Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Birding 9-1-1

Fathers Day weekend in Lake Tomahawk was one bird emergency after another! I discovered these two unfortunate red-eyed vireos laying on the front porch when I got up Friday morning. What happened? How could the same fate have befallen not one but two of these tree-top singers? Was it a case of lost love, like Romeo and Juliet? One flew into the house and the other decided it couldn't live without the other? I don't know but I felt terrible about it and carried them both off to the woods where they could rest in peace together.

Then on Saturday, I'm putzing around in the house while the guys are out fishing and I hear a tell-tale BAM! and knew something had hit a window. Sure enough, a belted kingfisher was sprawled out in the Adirondack chair on the deck...not looking so good. Thankfully in just a short time the bird righted itself and was sitting up. I thought this was a good sign but still wasn't sure what would happen. Would I be on my way to the wildlife rehabilitation center with a brain damaged kingfisher? After taking almost 20 minutes to regain its senses, it was able to fly up to the deck railing. It sat there for just a moment and then flew into a nearby tree where it took another minute to rest before heading off across the lake. A happy ending.

I hope this weekend at the lake provides only live bird watching opportunities!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Recipe For A Great Weekend

Don Schaeffer, Jill Schaeffer, Max Schaeffer, Julie Ristow, Randy Ristow, Clayton Ristow, Joe Devereaux, Nola Devereaux, Max Devereaux, Brian Due, Jill Due, Chris Due, Jaime Due, Jaime's friend, Steve Fronk, Kay Fronk, Willie Rohrer and Eric Pintar.

Assemble all of the above for two days in Lake Tomahawk under (mostly) sunny skies and engage in a variety of activities including birding, biking, canoeing, boating, kayaking, fishing, eating, relaxing, game playing, campfire building, a little Guitar Hero, movie watching and more.

This was what we did over Memorial Day weekend. The Devereauxs and the Dues brought their campers, the Schaeffers and the Fronks put up tents, the kids completely took over the basement and it all worked out just great.

The birding was fantastic - we must have hit the peak of spring migration. As a club, EPBWC members participated in the Wisconsin Humane Society's Avian Odyssey count. During our 24 hour count period we observed 53 species in less than a one mile radius from the house. The list of birds, in the order we saw them is as follows:
  • Blue Jay
  • Goldfinch
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Black-throated Green Warbler
  • Warbling Vireo
  • Least Flycatcher
  • Oven Bird
  • Phoebe
  • Common Loon
  • American Robin
  • Hermit Thrush
  • Canada Goose
  • Willow Flycatcher
  • Song Sparrow
  • Whippoorwill
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Purple Finch
  • American Crow
  • Chestnut-sided Warbler
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • Swainson's Thrush
  • Brown-headed Cowbird
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • Magnolia Warbler
  • Black and White Warbler
  • Yellow Rumped Warbler
  • Chickadee
  • Mourning Dove
  • Chipping Sparrow
  • Raven
  • Northern Harrier
  • Nashville Warbler
  • Tree Sparrow
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
  • Blue-Headed Vireo
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
  • Red-Breasted Nuthatch
  • White-Breasted Nuthatch
  • Bald Eagle
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Mallard
  • Common Merganser
  • Field Sparrow
  • Swamp Sparrow
  • Wood Thrush
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Barred Owl
  • Red-Winged Blackbird
  • Yellow-shafted flicker
  • Red-eyed Vireo
  • Eastern Wood Pewee

In addition to this list, we saw several more species after our official count period including a Blackpoll Warbler, a Scarlet Tanager and what we are 90% sure was a Red-naped Sapsucker. These additions, and a few others, brought our total up to almost 60 different species.

Randy Ristow has bragging rights for catching the biggest fish - a 34 1/2" musky right off the end of the new pier that Bill and Kurt put in the weekend before when the temperature was 40 degrees and it was windy and sleeting.

Tammy accomplished two of her summer goals - biking into Lake Tom and trying kayaking. With those two already checked off the list, what is next?

When it was time to leave on Monday, we were already talking about the next time we would be up and we were wishing the same thing we always wish as we are heading down the driveway... that we had just one more day to spend at Muskellunge Lake.