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.

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Unexpected Towhee

The last couple of weeks have been rough, both in terms of work and school which makes me want to be birding even more. Unfortunately the weather we have been experiencing has been less than sympathetic with the plight of migrating birds making it hard to actually get out and see anything. We just had another bought of snow if you can believe it not two days ago. Apparently the great state of Wisconsin doesn’t believe that it is supposed to be spring and is insisting on being difficult. The temperature since then has slowly crept up but it’s still not warm enough to keep the windows open at night which is my measure for nice spring weather. In any case though I made myself get out of the apartment and go wandering looking for whatever migrating species I could find. Right now I am particularly keen on trying to see migrating waterfowl since my friend has recently invested in a decent spotting scope making it easier to spot birds floating farther out in the water.

On my trip out looking for shorebirds I managed to snag three new species for my lifelist including, much to my amazement, a Spotted Towhee! I didn’t think they came this far east but there he was in his rufous-sided glory. When I first saw a flash of color I thought it was just a robin – I am so glad I decided to stick around to see what it was for sure before heading back to my car for the day. Sharing the picture and the experience with my local birding group has been a lot of fun. Others have wanted to see this bird and actually managed to relocate it which is pretty neat. I love seeing everyone’s photos as species move through on their migration.

Here are some of my favorite shots from the day:

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Yellow-rumped Warbler

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Incoming Canada Geese

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Killdeer

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Spotted Towhee

DSC_0034Song Sparrow