Sparrows Everywhere!

The stress of trying to move while dealing with school and work has been getting to me so I knew if I could get my lazy butt out of bed this morning for some birding it would help me feel better. I haven’t been doing the things I love lately (like birding) ┬ábecause of my stress level but by not birding and other things the stress seems worse.┬áThis morning’s birding session was all about getting back to the basics and decompressing. The trip was cold but absolutely gorgeous with the low rising sun peeking through the trees. There were mixed flocks of sparrows, finches, cardinals and others everywhere so the trip was a fruitful one. There had been a Harris’ sparrow rumored to be in the area but he did not make an appearance for me this morning. I did however get a new species for my lifelist, White-Crowned Sparrow, which was awesome. Additionally the White-Throated Sparrows and the Song Sparrows were extremely cooperative and posed for many photos. I had a lot of fun just watching all of them jostling around and picking at tasty bits on the trail. I’m so glad I went out this morning – I really needed this reset to help prepare for the upcoming week.

Here are some of my favorite shots from the day.

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Where Did August Go?

I cannot believe that August is basically already on its way out the door – what happened to summer? What happened to school-free days without homework and students all over the place? I’m not ready for school to be back in session whether it’s my own classes or the students returning to my place of work. This month has been rough in terms of workload and stress since we are gearing up for the fall semester. I’ve been heavily preoccupied trying to look for a permanent place of habitation which is positively distracting me from work somewhat. The stress though is still very unpleasant.

I’ve already heard rumblings of fall migration. People have been posting sightings of Rufous Hummingbirds, White-face Ibis, and Red Knots to my birding group’s Facebook page. I never knew Rufous Hummingbirds really came through Wisconsin but apparently they do. I would love to get a chance to see one.

One of the highlights from a recent birding trip was what looked to be the family home of a pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers. One of the adults was hanging out at the entrance. I didn’t get to see the family all together so it’s hard to tell for sure how many babies are still around (if any). I did like seeing the nest hole though. Maybe they will be back next year.

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Wish I’d had a better zoom on my camera for the shot to be more detailed but getting a 400mm+ zoom lens is a ways out in the future for me right now. Hopefully someday though. I would love love love to be able to post pictures similar to some of the ones that show up in my birding group where you can basically count the birdy eyelashes.

Yard Visitors

Well ok I don’t really have a yard per-se, but the courtyard area behind my apartment is often full of little flitting things, especially as migration continues for the season. I have finally seen the neighborhood Dark-eyed Juncos – they were bopping around in the grass. Periodically I would see their white tail feathers flash as they flew back and forth. Unfortunately they did not want to sit still long enough for me to get a clear shot of them. I wanted to not have to try and take the pictures through the screen door but my movement spooked them farther away. Still it was nice to see them. I’m keeping my camera close at hand in case they come back so i can try and get a few more shots.

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Mr. Bluebird

I have just gotten (somewhat) settled in my new apartment. That is, I’m living in a sea of boxes but everything has been carried over from the old place & keys turned in so yes technically I am moved. There is still a long way to go before I get everything unpacked and feel like it’s really home but it is getting there. Slowly.

My new apartment is right near a nature preserve which is awesome – I can just walk a block and go right in. I did a preliminary excursion in there to scope everything out and see what there was to see. Lots of flocks of little birds like house sparrows and yellow-rumped warblers were out and about feeding on the insects and seeds in the tall grasses. Part of the preserve is being restored to natural prairie which is pretty cool. A pair of sandhill cranes were walking through that area picking up tasty morsels as they moved.

The highlight of the trip was a gorgeous bluebird who posed on a birdhouse in the prairie restoration area. Handsome little thing was such a brilliant shade of blue – it was a lot of fun to see him.

As fall migration continues my goal is of course to add species to my life-list but for now I am just content getting settled and getting to know the paths in the area near my new place. The fall colors are becoming spectacular so I am also looking forward to some great scenery photo opportunities in the near future. Here are some of the pictures I took on my walk:

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