Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge is a proposed new NWR spanning across parts of Walworth County in Wisconsin and McHenry County in Illinois (our neighboring county). The proposed refuge would link existing public lands and grow with future private and public land purchases and partnerships (an “urban” refuge). It would be very exciting to have a NWR so close to our home!
A detailed map of the area of interest can be found here.
It was announced April 8th that the USFWS will be going forward with a feasibility study of the area, which could take up to two years. This is a great first step to getting the NWR established. You can find out more about the proposed refuge from the Friends of Hackmatack website and keep up with the latest news by following them on Facebook.
You can back Hackmatack by signing the petition of support here.
Yesterday I was looking for a new spot to go birding for my birthday. Although we’re close to the border with Wisconsin, I’d never really thought about looking into Kenosha Co. parks or preserves before. I did a little Googlin’ and found that the Pringle Nature Center in Bristol was just a half hour drive from our house. So this morning we set off to do a little leisurely Wisconsin birding.
Upon arrival at the Nature Center’s parking lot, we donned our cold weather gear and slung on binoculars and camera. We entered the large facility and the first words I heard were, “Are you here to see the Tufted Titmouse?”
Now, TUTIs range through northern Illinois and Wisconsin and beyond, but they are kind of rare in our county. Looking at eBird, there were a handful of reported Tufted Titmouse sightings in Lake County last year over four different months. There were even fewer sightings in Kenosha County in 2009. Bottom line, we don’t expect to see TUTIs when we go birding locally. So the question from the Nature Center staff member was a welcome one, indeed. Apparently a Tufted Titmouse has been visiting the feeders at Pringle all winter, and it had been seen earlier this morning. We didn’t have to wait long before we saw the little cutie ourselves.
After watching the feeders for a while we headed out on the trails for a slog through the wet, heavy snow. There are over four miles of trails through the Bristol Woods County Park adjacent to the Nature Center.
We saw few birds on our walk but we saw many exposed nests in the bare trees. I bet this is a great place to bird in the spring and I’m sure we’ll be back to check it out. We walked about 1.6 miles before returning to watch the feeders some more. For the visit we saw 12 species, most at the feeders.
What a great birthday treat to find a great new birding spot plus a totally unexpected bird!
When we visited Lake Geneva back in October I saw these interesting Purple Martin condos by the water. I wonder if they attract any summer breeders?
Last week we visited Horicon Marsh. First we drove down Dike Road, which was busy with birders looking for shorebirds.
We lucked out when a fellow birder pointed out a distant Black-necked Stilt which we could view through our scope. We also flushed a Black-crowned Night-heron and got great looks at the bird in flight. Besides these we saw lots of American Pelicans and several, uh, peeps. Shorebird newbies are we. I’m pretty sure this is a Lesser Yellowlegs.
Dike Road ends (for visitors, anyway) at Main Ditch. We parked by the fishing pier and relaxed a while, enjoying the view.
We then drove on the northern part of the marsh to the Horicon Ternpike auto tour. Along the way we saw these young Hooded Mergansers in a pond.
We took a short walk along the boardwalk trail about halfway through the auto tour. Here we saw lots of swallows and Black Terns, including the juvenile pictured below, who was crying for attention.
It was a great morning out at the marsh and we’re looking forward to visiting again in the fall to view migrating waterfowl.
This came across the Wisconsin Birding Network (listserv) today:
We are a National Geographic film crew working on a new animal documentary series, hoping to film woodpeckers for a day in Wisconsin soon! [in the next couple weeks.] We will be using a specialized hi-speed camera to capture woodpecker’s energetically pecking holes in trees or their drumming behavior. We need a dependable site with woodpeckers habituated and not shy.
Suggestions much appreciated. Please contact Ron Bowman [NGTV producer]: ron[at]newponypix[dot]com
The Madison, Wisconsin Audubon Society is looking for an intern to work in the field this summer. The application deadline for this position is Friday, February 27th.
2009 Summer Internship:
Orientation to Restoration Ecology Fieldwork
Madison Audubon Society, Inc., Madison, Wisconsin
Overview: As an intern in this supervised practical experience, you will spend the summer in the field where you will learn by doing a number of tasks in broad-scale landscape restoration and management projects, including work in prairie, savanna, woodland, and wetland habitats. The primary focus of activities is the control of invasive species, but some time will be spent on seed collecting and endangered species monitoring. The internship will give you the opportunity to become familiar with both native and alien plants and to learn about their life cycles and ecological requirements; to observe what natural conditions and processes have been altered in a landscape; and to gain an understanding of restoration and management goals and objectives. Interns work in groups at sites within 30 miles of Madison. Two teams will be hired for the summer of 2009; one to work at Madison Audubon’s Faville Grove Sanctuary east of Madison, and one to work at several sites north and west of Madison. Applicants will be considered for both teams but may express a preference.
Dates: This is a full-time summer commitment from May 26 through August 14, 2009.
Stipend: $4,320 for the summer.
Eligibility: For some intern positions, applicants must be continuing students, or accepted for enrollment, as undergraduates or special students at a University of Wisconsin System institution. Academic credit may be available for participation in this program; each intern is responsible for making academic credit arrangements with her/his university. Applicants must be able to perform sustained physical work outdoors.
Other: Interns are responsible for their travel, housing, and other living expenses, and are encouraged to carpool between home and worksites. Sturdy work boots, gloves and clothing, as well as sun, rain and insect protection are required. All tools will be provided.
Full information here.