To get more birds, Chris and I, both knew that we were going to have to make a trip to the central and also the southwestern part of Wisconsin, to get some key birds. A couple of them were rarities that are hard to find. So we headed out on a long drive towards the southwestern part of the state and along the way we planned on stopped at Baxter Hollow State Recreation Area near the town of Baraboo. Google Maps lead us into the north entrance and it was like being lost alone in a forest until a nice young lady from Nature Conservancy came in and told us about the south entrance. We then ventured to the south entrance per her directions and once there we also had the area to ourselves. Both spots are great for birding, but the south entrance was a bit kinder as far as birds. This day was hot and humid and it became pretty sultry by the time we had arrived about noon. Best photo opportunity was with Indigo Buntings, one of North America's most beautiful blue birds. They were quite numerous in this location. Ovenbirds were also high in numbers and very vocal, but they sure did not want to pose for any photos.
From here we headed on to Governor Dodge State Park and by this time the humidity was starting to build and in conjunction with the sun, it was getting a bit uncomfortable. But we still made the best of it before finally checking in to the local motel. This is a beautiful park and on the trail to the Steven's Falls for a cool down, we had a fairly cooperative Willow Flycatcher to entertain us.
Barn Swallow on nest
Coincidentally, there was going to be a presentation on the bird life of Governor Dodge State Park later that evening, so we decided to attend. It was very informative and while sitting outdoors we were hearing some of the nocturnal birds such as Barred Owls and the Eastern Whip-poor-will. The Barred Owl was not a new bird for me, but the Eastern Whip-poor-will was.
It is one of those birds that a person is more apt to hear and not actually see. So I attempted to make a recording of one calling. It is actually a video, so there is nothing to see but black. However, the incessant calling is quite obvious and the call is one that gave it it's name.
Also took several other photos of some butterflies as well that were interesting.
A field of wild lupines.
Viceroy (Not a Monarch, but it looks similar)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
The next day we headed for Wyalusing State Park which is located in the southwestern part of the state. Our goal here were a couple of desired warbler species. While trying to locate the warblers, we were pleasantly surprised to hear an Acadian Flycatcher, which belongs to the infamous family of Empidonax flycatchers. Like most in this family of birds, this one has a distinct call. kind of like it is saying 'peeet-sah'. (Very similar to pizza.)
Then the 'fun' part began, trying to see and locate warblers with dark, rain laden skies. Besides hearing and catching glimpses of Prothonotary Warblers, we also got Cerulean and Kentucky Warblers. Both gave us less than satisfactory looks and even worse photos. However, what we get sometimes in this scavenger hunt for birds, is not always having the bird displaying well for us. (As you will see on a future post for this trip.)
Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay
One more stop on this day took us to Mill Bluff State Park; probably not considered a high point for most birders, but one that we are so glad we went. While walking around at this small park, a pair of Blue-winged Warblers came in to visit us. This was another warbler high on my target list and these two made up for the stinkers (Cerulean and Kentucky) that we found earlier in the day at Wyalusing. These were the most cooperative and gave us lots of photo ops.
The next day was going to be a special one as we were going to attempt to find the 'Holy Grail' of birding in Wisconsin. Stay tuned for more posts.