Wayne Rundell Photography: Blog https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) Wayne Rundell Photography waynerundell@icloud.com (Wayne Rundell Photography) Thu, 23 Nov 2017 00:26:00 GMT Thu, 23 Nov 2017 00:26:00 GMT https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-5/u557945037-o319794109-50.jpg Wayne Rundell Photography: Blog https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog 120 80 Red-bellied Woodpecker https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/11/red-bellied-woodpecker It's been a long while since I have posted on my blog. It has been a very busy summer and fall and time has been short for getting out with the camera. I hope to be able to find more time to get out and capture a few images from time to time.

Todays subject is the Red-bellied Woodpecker. We have been fortunate to have one visiting our feeders this fall. This particular bird is an adult female.

Cool Facts

  • You may sometimes see Red-bellied Woodpeckers wedge large nuts into bark crevices, then whack them into manageable pieces using their beaks. They also use cracks in trees and fence posts to store food for later in the year, a habit it shares with other woodpeckers in its genus.
  • For birds that nest in cavities, nest holes are precious turf. Red-bellied Woodpeckers have been known to take over the nests of other birds, including the much smaller (and endangered) Red-cockaded Woodpecker. But more often they’re victims to the aggressive European Starling. As many as half of all Red-bellied Woodpecker nests in some areas get invaded by starlings.
  • You may occasionally see a Red-bellied Woodpecker flying quickly and erratically through the forest, abruptly changing direction, alighting for an instant and immediately taking off again, keeping up a quick chatter of calls. Scientists categorize this odd behavior as a type of play that probably helps young birds practice the evasive action they may one day need.
  • The oldest known Red-bellied Woodpecker was a male in Georgia, and at least 12 years, 3 month old when he was identified in the wild by his band.
  • A Red-bellied Woodpecker can stick out its tongue nearly 2 inches past the end of its beak. The tip is barbed and the bird’s spit is sticky, making it easier to snatch prey from deep crevices. Males have longer, wider-tipped tongues than females, possibly allowing a breeding pair to forage in slightly different places on their territory and maximize their use of available food.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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waynerundell@icloud.com (Wayne Rundell Photography) ashland bayfield chequamegon moquah perched red-bellied tree wisconsin https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/11/red-bellied-woodpecker Thu, 23 Nov 2017 00:26:21 GMT
Hummingbird Clearwing Moth https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/hummingbird-clearwing-moth We call them Hummingbird Moths because of how they fly and maneuver like a Hummingbird. They can quickly change flight direction flying left, right, up and down, and hover in front of a blossom. With their wings a blur and their rapid movements from one blossom to another, it's a wonder these moths are such a challenge to photograph. In this image we can see the wings as they appear almost motionless because of the use of a camera flash. Without the use of a flash, the wings would be difficult to freeze in position and they would be blurred. This particular moth is a Hummingbird Clear Wing and as you can see in the photo, there are clear windows in their wings which they are named after.

Behavior

While most sphinx moths fly at night, hummingbird moths fly during the day. They can be found in a wide variety of habitats, including open meadows, forest edges, and suburban gardens. They feed on flower nectar, dipping in a long thin proboscis.

Life Cycle

 

Hummingbird moths lay their eggs on plants. The mature caterpillars are plump, and yellowish green (or sometimes brownish), with the spiky tail horn typical of most sphinx moth caterpillars.

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waynerundell@icloud.com (Wayne Rundell Photography) https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/hummingbird-clearwing-moth Sun, 16 Jul 2017 03:59:46 GMT
Vesper Sparrow https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/vesper-sparrow Spend enough time out surrounded by nature and apply my "PPP" rule and you will be amazed at what you will begin to experience. Here a Vesper Sparrow is having a bath in the sand. This dirt bath is called dusting and is quite common across a wide range of bird species. 

For some species that live in areas where standing water is not readily available, dusting appears to substitute for water bathing. Birds create dust wallows by scraping the ground. They throw dust over their bodies and rub their heads in the wallow. The dust is first worked through the feathers and then shaken out. Wrens, House Sparrows, Wrentits, larks, game birds, and some raptors are among the North American birds known to dust. As with water bathing, different species tend to have somewhat different dusting routines.

