Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Am. Bird Conservancy news, other news, publications

News from the American Bird Conservancy is available here.


I'm very pleased to be able to announce that the journal Studies in Avian Biology is about to publish a new paper:

“Citizens Behind the Science: Employing Citizen Volunteers in Urban Bird Research”, by Timothy L. Vargo, Owen D. Boyle, Christopher A. Lepczyk, William P. Mueller and Sara E. Vondrachek. In press.

This paper is a result of the MCAMMP project's research and our 150+ fantastic volunteers! See more about MCAMMP here.


I just received a new issue of the journal The LBJ: Avian Life, Literary Arts. Read more about it at their website.

Friday, September 25, 2009

US Fish & Wildlife Service releases climate change strategy

"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today releases a proposed strategic plan that will guide the agency’s efforts to respond to the unprecedented threat posed by global warming". Read the news release regarding the USFWS climate change strategy here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

across Wisconsin in September...

I'm grateful to have seen these things while afield in September, including a Marsh Wren at our banding station, mushrooms on a riparian woodland study site, flaming maples, dew-laden branches, needles and leaves in a spruce-tamarack bog, and the sunrise over Wisconsin Point in Superior. It has been an extraordinary series of opportunities to witness the glory of autumn in Wisconsin, while alone, or in the company of talented and brilliant colleagues, or with citizens interested in learning more about the natural world in our state. And I still have weeks more of this in store!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

some favorite places, part 1

If one wants to see absolutely beautiful examples of all of Wisconsin's plant communities and experience the natural history of Wisconsin, perhaps the best way I know is to visit Wisconsin's State Natural Areas (SNAs). The photos above are from one of these, Spruce Lake Bog in Fond du Lac County. Besides being a showplace for wonderful bog flora and birds, it's far more easily accessible than many other bogs. Best time to visit? Pick your favorite season. Learn more about the State Natural Areas at the website of the SNA Program. Some fall color is beginning to be visible here, with the highly-colored leaves of Red Maple (Acer rubrum) mixed in among the tamaracks and other woody species. Underfoot are pitcher plants, arrowhead, spagnum mosses, water hemlock, and many, many others. I had a Yellow Rail here once in autumn, on the bog mat that surrounds the lake.

Monday, September 7, 2009

for vultures

I'm a tad late, but that's not going to stop me from participating in Blog for Vultures day!

Recall all of the times you have gazed with awe upon the sight of vultures soaring, and then ponder their critical role in ecosystems around the world. They face many challenges today, including a complicated threat from chemical contamination.

Read more at the International Vulture Awareness Day site, the ReconcilationEcology blog, and this Washington State Univ page.

birding just to the south of us...

If you're heading southward into the Chicago area, you might want to check out the Chicago Region Birding Trail Guide, here. There are many excellent locations in which to find birds and experience the natural history of this area. I hope to be doing that myself this sometime this fall! I've been staying close to home most of this year - limiting travel is the right choice for me. But I do make an exception now and then!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

new raptor watch starting this fall

Here is info (which can be shared with anyone interested) for the first Forest Beach Migratory Preserve Raptor Watch date on Sept 27th. There's no fee, of course, and anyone is welcome!
I'll start at 7 am on September 27th, in the parking lot of the former Squires golf course (which is now Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, owned by the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust). Restoration activities are now in progress at this new preserve - a lot of hard work and effort are helping to create a new stopover site for migratory birds at this location.
It's easy to find. Go north out of Port Washington on Highway LL. Turn right on Highway P at the Squires billboard. When you get all the way to the east end of P, turn left and go about 150-200 yards. The clubhouse and parking lot are right there - I'll be parked there (white Chevy), and standing with a scope and tripod. For those who do not wish to walk far (or at all), if winds are westerly or northwesterly, you can bring a lawn chair and sit right next to your vehicle. If these weather conditions exist it is possible to observe raptors without leaving the parking lot - great for those whose health conditions may prevent them from hiking far or at all. I will lead groups around the site several times throughout the morning and early afternoon, but those who wish to do so can stay right there.
Here's a map - if you zoom out you can see all of the connecting roads.

The hawkwatch will continue into at least early afternoon. Please call or write if you have any questions!


William P. Mueller
Conservation Chair - Wisconsin Society for Ornithology (WSO)
Project Coordinator - Milwaukee County Avian Migration Monitoring Partnership (MCAMMP)
(414) 698-9108

Friday, September 4, 2009

excellent blogs

Some really good reading and useful info can be found at the following blogs and websites; I recommend them:

Gossamer Tapestry


Mike McDowell's blog

The Ohio Nature Blog

The House and Other Arctic Musings

mosaic of habitats - KMSF


In the northern unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, one can find magical spots like the one pictured above - mosaics of small wetlands surrounded by forest. The marsh here is deep enough to have provided habitat for nesting Pied-billed Grebes, and now hosts a migrant Green-winged Teal - while the forest surrounding it harbors the expected Red-eyed Vireos, Eastern Wood-Pewees, Great Crested Flycatchers, Veeries, Ovenbirds - and near here, a Red-shouldered Hawk. Migrant passerines will be making use of this land mosaic in the weeks ahead.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

grasshopper and goldenrod time


It's that late summer/early autumn time for goldenrods like this example: Solidago rigida - and the little guy who is using this flower cluster for a temporary launch pad.