Abe’s Arboretum Adventure Series – May 24, 2021

Abe’s Arboretum Adventure – 5.24.2021

TEMPERATURE: 63 degrees F
WIND: 5 mph, S
BIRD SPECIES: 29 (https://ebird.org/checklist/S88892064)

This past week was likely the wettest we’ve had all spring. Southern Wisconsin has endured a dry spring, which has been tough on some plants and wildlife, but great for my daily birding visits to the marsh. With all the dry days, I hadn’t been caught in a downpour until this week. It was wet and misty when I got to the marsh, and the rain came down harder and harder as my walk progressed. Despite the rain, I enjoyed one my favorite days at the marsh.

It felt more like a nice change of pace than an annoyance. Yes, my binoculars fogged up and were difficult to see through, yes the boardwalk was slippery, and I did slip once or twice, and yes, I got a bit chilly, but I also got three new species for the morning, and most importantly, felt like I was on a rainforest birding expedition. It wasn’t just the two first of year (FOY) chestnut-sided warblers I saw or the pair of FOY male indigo buntings, or the green heron I scoped hiding from the rain under the brush. It was all of it, the rain, the new birds, the tropical feel.

With lots of May rain, came May flowers. The one pictured for the week was the cream yellow flower of the maple leaf viburnum. All the rain also made for a changing marsh landscape. I can only imagine the muskrat dens, and tasty insect treats for the birds, and unwanted surprises from newly flooded areas of the marsh. This week, more rain gave way for a sora to get pushed right next to the lookout pier. You can find a lucky, and shaky (I take many of the videos on my phone through my binocular lenses) video of said sora.

When I was putting together my collection for the week I found lots of videos to share. Mostly shaky videos, so take your Dramamine before watching. First was a great blue heron that I saw sitting in the marsh, and eventually followed it on video as it waded through the marsh and took off. Then I found a cute cottontail rabbit grooming itself, just asking to be filmed. Lastly, I took a video today of a FOY eastern wood-pewee. I wanted to share their sad song with you, and also share they use that sad song to get a mate – so it’s not all sad 🙂

Finally, it’s birdathon week! On Friday, our team of 4 employees will be birding throughout the day as Team Birdlanders, participating in the annual Great Wisconsin Birdathon. The Natural Resources Foundation puts on the birdathon each year to raise money for special bird conservation projects. Half of the money will go towards bird conservation projects, and the other half will support 1000 Friends. This year, 1000 Friends is fundraising using the hashtags #bikingforbirds, #walkingforbirds #birdingforbikes, and #birdingforwalks to support Active Wisconsin, our active transportation network.

Tune in on Friday to follow along during our big birding day, and to support birds and active transportation!

See you next week,