Wednesday, September 28, 2011

the WBCI Fall meeting in Green Bay likely to be an event that you won't want to have missed:

I hear that they will still accept walk-in registrations, although you'll probably have to find lunch on you own, now that advance registrations have closed.

Monday, September 19, 2011

bird conservation news

The most recent news from BirdLife International can be found here.

Other, recent bird conservation news from National Audubon can be found at this link.

The BEN (Bird Education Network) Conservation page can be found here.

(Image of Barn Owl from Luc Viatour / - Wkimedia Commons).

Missouri River Bird Observatory

Look what friends and colleagues are doing at the Missouri River Bird Observatory.

Friday, September 16, 2011

more on weather and migration

Here in southeastern Wisconsin, dry conditions have certainly been the rule for many weeks. Since Jan. 1, the precip. total is 23.80 inches; the normal is 25.75 inches of precip. by this date; so we are 1.95 inches below normal.

However, do dry conditions affect migration?

See a good overview of fall weather and migration at:

And a thought-provoking paper on changing bird migration dates can be found at:

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

good conditions for raptor watching in the next few days

If you have the time, It might be a good idea to  find your way to the Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, or other lakeshore sites such as Harrington Beach State Park in the next day or so - and I think tomorrow might provide the best conditions - weather is setting up for a potentially good day for raptor movement. Unfortunately, I cannot be at the FBMP raptor watch platform tomorrow - but maybe someone else has the time to be there? Winds are predicted to be northwesterly, with even cooler temperatures than those expected for today. The timing - and conditions - are right for the movement of broadwings (and of course other raptors as well). Big broadwing flights, in several recent autumns, have not been very noticeable in eastern WI; conditions have not always been the best. Thursday morning could also be good, but it looks like winds may shift north/northeast on Thursday afternoon.

If you've not been to the FBMP hawkwatch site and platform before, see directions at the bottom of this notice:

Sites in Harrington Beach SP are of course traditionally good raptor watch locations - and remember the annual WSO Hawkwatch there on Oct. 9th - that same day the dedication of the FBMP hawkwatch platform is scheduled for 1:00 PM, as mentioned in the linked notice given above.

Monday, September 12, 2011

on the river

As part of the Milwaukee BIOME Project, a bird monitoring transect that I cover often lies along the Root River in southern Milwaukee County. Truly one of my favorite places in all seasons - this floodplain forest holds many migrants and breeding birds as well. To learn more about the Milwaukee BIOME Project (and maybe how you can participate...) go to this link.

Friday, September 9, 2011

environmental ethics - online sources

A good source for readings in environmental ethics can be found at this link, from the Markkula Center for Ethics at Santa Clara University. Take a trial run and see how our own, sometimes unexamined beliefs match up - or not - with teachings on these subjects. Another excellent source can  be found at Stanford's (link here) online Encyclopedia of Philosophy. And one of the most comprehensive sites is this one, from  Professor Ron Epstein.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

habitat improvements and avian response at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve

Over the past year and a half, intensive work on the Ozaukee-Washington Land Trust's Forest Beach Migratory Preserve has moved forward, "building" excellent new habitats, including planting trees, shrubs, grasslands and enhancing existing ones. Recent drawdowns on some of the 23 wetlands have made mudflats appear, and shorebirds have responded in less than 3-4 days (both Gr. and Lesser Yellowlegs, and Solitary Sandpipers over the past few days, and a small flock of Least Sandpipers late this afternoon, along with many Killdeer --- and several Green Herons are foraging there as well). The oldfields/grasslands are really in the peak of late summer/early fall bloom, and more warblers and sparrows and other passerines are appearing each day. It doesn't look like a golf course anymore - it is and was deliberately designed to be stopover habitat for migrants - and it's working. Next time you're in the area, whether for a hawkwatch day, or just to walk the trails - take a look, and you'll see the improvements - and if you watch carefully, you'll see how birds have responded and continue to do so on this emerging preserve.

If you go, look for the hawkwatch platform in the northeast corner of the preserve (about 1/4 mile northeast of the old clubhouse).

Find Forest Beach Migratory Preserve at:

See also:

Here is the species list for FBMP for the first 6 days of September:

Canada Goose
Wood Duck


Blue-winged Teal

Green-winged Teal

Pied-billed Grebe

Double-crested Cormorant

Great Blue Heron

Green Heron

Turkey Vulture


Bald Eagle

Northern Harrier

Cooper's Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

American Kestrel


Sandhill Crane


Spotted Sandpiper

Solitary Sandpiper

Greater Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Least Sandpiper

Ring-billed Gull

Herring Gull

Rock Pigeon

Mourning Dove

Common Nighthawk

Chimney Swift

Belted Kingfisher

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Olive-sided Flycatcher

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Eastern Phoebe

Great Crested Flycatcher

Eastern Kingbird

Red-eyed Vireo

Blue Jay

American Crow

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Purple Martin

Tree Swallow

Barn Swallow

Black-capped Chickadee

White-breasted Nuthatch

House Wren

Eastern Bluebird

Swainson's Thrush

American Robin

Gray Catbird

European Starling

Cedar Waxwing

Tennessee Warbler

Palm Warbler

Chipping Sparrow

Clay-colored Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Northern Cardinal


Red-winged Blackbird

Baltimore Oriole

House Finch

American Goldfinch

William P. Mueller
Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory
Project Coordinator, Milwaukee BIOME Project

Saturday, September 3, 2011

weather and bird migration

One of the absolute best explanations or primers on weather and bird migration was written by Paul Lehman - find it here at Cape May Bird Observatory's site.