Cool Facts

  • The songs of neighboring Vesper Sparrows tend to be similar; between regions, songs tend to show consistent differences. These patterns suggest that Vesper Sparrows learn songs from adult Vesper Sparrows. In one documented case, a Vesper Sparrow apparently learned to sing like a Bewick's Wren.
  • The Vesper Sparrow is the only member of its taxonomic genus. Based on analysis of morphology, plumage, and other factors, its closest relative is thought to be the Lark Sparrow.
  • The Vesper Sparrow responds quickly to changes in habitat; it is often the first species to occupy reclaimed mine sites and abandon old farm fields as they return to forest.

Oh...My "PPP" rule...Persistence, Patience, Practice. It's simple and it works.

Get outdoors!

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waynerundell@icloud.com (Wayne Rundell Photography) https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/vesper-sparrow Sat, 08 Jul 2017 03:36:05 GMT
Red, White, and Blue https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/red-white-and-blue As you can see in todays image, birds are patriotic too. Here the Scarlet Tanager, Trumpeter Swan, and Indigo Bunting show off their colorful plumage that has existed in nature much longer than the American flag. These birds along with all others, take pride in their colors, and they have a lot to be proud of! If you are interested in learning more about birds and what is happening in the local avian community, visit the Chequamegon Audubon's Facebook page, give us a "like" and feel free to join our membership. We support the local community by cohosting programs at the Great Lakes Visitor Center along with Friends of North Pikes Creek and the Chequamegon Bay Birders Club. Currently we are looking into building Chimney Swift towers to help support a struggling population of Chimney Swifts. Know of anyone that would like to volunteer or an organization that would like to help? Let us know and we will work together to pull this project together.

  • The oldest Scarlet Tanager on record was a male, and at least 11 years, 11 months old. He was banded in Pennsylvania in 1990, and found in Texas in 2001.
  • The oldest known Trumpeter Swan was a female, and at least 26 years, 2 months old when she was identified by her bank in the wild, in Wisconsin. One captive individual lived to be 32.
  • The oldest recorded wild Indigo Bunting was a male, and at least 13 years, 3 months old when he was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Ohio.

July 4th TriptychJuly 4th Triptych

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waynerundell@icloud.com (Wayne Rundell Photography) https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/red-white-and-blue Tue, 04 Jul 2017 01:25:54 GMT
Sedge Sprite https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/sedge-sprite Dragonfly or Damselfly? Dragonflies, in general, are larger and more robust than damselflies. Dragonflies hold their wings out to the side when at rest, while damselflies usually fold their wings up over their back when at rest. (Spreadwing damselflies may hold their wings open partway or fold them over their backs.) In true dragonflies the head is rounded and the compound eyes touch each other at the top (except in one family). In damselflies, the head is wide, almost dumbbell-shaped. The space between the compound eyes is wider than the eye itself.

Damselflies, young and old, are carnivores. Their “long tibial (leg) spines, and wings held over abdomen when perched may indicate they are flycatchers.” Midges are probably a big part of their diet, and the aquatic naiads (the aquatic larva or nymph) feed on any small critters they can catch.

This is an image of a Damselfly and to be more specific a Sedge Sprite Damselfly. This species is one of the smallest Damselflies at less than one inch in length.

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waynerundell@icloud.com (Wayne Rundell Photography) https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/sedge-sprite Mon, 03 Jul 2017 11:06:58 GMT
Juvenile Ruffed Grouse https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/juvenile-ruffed-grouse Saturday was a great time to be out in the woods soaking in the wonderful sounds and scents that early summer brings to the Northwoods. At times the fragrance of the wild berry blossoms were overwhelming the senses. We were lucky to come across not one, but two separate families of Ruffed Grouse. At only 1/3 the size of their mother these little rockets are incredibly fast fliers. We watched in amazement as one after another of these little birds popped up out of some short grass and flew off. Lucky for us, a couple landed in a nearby tree that gave us a decent look at them. In the following image, this little guy or gal is doing it best to show off it's crest...even though it is only one little feather. We were able to quickly capture a few images before mom's persistent calling drew the family into the thick forest to regroup.

