On Sunday October 2, WSO held its annual "Hawk Watch" field trip. Twelve birders gathered at 8:00 AM at Harrington Beach State Park’s lower parking lot in a drizzling, misty rain. It was obvious this was not the weather conditions conducive to hawk movement and as we found out passerine movement too. Because this particular trip is one of our “dual date” trips I was already thinking that I/we would redo this trip the following weekend, especially after looking at the long range forecast of a cold front moving through the following Thursday into Friday. So, depending on how this front behaves, a repeat of this trip might be offered again either Saturday or Sunday. So keep up on your birding social media pages and Wisbirdn listserv for specifics at the end of next week.
While waiting for our eventual group of 12 to assemble, we enjoyed a hen turkey and her 5 poults feeding in the picnic area. A few Yellow-rumped Warblers, several juncos flitting about, chickadees, and both Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers. After our group gathered together and taking a little ribbing about hosting the trip today we decided to walk the road out to “The Point” near the blind where Calvin Brennan conducts his Waterbird Watch for the Wisconsin Bird and Bat Observatory. The first 100-200 yards of woods were pretty quiet bird-wise but the mosquitoes made an impressive showing. They were miserable, the worst I’ve experienced all year. A little farther down the road we encountered a few White-throated Sparrows, both Golden- and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, some juncos, both nuthatches, a couple of Yellow-rumped and one Black-and-White Warbler.
Once at “The Point”, near the Waterbird blind, we came upon a nice assortment of passerines. Here we had Northern Flicker, White-crowned Sparrows, more White-throats, Blackpoll and Tennessee Warblers, and a pair of Great Tits (my first for Ozaukee County). We also had nice looks a Blue-headed Vireo a little beyond the blind. A scan of the lake from here yielded a flock of 12 Double-crested Cormorants, 5 Horned Grebes, 10 Red-breasted Mergansers (flying north), Ring-billed and Herring Gulls but not much else.
After scoping the lake (it was still misting) we decided to head back to our cars. On our return we added House Wren, Brown Creeper, Eastern Phoebe and a Hairy Woodpecker, as well as more White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows, kinglets, and Yellow-rumped Warblers. Our list for the day ended with around 32 species.
Remember check Wisbirdn Listserv and/or birding Facebook pages; Wisconsin Society for Ornithology – @wisbirds, Wisconsin Birding, or Birding Wisconsin for updates on next weekend’s repeat of this field trip. Thanks to all that attended and I hope to see you on our next outing.
Jeff Baughman, WSO Field Trip Co-chair