At 6:00 pm on Sunday, May 7, we parked at Point Overlook in Wyalusing State Park and started our 24-hour birdathon. At 5:53 pm on Monday, we parked at the Prairie du Sac dam with 120 bird species on our list, smiles on our faces, and renewed appreciation for the Lower Wisconsin Riverway's beauty, biodiversity, expanse, and champions. It was great to see so much active management going on throughout the Riverway, particularly prescribed burning.
Although cold temps and high water limited the size and scope of our list this early in May, we ended our day with 20 warblers, two owls, and several Watch List species. These included Cerulean (Threatened) and Prothonotary (Special Concern) warblers and woodcock, whip-poor-will, red headed woodpecker, wood thrush, golden-winged warbler, and bobolink.
Where Chicago has its "magic hedge", we found Wisconsin's "magic mound and monument". Wyalusing's passenger pigeon monument and the linear mound above it were "dripping with warblers", as Arlyne put it. This bluff-top grove of oaks and bank of shrubs is where migrants reach the busy intersection of the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers -- ravenous warblers at sunrise, roosting vultures at sunset.
By the time we forced ourselves to leave Wyalusing, we had observed 75 species. Other highlights upriver were the Woodman Lake Sand Prairie and Dead Lake State Natural Area (prothonotary warblers), Blue River Sand Barrens SNA (various prairie, marsh, and pine plantation birds), Bakkens Pond (Forester's terns), and Sauk City (pelicans galore and chimney swifts). Playing beat-the-clock made us bypass Cruson Slough, Avoca Prairie, Blue River Bluffs, and other spots we hoped to hit.
A very sincere THANK YOU to those who have supported our team. And to those who have not donated yet but would like to, please do!
Your donation or pledge supports eight conservation projects that protect the year-round migrating, breeding, and wintering needs of Wisconsin's birds. All donations and pledges are tax-deductible.
The Great Wisconsin Birdathon is an all-hands-on-deck way to support the bird conservation, and is a collaboration of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative, Wisconsin Audubon Council, Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and Bird City Wisconsin.
Our fundraising goal: $5,000
$5,350 raised so far CONGRATULATIONS!