Cool Facts

  • The early conservationist Aldo Leopold wrote of the Ruffed Grouse, “The autumn landscape in the north woods is the land, plus a red maple, plus a Ruffed Grouse. In terms of conventional physics, the grouse represents only a millionth of either the mass or the energy of an acre yet subtract the grouse and the whole thing is dead.”
  • Ruffed Grouse can digest bitter, often toxic plants that many birds can’t handle. Levels of defensive plant compounds in buds of quaking aspen, a major winter-time food source for Ruffed Grouse, reflect the cyclic rise and fall of grouse populations: they’re lowest when grouse densities are increasing, and highest when grouse densities decline.
  • The toes of Ruffed Grouse grow projections off their sides in winter, making them look like combs. The projections are believed to act as snowshoes to help the grouse walk across snow.

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waynerundell@icloud.com (Wayne Rundell Photography) https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/juvenile-ruffed-grouse Sun, 02 Jul 2017 02:16:13 GMT
Song Sparrow https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/song-sparrow It is amazing to think even a small bird such as this Song Sparrow is light enough that it can perch on a leaf of a milkweed plant. This bird was busy bring food to a well hidden nest somewhere nearby and would stop and scout the area before disappearing into the scrub. I did not want to disturb the nest so I stayed a distance away. Always use caution in these circumstances because many bird species nest on or very near the ground and nests can easily be stepped on. When you see where these nests are hidden, it's a bit sad to realize many are destroyed by roadside mowing and first crop field cutting.

Diet:

Mostly insects and seeds. Eats many insects, especially in summer, including beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, ants, wasps, and many others, also spiders. Feeds heavily on seeds, especially in winter, mainly those of grasses and weeds. Birds in coastal marshes and on islands also feed on small crustaceans and mollusks, perhaps rarely on small fish.

Nesting:

Males often defend only small nesting territories, so high densities of Song Sparrows may be present in good habitat. In courtship, male may chase female; may perform fluttering flight among the bushes with neck outstretched and head held high. Nest site varies, usually on ground under clump of grass or shrub, or less than 4' above the ground, sometimes up to 10' or higher. Raised sites may be in shrubs, low trees, or marsh vegetation, often above water. Rarely nests in cavities in trees. Nest (built mostly or entirely by female) is an open cup of weeds, grass, leaves, strips of bark, lined with fine grass, rootlets, animal hair.

Oh, I almost forgot...
 
Weight:
0.4–1.9 oz 

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waynerundell@icloud.com (Wayne Rundell Photography) https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/song-sparrow Sun, 25 Jun 2017 12:34:14 GMT
Dickcissel https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/dickcissel Saturday morning I headed out at 6am with a specific goal in mind...find and photograph an Eastern Meadowlark. I stopped at a nearby spot with good light and where I thought I had caught a glimpse of an Easter Meadowlark earlier in the week. While I successfully located and photographed a Meadowlark, I was unable to get into a good position and ultimately failed to capture a really good image. It's just the way it goes sometimes. While I was waiting patiently for the meadowlark to move into a better position, I realized there was a bird doing it's best to put on a show for me. It was a Dickcissel singing it's little heart out. Funny how I drown out what it going on around me sometimes, especially when I am really focused on another target. As you read the following description on the Dickcissel, you will find some irony between the bird I was after verses the bird I ended up capturing in this image.

"A sparrow-like bird of the prairie grasslands of the United States, the Dickcissel congregates in huge flocks in migration and on its tropical grassland wintering grounds. The breeding male is colored like a tiny meadowlark, with a black "V" on a yellow chest"

In the Midwest in summer, male Dickcissels sometimes seem to sing their name from every wire, fencepost, or weed stalk in prairie or farming country. Very erratic in summer occurrence, they may nest in large numbers in an area one year and be totally absent there the next, presumably as a response to rainfall and its effect on habitat. Away from their mid-continent stronghold, migrant Dickcissels are often detected by their electric-buzzer callnote as they fly overhead. Most winter in the tropics, but a few spend the winter at bird feeders in the Northeast, where they usually flock with House Sparrows.

