Christine and I traveled to Appleton this past Friday for my spring department meetings. The UW Colleges have thirteen locations, and we only get together twice a year as a department. We lingered in the area before, during and after the meetings to bird.
We saw many birds for the first time this year and also saw one bird species for the first time ever. We took an extra half hour drive to go through Wausau, and saw our first ever Eared Grebe at a park along the lake. As we pulled into the parking lot we saw two birders already scoping the lake, who happened to be from our area and to our surprise had already heard of me. We had a nice talk with them, and they generously shared their scope and pointed out the target bird.
During my meetings Friday afternoon Christine saw these two Cooper's hawks fighting (More pictures 2, 3, and 4). She did not find many birds though, rather she spent time shopping and looking for a TV and Blue-Ray player. After a meal with the department we headed to our room, where I finished my slides for a research presentation the next day while Christine read a book. The quiet relaxation bestowed upon us by Dan and Linda was greatly appreciated.
The next morning we went birding before the meetings continued. We did not find too much out of the ordinary, but enjoyed watching a few regulars including a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. After the meetings we headed north out of Appleton, finding this cooperative Eastern Chipmunk at Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve. We scoped the flooded fields on Van Patten Drive, seeing many ducks and a nesting colony of Yellow-headed Blackbirds.
We arrived back in Marshfield last Saturday night after looking at more Best Buy electronics in Stevens Point. (Our DVD player died and we are considering updating everything now!) Sunday morning we spent four hours leisurely walking through McMillian Marsh Wildlife Area north of Marshfield. There was a good variety of birds, but not many photo opportunities beyond the Yellow-rumped Warbler.
Dan and Linda arrived late Sunday night and we enjoyed their short visit. On Monday Dan and Christine built a sandbox frame underneath the deck. The girls absolutely love time with family.