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Manitowoc Impoundment

Welcome to our Great Wisconsin Birdathon Team Page!  We are Obi Gray and the Chewbacalacas, and our mission is to help raise $75,000 for bird protection in Wisconsin.

On our Big Day, Monday May 15th, Jedi birders Obi (Michael) Gray and Kay The Bird Lady will lead Vicki and Mary through bogs, woods, lakeshores, fields, and whatever else we can find  in search of our target of 165 species of birds. We are hoping to best our 161 species from last year and plan to bird from midnight to midnight again. We’re joining the Great Wisconsin Birdathon because we think birds and every species of other living creatures matter.

Big Day Report: Monday May, 15th 2017.

Team members gathered in Appleton on Sunday evening to go over our planned route and discuss options. It seemed the warblers had not come into the state as early as we had hoped. We decided to bank on Wyalusing for the majority of our species and to hit Horicon first for night birds and later on in the day for shorebirds with other stops along the way and ending at Manitowoc or Sheboygan depending on what birds had been reported during the day.

We started our big day at 10:45 pm listening for rails, bitterns and owls in Horicon Marsh. It was a dark night and we all moved away from the vehicle a bit; intent on what sounds we could pick out. A coyote howled about 3 feet away from us, sending Mary in a gallop on the way back to the car and giving Kay a good chuckle. After Mary sheepishly returned, we heard a ruckus and some splashing not to far off. One less waterfowl to count? We picked up a few bird calls including Sora, Barred Owl, and Marsh Wren and had a Great Horned Owl fly over Michael's head. We moved out to Hwy 49 where quite a few Virginia Rails were calling. We also had an American Bittern, and Black-necked Stilts. Off to a good start! We traveled slowly down Dike Road with our windows open, stopping periodically to listen. We picked up American Woodcock and Wilson's Snipe, still hoping to be able to add a King Rail. There was that kik-kik one? We all listened waiting for it to sound more like a Virginia but it continued its steady call. It was about 1:30 am now and time to start the 3 hour trip to Wyalusing State Park. We wanted to get there early enough to hear the Whip-poor-wills calling. 

We made it by 4:30 am but whiffed on the whip-poor wills. We did hear a Common Nighthawk however and started adding calling warblers and other birds to our list. While walking along a road, a bird flew up at Michael (he seemed to be the favorite target)...we eventually determined it was an American Woodcock with two babies. We found about 50 more  species in the next hour and a half including Swainson's Gray-cheeked and Wood Thrushes, Brown Thrasher, Henslow's Sparrow, Yellow-throated, Philadelphia, Warbling, Yellow-throated and Red-eyed Vireos, Pileated Woodpecker, Scarlet Tanagers, Cerulean Warblers, Eastern Towhees and Baltimore Orioles. Other areas of Wyalusing yielded Louisiana Waterthrush, Prothonotary, Kentucky, Hooded Warblers, and Red-headed Woodpecker. We found a single Northern Parula, Chestnut-sided and Blackburnian Warbler. It was about 8:30 then and our time and this beautiful park was up. We traveled along Hwy 18 and by watching and stopping a few times, we continue to add birds including a Red-shouldered Hawk, Eastern Kingbirds, Chimney Swifts and Cliff Swallows. We pulled off to view a hawk in flight and found a Black-billed Cuckoo in a bush! Now that is the way this should work! 

By now Vicki and Mary were whining pretty loudly for some coffee and since Mary was driving at the time, we pulled into a gas station in Fennimore. Up on the wire were two Eurasian Collared Doves!  We also added House Sparrows and House Finches to our list.

We traveled to Spring Green and found Lark, Field and Grasshopper Sparrows as well as a few Horned Larks and Orchard Orioles. We also picked up an American Kestrel and every one's first of year Dickcissel.

County V ponds yielded a few waterfowl and shorebirds. Things got a little slower for awhile as we searched other ponds and shorebird habitats picking up a bird or two at a time. DM & I ponds yielded an American Pipit, Semi-palmated Plovers and Bank Swallows. The best bird in the Goose Pond area was a Ring-necked Pheasant. We made a quick stop at Schoenberg Marsh but could not spot the Red-necked Grebes. We headed back to Horicon area where we had nice looks at a Whooping Crane, and added Trumpeter Swans, Black-crowned Night Heron, Northern Harrier, Willow, Least and Great-crested Flycatchers, Bobolinks, Clay-colored Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrows, Forster's Terns, Sanderling and Purple Martin to list a few. Along Hwy 49, the group spotted a Least Bittern popping in and out of the reeds.

It was 4:15 pm, and starting to rain. We headed over to Manitowoc Impoundment to see if we could find the Godwits that had been reported and add whatever else we could. We made a detour to check a reported Osprey nest but no Osprey was around. As we approached Manitowoc, the skies started to clear and a double rainbow appeared. This had to be a good sign! The horizon was filled with Common Terns and Bonaparte Gulls. We jumped out and began searching for the Godwits; Michael had them in his scope! We determined they were Hudsonian after we watched them in flight. We also added a Ruddy Turnstone, Peregrine Falcon, Lesser Black-backed Gull , Glaucous Gull and Caspian Tern. Michael then spotted a Little Gull among the Bonaparte's. We were at 168 species for the day and it was about 7:40 pm. What could we find yet? We headed to Collins Marsh where we viewed an Osprey and tried unsuccessfully to find an Eastern Screech Owl. We started back to Appleton, tired but happy. The consensus was: who wants to end on 169?! What could we do yet....aha! the Mute Swan that hangs out in a pond in Greenville...could we see it yet? Indeed we did and ended our big day 23 hours, 45 minutes after beginning with 170 species. List is below:

Pied-billed Grebe
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Am Bittern
Least Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
Turkey Vulture
Canada Goose
Trumpeter Swan
Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Lesser Scaup
Hooded Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Bald Eagle  
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Ring-necked Pheasant
Wild Turkey
King Rail  
Virginia Rail
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
Whooping Crane
Semipalmated Plover
Black-necked Stilt
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Spotted Sandpiper
Hudsonian Godwit
Ruddy Turnstone
Semipalmated Plover
Least Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Wilson's Snipe
American Woodcock
Little Gull  
Bonaparte's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Glaucous Gull
Caspian Tern
Common Tern
Forster's Tern
Rock Dove
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Mourning Dove
Black-billed Cuckoo
Great Horned Owl
Barred Owl
Common Nighthawk
Eastern Whip-poor-will
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Acadian Flycatcher
Willow Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great-crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Philadelphia Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay  
American Crow
Horned Lark
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
N Rough-winged Swallow
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Sedge Wren
Marsh Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Swainson's Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
American Pipit
Cedar Waxwing
Blue-winged Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Ceruleqan Warbler
Black and White Warbler
American Redstart
Prothonotary Warbler
Northern Waterthrush
Louisiana Waterthrush
Kentucky Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
Scarlet Tanager
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow
Henslow's Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
eastern Meadowlark
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Will you join us in our fight for Wisconsin’s bird protection T and monitoring programs? All your per-species pledges, and donations, are tax deductible.

Thank you for your support and Good Birding to you! Get out there and enjoy!

Our fundraising goal: $300

$690 raised so far   CONGRATULATIONS!

Kay, Vicki and Michael

Lark Sparrow, Spring Green

Wyalusing State Park

Prothonotary Warbler

Kay and Vicki

Manitowoc Impoundment, Big Day