Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ongoing Offshore Lake Michigan Waterfowl/Waterbird Surveys (WGLBBO)

The Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory continues its offshore surveys by aircraft, from one mile to ten miles offshore along the west shoreline of Lake Michigan. At present there are diminishing numbers of diving ducks and loons present, but Red-breasted Mergansers, Common Goldeneyes, a few loons and grebes, and smaller numbers of Long-tailed Ducks are still being seen. We did survey blocks offshore from Ozaukee and Sheboygan counties today. We continue to find good numbers of Glaucous Gulls, with one Iceland Gull today, and increasing numbers of Ring-billed, Herring, and Bonaparte's Gulls. Glare is a huge issue on sunny days, and as we turn north or south, the lake-side observer has to deal with that, while the land-side observer "gets a break" from the visual struggle with glare. Lake Michigan, especially far offshore, is really "wild territory" - and we are reminded of that on every trip.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

expanding WGLBBO's kestrel nextbox project into the city

There's a well-known very large bridge in central-city Milwaukee that now has kestrel nestboxes installed on its structure, thanks to Paul Novotny, Bridge Maintenance Manager of the City of Milwaukee, and his men Greg and John - (see photos). We're grateful to them for their help. Next steps include monitoring of the nestboxes by students from  New Horizons Academy who work with environmental educator Chad Thomack from Milwaukee's Urban Ecology Center - and to Melissa Cook, WDNR's Manager of the Hank Aaron State Trail, who helped connect us with Paul and his crew. Lots of great partners on a great project for WGLBBO (the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory)! Thanks to all involved.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

bird conservation's biggest unresolved issue

Once again (to the chagrin of some who would like us not to talk about it), another great article on bird conservation's biggest unresolved issue: http://conservationmagazine.org/2012/03/cat-fight/

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

a week of traveling

Saguaro in Saguaro Nat'l Park
San Pedro River - SE AZ  - Gray Hawk habitat
Sandhill Cranes on the Platte River in Nebraska
Ramsey Canyon - TNC - Southeast AZ
Arizona Sycamore - Ramsey Canyon

Broad-billed Hummingbird - AZ
Ocotillo in Saguaro National Park

My week-long trip was mixed; very glad to spend a week with my brother going through Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona...saw a lot of wonderful natural areas, birding was good in some areas, very poor in others, lots of species I just could not find, no matter how hard I tried - maybe was too early - confusing & puzzling  --- VERY glad some places have been protected and so incredibly sad to see what is happening with unrestrained development  in many areas of the west... I predict that some day people who live there will experience great regrets, but for right now many only seem to care about making money...

Best places; Platte River and 30,000 cranes I saw in one evening...Bosque del Apache NWR in NM...Ramsey Canyon and 5 spp of hummingbirds in AZ plus Mexican Jay and Painted Redstart (my favorite place by far; Arizona sycamores are spectacular).

Most puzzling: Saguaro National Park: wonderful flora, but found almost no desert-dwelling birds except 1 Gilded Flicker and 2 Cactus Wrens...how come?