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waynerundell@icloud.com (Wayne Rundell Photography) Ashland Bayfield Dickcissel Moquah Wisconsin perched tree https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/dickcissel Sun, 18 Jun 2017 02:20:06 GMT
Canada Warbler https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/canada-warbler A colorful, active warbler of northern forests, the Canada Warbler spends little time on its breeding grounds. It is one of the last warblers to arrive north in the spring, and one of the first to leave in the fall, heading early to its South American wintering grounds. Known by its necklace of short stripes, the Canada Warbler is a summer resident of moist, shady woods in the East. It usually stays in the understory, feeding in the bushes or on the ground. Sometimes hard to see in this dense cover, it is not especially shy, and a patient observer can usually get good looks. Although it does breed in Canada, it also nests in the higher Appalachians as far south as Georgia.

 

Cool Facts

  • Not much is known about the mating system of the Canada Warbler, but it appears to be monogamous. The observation of male-female pairs in Panama during fall and spring migration suggests that the pair may stay together year round.
  • The oldest recorded Canada Warbler was a male, and at least 8 years old when he was found in Quebec in 1982. He had been banded in the same province in 1975.

Female:

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Male:

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waynerundell@icloud.com (Wayne Rundell Photography) Ashland Bayfield Canada Chequamegon Warbler Wisconsin perched tree https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/canada-warbler Sun, 11 Jun 2017 11:20:59 GMT
Northern Parula https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/northern-parula This small warbler is often hard to see as it forages in dense foliage of the treetops. However, it is easy to hear; the male seems to repeat his buzzy trickle-up song constantly from early spring through mid-summer at least. Northern Parulas hide their nests inside hanging Spanish moss in the South, or in the similar Usnea lichens in the North, where they are impossible to spot except by the actions of the parent birds.

Diet

Mostly insects. Feeds on small beetles, flies, moths, caterpillars, egg clusters, true bugs, ants, bees, wasps, and other insects, also spiders. Also eats some small berries. May feed nestlings many soft green larvae.

Nesting

Pairs often return to same nesting site year after year. Males sing during migration and throughout nesting season, even when feeding young. Nest: Placed usually in a hollow excavated in hanging tree lichens (Usnea) or Spanish moss, 4-50' above the ground. When no lichens or Spanish moss available, also constructed of dangling clumps of twigs or pine needles, or placed in rubbish left by floods in branches hanging over stream. Nest is small hanging pouch of lichen and twigs, unlined or lined sparsely with soft shreds of moss, grass, pine needles, and hair. Built solely by female, but male accompanies her on trips to the nest.

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waynerundell@icloud.com (Wayne Rundell Photography) Ashland Bayfield Chequamegon Moquah Northern Parula Wisconsin perched tree https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/northern-parula Sat, 10 Jun 2017 01:26:50 GMT
Green Heron https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/green-heron From a distance, the Green Heron is a dark, stocky bird hunched on slender yellow legs at the water’s edge, often hidden behind a tangle of leaves. Seen up close, it is a striking bird with a velvet-green back, rich chestnut body, and a dark cap often raised into a short crest. These small herons crouch patiently to surprise fish with a snatch of their daggerlike bill. They sometimes lure in fish using small items such as twigs or insects as bait

Cool Facts

  • The Green Heron is one of the world’s few tool-using bird species. It creates fishing lures with bread crusts, insects, earthworms, twigs, feathers, and other objects, dropping them on the surface of the water to entice small fish.
  • Like many herons, the Green Heron tends to wander outside of its breeding range after the nesting season is over. Most of the wanderers stay nearby as they search for good feeding habitat, but some travel long distances. Individuals have turned up as far away as England and France.
  • The Green Heron is part of a complex of small herons that sometimes are considered one species. When lumped, they are called Green-backed Heron. When split, they are the Green Heron, the widespread Striated Heron, and the Galapagos Heron.
  • Green Herons usually hunt by wading in shallow water, but occasionally they dive for deep-water prey and need to swim back to shore—probably with help from the webs between their middle and outer toes. One juvenile heron was seen swimming gracefully for more than 60 feet, sitting upright “like a little swan,” according to one observer.

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waynerundell@icloud.com (Wayne Rundell Photography) Ashland Bayfield Chequamegon Green Heron Moquah Wisconsin perched tree https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/green-heron Sun, 04 Jun 2017 02:00:09 GMT
Common Yellowthroat https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/common-yellowthroat A broad black mask lends a touch of highwayman’s mystique to the male Common Yellowthroat. Look for these furtive, yellow-and-olive warblers skulking through tangled vegetation, often at the edges of marshes and wetlands. Females lack the mask and are much browner, though they usually show a hint of warm yellow at the throat. Yellowthroats are vocal birds, and both their witchety-witchety-witchety songs and distinctive call notes help reveal the presence of this, one of our most numerous warblers.

