We believe in connecting people with nature. Our monthly programs are FREE and open to the public. Most meetings are held the 4th Tuesday of each month at Quarry Hill Nature Center. Our speakers give presentations about a wide range of topics - not just birds.
May 11, 2021 - Lunch with the Birds
Crisp, clear skies greeted the 20 people who came out on today's "Lunch with the Birds" walk at Kutzky P.ark. We're still lacking warblers, but did manage to find 8 species of them along with 23 other species. The wind should switch to the south tomorrow - so we still have high hopes for a wave of warblers later this week. Of course the leaves won't stop growing so it's getting harder to get good looks at the birds. The warblers we found today were the Northern Waterthrush, Yellow, Common Yellowthroat, Black & White, Palm, Yellow-rumped, Nashville and Northern Parula. Thanks again to Lance Vrieze for leading the walk.
May 9, 2021 - Hok-si-la Field Trip
Our Hok-si-la Field Trip today was both challenging and fun. The birds were sparse and hiding high up in the trees (causing sore necks later) but our group of 14 managed to locate 37 species. Our favorites included a Cape May Warbler, a Barred Owl, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and a Red-headed Woodpecker. After lunch we headed over to Frontenac State Park in search of the rare Yellow-throated Warbler that had been reported in the area and after some confusion about which trail we were on the bird was found. We also saw Golden-winged Warblers, Tufted Titmouse and Yellow-throated Vireos here. By the end of the day were all tired but satisfied with our finds. We're looking forward to later this week when the winds are supposed to switch to the south - which should bring a new wave of warblers in - so watch for more bird photos to come!
Many thanks to Joyce and Terry Grier for leading this trip - and to Brian Jump for being such an excellent spotter!
May 8, 2021 - 4th Annual BIG Birding day
Today was "Global BIG Birding Day" which meant birders everywhere were out searching for as many species as they could find. ZVAS had several birders out looking in small teams and individually. Together we found at least 101 species (including 13 warblers)! Team members included Brendan Lanpher, Cody Miller, Sandy Hokanson, Brian Jump, Terry Grier, Joyce Grier, Lance Vrieze, Dave Gross, Patty Trnka and Joel Dunnette. Sites visited included Quarry Hill, Eastside Marsh, Silver Creek Reservoir, Chester Woods, Kutzky Park, Kalmar South and Kalmar East reservoirs and Willow Creek. The weather was chilly, but sunny skies in the morning helped a lot and we think we all a had a pretty good BIG day.
Click here to see the complete species list and more photos.
May 6, 2021 - Kutzky Park - Thirteen people came out for "Lunch with the Birds" at Kutzky Park today. Lance Vrieze led the way along the creek as we searched for new birds migrating north. We saw (or heard) at least 34 species, 8 of which were warblers. Highlights included a Northern Parula, a Harris's Sparrow and a flyover by an Osprey carrying a fish.
The main thrust of warblers is yet to appear. The cool weather and blustery NW winds seems to be holding them back. They do need bugs to eat - and the cold is keeping the bug population down a bit. The first day we get winds from the south should bring more birds in greater numbers.
Thanks Lance for leading! We look forward to your next walk on on Tuesday, May 11th at noon (meet at the Kutzky Park Picnic shelter).
Black & White Warbler
May 1, 2021 -Quarry Hill Walk - It was a beautiful morning for our walk this morning at Quarry Hill. Our group of 18 found two great birds - a Red-Headed Woodpecker and a Solitary Sandpiper - mixed in with all the "regulars". A Junco and two Pine Siskins were near the feeders along with several White-throated Sparrow - all 3 of these species will be heading north soon. Finding the Red-headed Woodpecker (Thanks Eric S. for spotting it) was extraordinary as no one from Audubon has seen one in the park for many, many years. We're hopeful that one will take up residence in the savanna area.
For most of our walk the birds were quiet and not very active. The main brace of warblers has not yet arrived and we only found a single Yellow-rumped Warbler and an Orange-crowned warbler. We'll be watching for more warblers over the next 2-3 weeks. Our leaders Terry and Joyce Grier reported that they saw a Rose-breasted Grosbeak and a Gray Catbird in their yard this morning... so that's a hopeful sign that birds are on the way.
April 27, 2021 - Monthly program - Prairie Haven - Last night's zoom presentation by Marcie and Mike O'Connor was fascinating. In 2000 they bought an old farm (approx 425 acres + 75 purchased later) and have worked since then to return it to how it looked before European settlers came into the area. The before and after pictures taken by Marcie were incredible and show how much can be accomplished if you just keep at it. More recently Mike has begun making audio recordings the track of coyotes calling was especially haunting! If you want to learn more about what’s happening at Prairie Haven visit https://www.prairiehaven.com/.
To learn more about Mike's audio recordings visit https://www.earsinthe driftless.com/. Thank you Marcie and Mike!
If you missed the talk it was recorded and can be seen here: https://www.prairiehaven.com/video/ZumbroAudubon.mp4
April 25, 2021 - Root River Field Trip - It was a chilly morning for our walk at Root River County Park today. The sun was out early, but it quickly clouded over making it hard to get good clear looks at the 25 species of birds our group of 11 birders heard and saw.
The highlight of the day was a Barred Owl we watched being chased away from its roosting spot along the old stagecoach trail. Other birds included an E. Bluebird bringing nesting material to one of the boxes, several Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Eastern Phoebes, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and a possible Sharp-shinned Hawk. There are still Juncos hanging around and we did hear White-throated, Song and Field Sparrows.
The prairie had been burned just a few days before our walk, but the spring woodland flowers are still in bloom with lots of false rue anemone and dutchman's breeches to be seen. The snow trillium is nearly gone but a few patches can still be found and the bluebells have not peaked yet.
Migrating birds should be coming in faster now as May approaches and we're all looking forward to seeing more warblers!
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