On May 27th, 2017, the WYBC held its first ever collaboration field trip with the Wisconsin Society of Ornithology. Local expert Tom Schultz led the group on a walk through White River Marsh SWA, visiting cattail, forest edge, and prairie habitats. Wendy Schultz and Jeff Baughman joined the group as well.
The trip began at 7am on White River Road. Immediately, a pair of Whooping Cranes serenaded the group from across the marsh. Sora, Virginia Rail, Marsh Wren and Willow Flycatcher were all observed in the first few minutes. While learning about the history of White River Marsh, we were wowed by singing Sedge Wrens and Yellow Warblers. Alder Flycatcher as well as both cuckoo species sang from a wooded edge as Ryan discussed the rules of thumb for bird call playback.
A small grove nicknamed the “Oak Island” yielded Yellow-throated Vireo, singing Blackpoll Warbler, two beautiful Scarlet Tanagers, and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.
As the weather warmed up, we decided to explore a new habitat along the edges of White River Marsh: grassy fields. There we were treated to displaying Bobolinks, Eastern Kingbirds, and singing Eastern Meadowlarks, though Henslow’s Sparrows were nowhere to be found. The trip concluded at Dead End Road, where Grasshopper Sparrow, Orchard Oriole, and American Kestrel were the last birds of the day.
Though the group was slightly smaller than normal, we all had a good time, seeing a total of 77 species — a new day record for a WYBC field trip!
Full checklist Photo credit to Wendy + Tom Schultz.