[wisb] weekend birding notes plus notes on missing migrants.

  • From: Chris West <little_blue_birdie@xxxxxxx>
  • To: "[Wisb]" <wisbirdn@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 1 May 2012 07:42:47 -0500

Hi everyone, 

Rob Pendergast and I spent the weekend birding around southern WI. The weather 
played a big role in finding birds. I was amazed at the LACK of species. Entire 
families of birds were missing this weekend. 
On Sat, we attended the WSO field trip to White River Marsh. See Tom Schultz's 
post on that. Afterwards, Rob and I birded our way back to Stevens Point and 
around Portage County. We ended up finding a Dunlin at 6th Ave marsh and had a 
flyby Merlin. 106 species for the day wasn't too shabby considering the rather 
poor weather. 
On Sunday, I led a Madison Audubon field trip to Mazo Bottoms, Arena and Spring 
Green.  At Mazo, Ovenbirds, Blue-winged Warblers, Baltimore Orioles and 
Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were singing. I also heard one Hermit Thrush singing 
first thing in the morning.  All other expected species were missing. 
Amazingly, the ONLY migrant we saw that morning was Yellow-rumped Warbler.  
Grasshopper and Lark Sparrows are back at Spring Green Preserve, but the 
Mockingbird is not. The windy conditions made for difficult birding on the 
prairie. After the field trip, Rob and I made the run to Mukwanago to see the 
Cinnamon Teal. That was WI state bird #325.  

Yesterday, we headed down to Wyalusing State Park. The almost complete lack of 
residents (much less migrants) was astounding!  Yellow-throated Warbler, 
Henslow's Sparrow and Louisiana Waterthrush were the only resident specialties 
that had returned so far. Missing were: Acadian Flycatcher Kentucky 
WarblerWinter WrenProthonotary WarblerAmerican RedstartCerulean Warbler (we 
heard only one, briefly, down at the Boat Landing) 
We did find one Black-throated Green Warbler. The 6 species of warblers we saw 
were the only 6 species that have been seen at Wyalusing since April 1st.Bev 
Pozega emailed me yesterday afternoon to report their first Ruby-throated 
Hummingbird of the season (that arrived after I had left of course).

The lack of migrants was amazing. Rob and I ended up seeing 131 species for the 
weekend. The vast majority were residents that have slowly trickled in in the 
last few weeks. 

Some notes on missing species: 
Waterfowl: present in decent numbers and expected species. No Am Black Ducks 
however. Weird. 
Grebes: 3 species. Expected numbers. 
Herons: Great Blue and Egret were present. Where are the Green Herons?? Also, 
neither Night-heron was seen. 
Raptors: species present, but lower numbers than I typically see. 
Rails and Gallinules: present in species and numbers. 
Plovers: what plovers?  Killdeer was the only one. 
Sandpipers: Both Yellowlegs in lower than average numbers, only a few Solitary 
and only one Spotted.  Uplands were present in usual numbers, as were Snipe and 
Woodcock. One Dunlin made up the entire rest of the shorebird species.  Where 
are the rest of the shorebirds?  (actually, I know the answer. I just heard a 
report from Cheyenne Bottoms in KS of shorebirds in the hundreds of thousands.) 
Gulls: present in expected species and numbers 
Terns: same as gulls with the exception of Black Tern. We saw only one. 
Doves: all three. 
Cuckoos: What Cuckoos?? Yellow-billed and Black-billed are now late in 
arriving.  I've never missed either species at Wyalusing around the first of 
Swifts: What swifts? I don't know how many towns we drove through, but nary a 
swift was to be found. over a week late in arriving. 
Hummingbirds: nada. Also late in arriving. 
Woodpeckers: all the expected species in expected numbers as usual. 
Flycatchers: What flycatchers?  E Phoebe was the only one. Interestingly 
enough, the only other flycatcher species that have shown up this spring have 
been vagrants.... 
Vireos: also missing and late.  
Swallows: All present and accounted for except Bank. Where are they? 
Wrens: all except Winter. 
Thrushes: Hermit, Robin and Bluebird. All others are MIA and late. 
Mimids: The Mockingbird has not returned to Spring Green Preserve. Brown 
Thrashers are present in expected numbers. We had only one Catbird all weekend. 
Where are they? 
Warblers: Somehow we managed to scrape together 10 species this weekend, but 
some extremely odd ones missing: Cerulean, Kentucky, Palm, Orange-crowned, 
Parula, Black and White, Redstart, and Prothonotary. 
All of those should have been seen this weekend.  The weirdest missing warbler 
of all? Common Yellowthroat. They should be back and common by now. 
Tanagers: none. Scarlets are late. 
Sparrows: mostly present in decent numbers. No Lincoln's, White-crowned or 
Buntings: Indigo Bunting should be back by now. Where are they? 

The one vagrant we saw this weekend was a beautiful male Cinnamon Teal. 

All above species were eBirded via my new, and awesome, Birdlog app. :D 

I'm leaving, shortly, for Oak Harbor, OH for 12 days, then off to Rochester, NY 
for two weeks. See you all in June! 

Happy Birding! --Chris W, Richland County Interpretive Naturalist Mississippi 
Explorer Cruises

"The beauty and genius of a work of art may be reconceived, though its first 
material expression be destroyed; a vanished harmony may yet again inspire the 
composer; but when the last individual of a race of living things breathes no 
more, another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be 

(From William Beebe's "The Bird: Its Form and Function," 1906)                  
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  • » [wisb] weekend birding notes plus notes on missing migrants. - Chris West