Sunday, October 31, 2010

Milwaukee lakefront, 10/28/10 - Possible Cave Swallows, two new BIGBY species

Wednesday on Milwaukee's lakefront was sunny and very windy. Thursday was a little less windy, colder, and I walked through a couple of bouts of light wind-driven rain. Another day when it's crazy to spend 4-5 hours outdoors birding...but the birding was kinda interesting.

* The day started with a HUGE highlight. I finally got this year's nemesis bird! I have spent many hours in Veterans Park scanning huge flocks of hundreds of Canada Geese looking for a Cackling Goose. So far, every time I've seen a small goose it turns out just to be a smallish Canada. But yesterday morning I noticed an especially small goose with a stubby bill. It was only about 30 feet away. Cackling Goose! It's kinda funny. When you first see a Cackling Goose it is so obviously a cackler that you wonder why you'd ever bothered looking at smallish Canadas. Definitely new to both my BIGBY lists!!

* Henslow's Sparrow. One bird, on the rocks, behind the art museum. Looked a little tired and dazed. Not a new BIGBY, but special none the less.

* Lincoln's Sparrow. Several, at the far east side of Veterans Park.

* LeConte's Sparrow. Fleeting views in the brush on the rocky shoreline just a little south of the water treatment plant. Also looked a little tired and dazed. New to both my BIGBY lists!!

* A fair number of swallows, which surprised me since I haven't seen a swallow in weeks: Barn (8-10), Northern Rough-winged (one), Tree (4-5), and a couple of birds that looked tantalizingly like Cave Swallows. As far as I'm concerned they were probable Cave Swallows, but since I can't rule out Cliff Swallow I can't count them as a BIGBY bird. Never thought I'd have a four-swallow-species day at the end of October. Just a testimonial to how strong the storm was...

* Finally, I had a very late female American Redstart in Lake Park! Haven't seen this species in several weeks. Interesting!

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