Common Yellowthroats spend much of their time skulking low to the ground in dense thickets and fields, searching for small insects and spiders. Males sing a very distinctive, rolling wichety-wichety-wichety song, and both sexes give a full-sounding chuck note that is easy to learn. During migration, this is often the most common warbler found in fields and edges. It sometimes joins other warbler species in mixed foraging flocks.

Habitat


Scrub

Common Yellowthroats live in thick, tangled vegetation in a wide range of habitats—from wetlands to prairies to pine forests—across North America. Their breeding range stretches across most of the United States, the Canadian provinces, and western Mexico. Yellowthroats are most common in wet areas, which tend to have dense vegetation low to the ground, ideal for skulking and building hidden nests. But they are also found in dry upland pine forests, palmetto thickets, drainage ditches, hedgerows, orchards, fields, burned-over oak forests, shrub-covered hillsides, river edges, and disturbed sites. They winter in similar habitats with dense vegetation in the southern United States, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

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waynerundell@icloud.com (Wayne Rundell Photography) Ashland Bayfield Chequamegon Moquah Wisconsin Yellowthroat perched tree https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/common-yellowthroat Sat, 03 Jun 2017 02:02:38 GMT
American White Pelican https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/american-white-pelican Sunday morning found me at one of my favorite spots in search of Wilsons Warbler images. I had my hopes up since I had two missed opportunities on Saturday to capture a nice image of one. Once I slogged my way through some muck and brush, I was ready but got distracted by some splashing noises in the bay. I started to move a little closer to see what was going on when I spotted a couple of American White Pelicans feeding on the other side of a brushy peninsula. Suddenly the two Pelicans turned into group of twenty. Not being able to cross some deeper water to get within camera range, I moved along the shoreline to a spot where I waited and hoped they would swim my way. It did not take long before the group moved in front of me and put on a show as they were feeding. White Pelicans feed in a group as they work together to corral bait fish before plunging their huge bills into the water to scoop them up and toss their heads back to swallow down their catch. Once in a while, a few would fly a short distance to leap-frog in front of the group maybe to get in better feeding position.

Conservation

Populations of American White Pelicans have rebounded from lows in the mid-twentieth century and have grown at roughly 5 percent per year between 1966 and 2014, resulting in a tenfold increase, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Waterbird Conservation for the Americas estimates a global breeding population in excess of 120,000. The species rates an 11 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score and is assigned a status of Moderate Concern. They are not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List. These shy pelicans are highly sensitive to human disturbances at their breeding colonies and readily abandon nests. They used to be shot either for sport or from the idea that they competed with humans for fish—though they are now understood to take fish of little commercial value. However, as their numbers have grown, their spring migration stopovers at catfish aquaculture ponds in the Mississippi Delta have increased, and shootings there have increased. Historically, human disturbance and destruction of foraging and breeding habitat have been major threats. Water management on the breeding grounds has effects on pelicans, too, since they depend on shallow wetlands. Either permanent flooding or permanent draining of wetlands renders those habitats inhospitable.

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waynerundell@icloud.com (Wayne Rundell Photography) Ashland Bayfield Moquah Wisconsin chequamegon pelican white https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/american-white-pelican Mon, 29 May 2017 01:18:57 GMT
Magnolia Warbler https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/magnolia-warbler Spring migration is the best time for us to get out and spot birds we may not see the rest of the year. Some stay hidden in thick cover while they nest and raise their young and others just continue to move North to their long ago established breeding grounds. If you hike out in the woods near water, and food sources with good protective cover this time of year, the bird songs will overwhelm your ears and you just might spot a new bird. Bring binoculars and a field guide. There are many free apps for bird identification that are fun and work very well, so bring your smart phone or tablet. Many apps do not require cell service if you download the reference files onto your device. It's quick and easy...if I did it, so can you.

The Magnolia Warbler is a handsome and familiar warbler of the northern forests. Though it often forages conspicuously and close to the ground, we have relatively scant information on its nesting behavior.

