I see some of these birds after a long absence.
American Redstart - Male with prey.
American Redstart - Female
Also got to observe the very common Song Sparrow, which looks different in different parts of the country. They might look a bit different, but so far their chip note is pretty much the same and the song is very similar as well.
Song Sparrow with food for some little ones in a hidden nest.
Other findings included a pair of Raccoons in a hole of a tree, an unknown dragonfly, and some various flowers.
This one is a species of spiderwort.
This is just a start of some awesome birding in the state of Wisconsin and we had 2 targeted birds that are considered rare. Please follow along on future posts for the outcome and our success for these rarities.