Chuck's Birding Report #62


17 May - 23 May 2021

Dear fellow flock of birders,

Bird migration continues. Warblers continue to arrive but I have not seen many. Other birders are doing much better with warbler sightings. I seem to do better with other types of birds.

Most trees are totally leafed out now so the canopy is quite dense. On my recent walks in the Arb woods the dense canopy of leaves made the woods quite dark even on sunny days. Of course it also made finding birds difficult too. What I’ve been hearing in the woods has been mostly Red-eyed Vireos (REVI) and Great Crested Flycatchers (GCFL). They both are high in the canopy so I can’t see them. I identify them by their distinctive songs or calls. The mnemonic for REVI songs is the short phrases of “Here I am, up here, in the trees, etc.”). The mnemonic for GCFL calls is a single rising “Weep”. They both will call in the woods all summer. Photos of both species are included.

This past week I have been hearing and then seeing both the Black-billed Cuckoo (BBCU) and the Yellow-billed Cuckoo (YBCU). I found the BBCU in Wingra Woods and the YBCU on Longenecker Gardens. They both make slightly different cooing sounds. I saw the BBCU puff up its throat when it cooed. They are both fairly large birds in length with horizontally barred tails. The color of the lower beak of each identifies the cuckoos. Photos of each are included.

A recent arrival to the prairies has been the Willow Flycatcher. They are mostly olive colored. I heard, then saw one making its distinctive call of “fitz bew” at the top of a small snag. When it calls it points its head skyward and belts out the call. The photo I included show its head position.

Another bird I saw for the first time this past week was the Indigo Bunting. The blue of the Indigo Bunting male is stunning. It rivals that of the Eastern Bluebird. I often see the Indigo somewhere between the pump house and Teal Pond. By the way the female Indigo is a completely different color - all cinnamon brown.  The photo I included is of an Indigo Bunting on the ground in Longenecker Gardens eating the seeds of the dandelions.

One bird I just was so lucky to see was a Common Nighthawk that appeared as a bump on a horizontal branch. I checked out the bump and it turned out to be a nighthawk. Blind luck! Okay, I used my binoculars. It was sleeping on the branch in the middle of the day. Other birders are seeing them in HoNeeUm and Gardner Marsh. A photo of the nighthawk is included.

The last photo is one showing American White Pelicans soaring in the sky. Their whiteness is spectacular in the sun and the black on the wings gives the bird more character. Also note the large beaks. They have been seen in and around Lake Wingra and several other lakes in Dane County.

That’s the report for this week of just a few of the new birds that are arriving.

All good health to you and good birding too,