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Latest Area Bird Sightings

From Dan Jackson (12/6/17):

On Monday morning (12/4), the refuge manager for the La Crosse District of the Upper Mississippi National Fish and Wildlife Refuge spotted an immature female Snowy Owl at the refuge Visitor Center on Brice Prairie (west of Onalaska off of County ZN. By late afternoon, 2 more had been seen.

Yesterday (12/5), three birds were perched in the parking lot of the maintenance building at dawn. When refuge employees picked up equipment for the day’s projects, the birds spooked and flew into the corn field just to the north.

At dusk, while a few of us were watching those 3 birds, we were surprised to see 2 other birds fly by making a total of 5. At least 2 were immature females and 2 were lightly barred and were either immature males or adult females.

The birds got active between 4:30 and dark and moved up from their perches on the ground to perch on signs, posts, tractors, telephone poles, and other vantage points – making them easier to see.

Someone asked if they might migrate as family groups and could these birds be related? Has anyone done genetic testing of groups of birds found at a single location before (Duluth Airport, etc.)?

Good birding,

Dan Jackson

From Dan Jackson (5/17/17):

There were 3 Cattle Egrets hanging out with a flock of gulls in a partially flooded farm field on Brice Prairie NW of La Crosse. They were viewed from the parking area adjacent to an electrical substation on the east side of County Road Z / ZN. This is about ¼ mile north of the entrance to the Visitor Center for the La Crosse District of the Upper Mississippi NWR on Brice Prairie.

There was a single Bonaparte’s Gull in the flock as well

There was also a good selection of shorebirds in the field including:

Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
White-rumped Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Semi-palmated Sandpiper
Dunlin
Semi-palmated Plover
Killdeer

Good birding,

Dan Jackson

From Dan Jackson (1/28/16):

I checked to see if the Short-eared Owls were still flying at Goose Island last night and did see at least 2 and perhaps more.

They are visible from the point just west of the north boat landing. They can be seen at dawn and just after sunset by looking to the northwest. They fly over some grassy islands between that point and the forested islands closer to the channel.

Last night, I was standing near a blue garbage can on that point and was seeing the birds in line with a pair of radio towers on the top of the ridgeline in Minnesota. This is roughly northwest. I would scan the grassy area in front of the tree line from directly north to directly west but would concentrate on the northwest.

Short-eared Owls have a very moth-like flight and are very light on the underside with prominent black, half-moon markings at the wrist area on the underside of the wing. They often wheel, turn, dive, and do lots of other aerial maneuvers.

These birds are out a few hundred yards but can be seen via binoculars or a scope in the fading light. There have been as many as 6-8 birds out there during the last month.

Good birding,

Dan Jackson.

From Dan Jackson (5/14/15):

Here is the list for this morning's walk in the Hixon Forest. A few also saw a Black-billed Cuckoo.

Hixon Forest (La Crosse), La Crosse, US-WI
May 14, 2015 6:30 AM - 8:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling - Property Specific
1.0 mile(s)
47 species

Wood Duck 10
Mallard 1
Great Blue Heron 2
Turkey Vulture 1
Broad-winged Hawk 1
Common Nighthawk 1
Chimney Swift 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 5
Downy Woodpecker 3
Hairy Woodpecker 2
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Eastern Phoebe 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 4
Yellow-throated Vireo 2
Red-eyed Vireo 2
Blue Jay 1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 4
Barn Swallow 1
Black-capped Chickadee 6
Tufted Titmouse 4
White-breasted Nuthatch 4
House Wren 5
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2
Swainson's Thrush 2
Wood Thrush 2
American Robin 20
Gray Catbird 2
Ovenbird 1
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Tennessee Warbler 15
Nashville Warbler 2
Common Yellowthroat 1
American Redstart 4
Yellow Warbler 1
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2
Eastern Towhee 1
Chipping Sparrow 4
White-throated Sparrow 4
White-crowned Sparrow 1
Scarlet Tanager 3
Northern Cardinal 6
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 8
Indigo Bunting 7
Brown-headed Cowbird 4
Baltimore Oriole 4
American Goldfinch 6

Enjoy the birds,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (5/12/15):

This morning 15 people braved the chill, wind and eventual mist to check out the birds in the Myrick Marsh. The cold definitely slowed down the activity and singing which made the birds harder to find. We had several species of warblers, a very cooperative Virginia Rail, and many swallows among the other birds.

A nice trip despite the conditions!!

Thanks to those who joined me this morning.

There is a trip in the Hixon Forest on Thursday morning at 6:30 am.

Scott Puchalski and I will also be leading a field trip at Wyalusing SP that will start at 6:30 AM on the entrance road between the Hwy and the gate house at 6:30 am. We will bird until about noon depending on conditions and birds.