Cool Facts

  • Though it has very specific habitat preferences in the breeding season, the Magnolia Warbler occupies a very broad range of habitats in winter:  from sea level to 1,500 meters elevation, and most landscape types, except cleared fields.
  • The name of the species was coined in 1810 by Alexander Wilson, who collected a specimen from a magnolia tree in Mississippi. He actually used the English name "Black-and-yellow Warbler" and used "magnolia" for the Latin species name, which became the common name over time.
  • The male Magnolia Warbler has two songs. The first song, issued in courtship and around the nest, consists of three short phrases with an accented ending. The second song, possibly issued in territory defense against other males, is similar to the first but is sweeter and less accented.
  • The oldest recorded Magnolia Warbler was a male, and at least 8 years, 11 months old when he was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Ontario.

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waynerundell@icloud.com (Wayne Rundell Photography) Ashland Bayfield Chequamegon Magnolia Moquah Warbler Wisconsin perched tree https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/magnolia-warbler Sun, 28 May 2017 11:28:28 GMT
Eastern Towhee https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/eastern-towhee Our forest management over the years is paying off by rewarding us with new backyard birds. One of the latest additions is the Eastern Towhee. I have had to drive out into the open areas of the Moquah Barrens in past years to see this bird, but now we have them singing along the edge of our yard. We live in the middle of a fairly mature forest, but selective logging and habitat management still works even if it is on a small piece of land like ours Give it a try, you will be pleasantly surprised.

A strikingly marked, oversized sparrow of the East, feathered in bold black and warm reddish-browns – if you can get a clear look at it. Eastern Towhees are birds of the undergrowth, where their rummaging makes far more noise than you would expect for their size. Their chewink calls let you know how common they are, but many of your sightings end up mere glimpses through tangles of little stems.

Habitat


Scrub

Eastern Towhees are characteristic birds of forest edges, overgrown fields and woodlands, and scrubby backyards or thickets. The most important habitat qualities seem to be dense shrub cover with plenty of leaf litter for the towhees to scratch around in. Towhees occur in the Appalachians to about 6,500 feet, but favor warm and dry south-facing slopes more than cool, moist northern faces.

Food


Omnivore

Towhees eat many foods: seeds, fruits, insects, spiders, millipedes, centipedes, and snails, as well as soft leaf and flower buds in spring. They also eat seeds and fruits, including ragweeds, smartweeds, grasses, acorns, blackberries, blueberries, wheat, corn, and oats.

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waynerundell@icloud.com (Wayne Rundell Photography) Ashland Bayfield Chequamegon Eastern Eastern Towhee Moquah Towhee Wisconsin perched tree https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/eastern-towhee Sat, 27 May 2017 00:26:13 GMT
Lewis's Woodpecker https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/lewiss-woodpecker The 11th annual Chequamegon Bay Bird and Nature festival was held this weekend, May 18, 19, and 20th, and while the spring weather was our typical mix of cool, rainy, and windy, festival goers were out enjoying themselves and nature at it's best. Congrats to all who worked very hard to make this a successful and ever-growing festival and thanks to all who participated!

I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity earlier in the festival week to see one of the rare sightings that we get once in a while. This time our vistior was a Lewis's Woodpecker. Thanks to the wonderful homeowners who choose to share this finding with everyone!

The iridescent dark green back and the salmon-red belly of the Lewis's Woodpecker distinguishes itself from any other bird in North America. While they are quieter than other woodpeckers, they aggressively defend their food sources from other woodpeckers, especially during winter. During flight, they perform acrobatic maneuvers in pursuit of insects. I witnessed this as the bird swooped out from the top of it's favorite light pole to catch an insect in flight. They eat a variety of flying insects during the breeding season and acorns, nuts, and fruits at other times.

Alexander Wilson, the founder of North American ornithology, named this species in 1811, to honor Meriwether Lewis, because it was collected during the Lewis and Clark expedition.

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waynerundell@icloud.com (Wayne Rundell Photography) https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/lewiss-woodpecker Sun, 21 May 2017 11:35:23 GMT
Rites of Spring https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/rites-of-spring Hi Folks!