Friday, September 2, 2011

shorebird migration news

See where they're coming from:

Subject: James Bay Shorebird Report #5 - From: Jean Iron <jeaniron AT SYMPATICO.CA>
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 2011 22:11:14 -0400

This is my fifth and final report for the period 11 to 14 August 2011 at North 
Point on the southwest coast of James Bay, Ontario, and includes sightings from 
nearby Longridge Point from Mark Peck and Little Piskwamish Point from Doug 
McRae and Barb Charlton. The OMNR chopper flew survey crews from the three 
camps to Moosonee on 14 August. We took the Polar Bear Express train from 
Moosonee to Cochrane on 15th and drove home to southern Ontario on 16th. 
Shorebird surveys are a partnership of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Ontario 
Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR), Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) and Moose 
Cree First Nation (MCFN). The Longridge crew was Mark Peck (ROM), Roy John, 
Emily Rondel and Antonio Coral. The Little Piskwamish crew was Don Sutherland 
(OMNR), Doug McRae, Barb Charlton and Ron Ridout. The North Point crew was Mike 
McMurtry (OMNR), Jean Iron, Aus Taverner and Minnie Sutherland (MCFN). 

SHOREBIRD OBSERVATIONS: A combined total of 27 shorebird species was recorded 
for the three camps. 

Black-bellied Plover: 56 on 13th at North Point, 28 on 12th at Little 
Piskwamish, up to 50 daily at Longridge. 

American Golden-Plover: 1 molting adult on 11th and 2 on 13th at Little 

Semipalmated Plover: 29 on 12th, including first juvenile, at North Point, 52 
on 13th at Little Piskwamish. 

Solitary Sandpiper: 4 on 11th at Little Piskwamish.

Greater Yellowlegs: 451 on 11th at North Point (70% juveniles) and 148 on 11th 
at Little Piskwamish. 

Lesser Yellowlegs: 309 on 11th at North Point (80% juveniles) and 691 mostly 
juveniles on 11th at Little Piskwamish. 

Whimbrel: 6 on 11th at North Point.

Hudsonian Godwit: 160 molting adults on 12th at North Point and 290 on 11th at 
Little Piskwamish, where a Hudsonian Godwit with red flag CMC from Chile was 
seen and photographed on 31 July. 

Marbled Godwit, 1 adult male with 2 juveniles on 11, 12 and 13th at North 
Point, plus an additional juvenile on 11th. 

Ruddy Turnstone: 49 adults on 13th at North Point and 58 on 11th at Little 
Piskwamish. Longridge recorded a Ruddy Turnstone with a lime green flag from 
Delaware Bay, USA, on 10th. 

RED KNOT: Of the three surveys sites for this period Little Piskwamish had the 
highest one day count of 2400 on 11th, Longridge had 250 on 12th, and North 
Point only 5 on 13th. FLAGS: The combined three sites for the entire survey 
tallied about 2000 individual sightings of flags representing more than 600 
differently marked birds from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, United States and 
Canada. Celebrity knot TY was last seen at Longridge on 11 August. A knot with 
a white flag placed in Quebec was seen many times during the final two week 
period. DATALOGGERS: Longridge recorded 2 dataloggers and Little Piskwamish had 
5, all put on in the United States. JUVENILES: The juvenile knot migration was 
just starting when we left. Little Piskwamish, 7 juveniles on 11th. North 
Point, 2 juveniles on 11th. Longridge, several juveniles on 12th. It would be 
interesting to know how many juveniles stage on the James Bay and how long they 
stay. We hope to survey longer next year. 

Sanderling: 26 molting adults on 11th at North Point, 8 on 13th at Little 
Piskwamish. Longridge recorded a lime green flag from Delaware Bay, USA. 

Semipalmated Sandpiper: 5100 on 11th at North Point were still almost all 
adults. Increased numbers of juveniles arrived on the afternoon of 13th. A bird 
with flag lime OHU from the USA was at North Point on 13th. Longridge recorded 
a yellow flag from Suriname on 28 July and 7 August. 

Least Sandpiper: 308 on 12th at North Point were almost all juveniles. 277 on 
11th at Little Piskwamish were all juveniles. 

White-rumped Sandpiper: 31,657 on 11th at Little Piskwamish. 9800 molting 
adults on 11th at North Point. This is the commonest shorebird in southern 
James Bay. 

Pectoral Sandpiper: 436 non-molting adults on 12th at North Point. 295 on 11th 
at Little Piskwamish. 

Dunlin: 209 adults on 11th at North Point were starting to show signs of molt. 
295 on 11th at Little Piskwamish. 

Short-billed Dowitcher: 27 on 11th at Little Piskwamish, those seen well were 

Wilson's Snipe: 13 on 12th at Little Piskwamish.

Wilson's Phalarope: 1 juvenile on 11th at Little Piskwamish.

Red-necked Phalarope: 1 adult on 11th at Little Piskwamish.

SHOREBIRD MIGRATION: A huge southbound migration took place on 11th and 13th 
during the day, taking advantage of strong north winds. Birds were high and 
very vocal. Flock size varied from 6 to 70 and included Black-bellied Plovers, 
Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Whimbrel, Hudsonian Godwits, Pectoral 
Sandpipers, White-rumped Sandpipers, Dunlin and Ruddy Turnstones. 

(Marbled Godwit image from Lee Karney, USFWS Digital Library)