Monday, April 30, 2018

30 Apr 2018: Fifteen FOGYs in one day!

After a surprisingly slow weekend with zero FOGYs, migration got a jumpstart today! The migration forecast for last night was excellent, and the radar verified that lots of movement was happening, so I took today off work. I spent the morning at Myrick Marsh, where I had birded yesterday with nothing new, and found 12 FOGYs! Several new warblers (see the right sidebar for a full list of today's FOGYs) and a total checklist of 65 species. Most of the warblers were silent, so I definitely could have missed additional species.

The highlight was definitely two Black-crowned Night-Herons (#120)! They're sparse in this part of the world, and last year I never found any, so this was a nice surprise. I thought I might have to bike clear across the state to Horicon Marsh to have a chance of finding one.

The night-herons were in the biggest ardeid group I've seen yet this year, though this type of gathering isn't uncommon during migration at Myrick Marsh. About 21 Great Egrets and 6 Great Blue Herons were there. I learned recently that Great Egrets are considered threatened in Wisconsin, so it's great that they do so well in the marsh.

Much of the marsh is looking more like a lake right now, as the La Crosse River floods into it. Luckily I figured I wouldn't be able to go this way, and planned accordingly (there's an even bigger flood zone at the other end of it):

These trees aren't normally in the water:

Normally you'd have Soras and Red-winged Blackbirds and Wilson's Snipe in there - not today!

This afternoon I took a jaunt to Halfway Creek Marsh and a section of bike trail that goes past some flooded farm fields. Unlike the marshes, the fields are not particularly flooded, as they don't get overflow from the rivers and we haven't had much rain. So some of the spots where I saw shorebirds last year are not looking very good. Luckily, rain is in the forecast for the next few days, so conditions might improve. I did find about 40 Pectoral Sandpipers (#133) there, but only because a kestrel spooked them up! When they landed, I could still get my scope on them, but they were being their usual demure selves, resting in the corn stalks and not moving much to catch the eye.

Meanwhile, it got up to 80 F today! Hard to believe that we got 6" of snow a week and a half ago! My bike-birding outfits are evolving quickly...

All told, I ended the day with 82 species! And I wasn't even doing a Big Day. Speaking of which... stay tuned for big plans for a Green Big Day in a couple of weeks.

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