Monday, August 9, 2010

My first week of Milwaukee birding (August 3 – August 9)

After the dust settled from my move to Wisconsin last week, I had the chance to get out and do a little birding.

My primary goal was to stake out my new BIGBY territory (What's a BIGBY? See: My specialty is the “walking BIGBY”, so I needed to locate birding areas within walking distance of my apartment.

I had been a little concerned about moving to an urban location…my previous home in southern Indiana was a ten minute walk from several square miles of uninhabited forested hills, as well as a couple hundred acres of grasslands. When I moved to Wisconsin I’d already recorded 150+ species this year on my Indiana BIGBY list.

After a week of checking out potential BIGBY sites I’m thinking my concerns were unfounded...I have the good fortune to be living about 1,000 feet from Lake Michigan, and a number of fine parks along the lakefront. I wasn’t birding intensively, and it’s still sort of the birding summer doldrums, but I managed to pick up 45 species (for a complete list of species, see:

My new walking BIGBY territory ranges from Lakeshore State Park in the south to Lake Park in the north, a distance of about 3.5 miles. Nice mix of water, shoreline, grassy areas, and wooded areas. I was pleasantly surprised by some of the woodland birds I encountered in my wanderings: Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Eastern Wood-pewee, etc. I thought I’d left birds like that behind when I moved from the rural woods of southern Indiana to the urban areas of Milwaukee’s east side. I was also pleased to see a Peregrine Falcon scatter some gulls.

Had one rather odd experience though...I’ve yet to encounter a single Blue Jay.

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