Think for a minute on what a person would have to do in order to capture an image of a Ruffed Grouse out in the wild. Now try to imagine sneaking up on a Grouse as it is perched on it's drumming log during the peak of spring. Wet, muddy, wood ticks and sharp sticks that seem to have a way of poking you in some very tender spots. This is the stuff that makes wildlife photography so much fun. I have dreamt of capturing an image of a drumming Ruffed Grouse for many years...this weekend my dream came true. To me it was worth crawling through the woods with camera in tow as I slowly inched my way towards the sound of those drumming wings. For a moment I thought maybe I had spooked the bird off of it's log, but as I sat there motionless, I suddenly caught a glimpse of subtle movement out of the corner of my eye...there he was, slowly strutting along an old moss covered log underneath some small Balsam trees. Suddenly...Thump, thump, thump, he started drumming his wings in an ever faster tempo. I once read about a researcher who discovered that the grouse beat their wings the exact same number of beats every time. How cool is that? After an hour or so, the grouse finally hopped of his log and disappeared. As I returned to my truck, I heard him start drumming again. A great afternoon in the woods!

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waynerundell@icloud.com (Wayne Rundell Photography) Bayfield Chequamegon Drumming Grouse Moquah Wisconsin perched https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/rites-of-spring Sat, 01 Apr 2017 23:26:51 GMT
Pine Grosbeak https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/1/pine-grosbeak The winter season has not been a friendly one for photography. Cloudy skies on the weekends and cold temperatures just seem normal this winter. We have not had much for a variety of birds coming to our feeders. Namely Black-capped Chickadees. Don't get me wrong, I love having the Chickadees around, but I am pretty sure they are tired of having their photos taken. Maybe a part of the problem is the Northern Shrike that has been hanging around. We have seen this juvenile Shrike several times now but I haven't captured any great images yet. Today was a wonderful day with the sun shining and the temps in the 20's and we spotted a couple of Pine Grosbeaks picking grit off of the road near our house. Things are suddenly looking up.

Behavior


Foliage Gleaner

Eats fruits by biting through and discarding the pulp and crushing the seed. Insects caught by clumsy flycatching. Eats sunflower seeds at feeders in parts of range (rarely comes to feeders in other parts of range).Found in flocks in winter; strongly territorial in breeding season. Distinctive call note often given in flight.

Habitat


Open Woodland

  • Breeds in open coniferous forests.
  • Wintering areas determined by food availability, so found in wider variety of habitats, including urban areas.

 

 

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waynerundell@icloud.com (Wayne Rundell Photography) Ashland Bayfield Grosbeak Moquah Pine Wisconsin perched tree https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/1/pine-grosbeak Sun, 15 Jan 2017 02:29:38 GMT
Happy New Year https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/1/happy-new-year  

Let's all have a super year in 2017

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waynerundell@icloud.com (Wayne Rundell Photography) https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/1/happy-new-year Sun, 01 Jan 2017 12:09:42 GMT
Bohemian Waxwing https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/11/bohemian-waxwing In contrast to many other bird species, the Bohemian and Cedar waxwings are what I call "ceramic" birds. Their feather detail is so fine that it is hard to distinguish individual feather details and this gives the birds a very smooth or "ceramic" appearance. The male Bohemian has ornate wing markings, chestnut undertail, gray-brown upper parts with gray underparts, a black throat and black mask with a wispy crest on top of their heads which can be raised depending on the mood of the bird.

While the Bohemian Waxwing is a migratory bird, it's winter range is usually north of the Canadian border with only a few birds venturing into our area. In some years the species will flock into the US by the tens of thousands in what is called an "irruption year".

Last Sunday, while scouring the National Forest in search of a Ruffed Grouse photo, we came across three Bohmian Waxwings feeding on berries along the edge of a small bog. This bird landed on top of a dead tree stump giving a nice contrast between the soft look of the bird and the weathered texture of the old wood. We did capture a few photos of a Ruffed Grouse and a nice 8-point Whitetail buck, but the Waxwing is the winner on this day!

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waynerundell@icloud.com (Wayne Rundell Photography) Bayfield Chequamegon Moquah Wisconsin perched tree https://waynerundell.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/11/bohemian-waxwing Sat, 19 Nov 2016 01:49:27 GMT