Abe’s Arboretum Adventure Series – Final, May 31, 2021

Abe’s Arboretum Adventure – 5.31.2021

TEMPERATURE: 67 degrees F
WIND: 7 mph, SSW
BIRD SPECIES: 17 (https://ebird.org/checklist/S89397121)

My marsh trips have come to a close. Last night, I visited the marsh for the last time this spring – I went at dusk because I wanted to see the last of the marsh that I could on my final day. It was bittersweet to say goodbye because the marsh has provided so much since the beginning of March. I went every day except four of them from March 10-May 31. Some days it was exhausting, some days I didn’t want to go, and some days I couldn’t wait to get there, but every day I came away from my marsh walk with a smile and appreciation for my phenology adventure.

Bird migration wound down considerably this week. After many new species two weeks ago, this week only yielded one new one for my list. It was a special one though – the yellow-throated vireo made its debut on my marsh list, and brought me to 110 bird species for the spring at the marsh. Without new species, there has been considerable breeding action. I’ve seen goslings and mallard ducklings, and have witnessed red-winged blackbirds and northern cardinals sitting on nests, and seen gray catbirds and yellow warblers gathering nesting material. The excitement of bird migration has ended, but there is plenty more action as the birds breed, and begin to enjoy summer in Wisconsin.

This week was a week of firsts as well. It was the first time all spring that I saw two different floral blooms throughout the week. First, I found white (they were a cream yellow last week, and I’m not sure what to make of that) maple viburnum flowers. Then, I found blue-flag irises blooming next to the cattails. Rain pelted the marsh most of the week, which made for ideal animal tracking conditions. It also made for the first sign of raccoons at the marsh, as you can see from the tracks in the picture.

From ice on the water, to a marsh full of vegetation, I’ve had quite the journey with the occupants of Gardner Marsh in the UW-Madison Arboretum. There were high temperatures in the 80s, when I wore shorts and a t-shirt, and temperatures below freezing, when I wore two layers of pants and up to four layers on top. I got to see many different species of ducks, blanket the marsh with their rafts, and I got to hear marsh wrens and yellow warblers take over the cattails as the waterfowl continued on to their northerly breeding grounds. It was a whirlwind (literally on some of my visits), and a joy to experience. I won’t forget my spring at the marsh, and will look back on it with many smiles. Thank you everyone for tuning in to my reports, and joining along with me 🙂

For the love of all our favorite natural places,