Monday, May 12, 2008

Horicon Marsh Birding Festival

We were up early this past Saturday morning and on our way to Horicon at 7:00 a.m. to take in some of the activities associated with the Horicon Marsh Birding Club's annual festival. Spring migration is at its peak and the variety of birds that can be found at the marsh is amazing.

We arrived just after 8:00 am and checked in at the DNR office where some dedicated birders were holding a Big Sit. They began at midnight and had counted 59 species by 8:00 am.
A pontoon boat tour of the marsh was next on our agenda. We boarded at 9:00 am for a two hour birding adventure. The tour was a little disappointing in that there were way too many people on board and the boats had canopies overhead making it very difficult to see anything above. Still, we counted 44 species, some just by audible identification but most we got at least a glimpse of most. The highlight of the boat tour was the sighting of a Marsh Wren and a Swamp Sparrow - two new birds for my list. We heard the Sora Rail but it never came out to let us get a peek at it.

After the boat tour, we drove up the west side of the marsh to Hwy. 49 and hiked the floating boardwalk where we saw many yellow warblers, coots, geese, a blue grey gnatcatcher, blue-winged teal and, on our way out, Bobolink, who cooperated nicely while I took their photos.