[wisb] Trumpeter Swans at Bakken's Pond (Sauk Co.)

Despite the brutally cold wind today, four intrepid birders cruised some of the 
roads and hotspots southwest and west of Madison today.  Nolan Pope, Mark 
Hodgson and I met Peter Gorman in Mt. Horeb.  He twisted our arms and forced us 
(ahem) to first stop at Sjolind's Chocolate Shop for scones and cocoa or coffee 
(or both, as I had the Brazilian hot chocolate.)  Sufficiently fortified, we 
went looking west of town for field birds, but had only a few Horned Larks.  At 
Thousands' Rock Prairie south of Blue Mounds, a dark-morph Rough-leg was 
hovering in the wind, and there was a light-morph not far away at County F and 
Hwy 151.  In fact, we saw five or six Rough-legs before we ever saw a Red-tail, 
and we never saw a Kestrel on the day.  
 
Despite checking a lot of roads and fields in Dane, Iowa and Sauk Counties, we 
were coming up empty on anything but Horned Larks.  At Bakken's Pond west of 
Spring Green, we had 29 Trumpeter Swans at the next overlook west of the "main" 
entrance  (the one with the sign.)  None of us could recall seeing that many 
Trumpeters at once before - fun to hear how different they sound from Tundras 
in a group.  There were a few Mallards and over 100 Canada Geese. but we 
couldn't find the previously reported Ross's.  
 
Arena Boat Landing was very quiet - nothing along the road or creek.  There was 
a pair of adult Bald Eagles (definite size difference) apparently courting over 
the canoe launch.  We checked Fortier Rd., which overlooks the marsh at Arena 
B.L., and finally had a flock of Lapland Longspurs, but they were very skittish 
and never gave us sustained looks.  A stop at the end of Blynn Rd. between 
Arena and Mazomanie got us a Purple Finch by the springs down in the wildlife 
area, and one lingering Common Grackle from the flock of six that had been 
there previously.  A stop to look for Redheaded WPs at Pleasant Valley 
Conservancy south of Black Earth was unproductive and very cold, so we called 
it a day.  
 
Thanks to Peter G. for driving (and for the homemade schnapps to warm up 
afterwards - this may have been the most civilized day of birding I've ever 
experienced... a guy could get spoiled...) 
 
Peter Fissel 
Madison, Dane Co. 
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