The Wyalusing trip is the Coulee Birders Birdathon event. It would be nice if participants made a small donation to show their support. If everyone chips in $5-10, it will be a big help to our efforts. Half of the money that we raise will go to Coulee Region Audubon to support Bird City related projects. The other half will be used by the Natural Resources Foundation for habitat related projects in WI and in wintering grounds.

Myrick Marsh, La Crosse, US-WI
May 12, 2015 6:30 AM - 8:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
Comments: Coulee Region Audubon Field Trip
59 species

Canada Goose 50
Wood Duck 25
Mallard 8
Blue-winged Teal 6
Lesser Scaup 1
Hooded Merganser 4
Great Blue Heron 10
Bald Eagle 3
Virginia Rail 1
Sora 3
American Coot 25
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Black Tern 11
Mourning Dove 4
Chimney Swift 2
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Downy Woodpecker 2
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 1
Least Flycatcher 2
Eastern Kingbird 6
Yellow-throated Vireo 1
Warbling Vireo 4
American Crow 1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 35
Tree Swallow 20
Bank Swallow 5
Barn Swallow 18
Cliff Swallow 4
Black-capped Chickadee 3
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
House Wren 5
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
American Robin 12
Gray Catbird 8
European Starling 4
Northern Waterthrush 15
Golden-winged Warbler 1
Tennessee Warbler 2
Nashville Warbler 3
Common Yellowthroat 7
American Redstart 1
Yellow Warbler 7
Palm Warbler 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler 6
Eastern Towhee 1
Chipping Sparrow 4
Song Sparrow 2
White-crowned Sparrow 3
Northern Cardinal 4
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 2
Red-winged Blackbird 35
Common Grackle 15
Brown-headed Cowbird 8
Baltimore Oriole 7
House Finch 2
American Goldfinch 6
House Sparrow 4

Thanks,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (5/7/15):

This morning, 13 of us took part in the second of three Hixon Forest Bird Hikes. There were many more migrants and new arrivals including 9 species of warblers - the best of which was a singing male Black-throated Blue Warbler. This bird was in the bottom of the valley behind the tee box that is north of the roadway going along the north edge of the golf course.

We also had 5 thrushes including Grey-cheeked, Swainson's, Veery, Wood, and American Robins.

Many new birds were present that weren't there last week including Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Baltimore Orioles, Red-eyed Vireo and more.

The Black-throated Blue Warbler is only my second sighting in 20 years of birding in La Crosse County and was a really special treat!!

It looks like today would be a great day to play hooky from work!! Lots of migrants.....

Hixon Forest (La Crosse), La Crosse, US-WI May 7, 2015 6:30 AM - 8:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling - Property Specific
1.0 mile(s)
Comments: Coulee Region Audubon Field Trip
45 species

Wood Duck 6 Hen entering and then leaving nest hole in Aspen - same tree as one week ago
Mallard 5
Great Blue Heron 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1 Seen again
Mourning Dove 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 5
Downy Woodpecker 2
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 1
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Least Flycatcher 1 Calling near gazebo. They have nested there very year for many years.
Blue-headed Vireo 1
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 2
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 2 Pair flying in openings. Present last week too.
Black-capped Chickadee 6
Tufted Titmouse 4
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
House Wren 2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 7
Veery 1
Gray-cheeked Thrush 1
Swainson's Thrush 2
Wood Thrush 1
American Robin 12
Gray Catbird 2
Blue-winged Warbler 1
Golden-winged Warbler 1
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Tennessee Warbler 4
Nashville Warbler 8
Northern Parula 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1
Palm Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 15
Eastern Towhee 1
Chipping Sparrow 6
White-throated Sparrow 5
Scarlet Tanager 1
Northern Cardinal 6
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 8
Red-winged Blackbird 2
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
Baltimore Oriole 8
American Goldfinch 4

Good Birding,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (5/5/15):

Twenty people braved the light rain to go on the second Myrick Marsh Bird Walk of 2015. With the rain, things were a little slower but we still ended up with 47 species of birds (a few people saw a Green Heron that I missed).

We only found 4 species of Warblers (Yellow-rumped, Palm, Yellow and Northern Waterthrush) but many of each. First of the year birds for me were a calling Blue-headed Vireo and Eastern Kingbirds. New since last week included Baltimore Orioles, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Gray Catbirds, Warbling Vireos, and Yellow Warblers.

Few sparrows and no thrushes other than American Robins.

Myrick Marsh, La Crosse, US-WI
May 5, 2015 6:30 AM - 8:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
Comments: Coulee Region Audubon Field Trip
46 species

Canada Goose 50
Wood Duck 15
Mallard 8
Blue-winged Teal 4
Lesser Scaup 2
Hooded Merganser 2
Pied-billed Grebe X
Great Blue Heron 8
Great Egret 3
Bald Eagle 1
Virginia Rail 1
Sora 3
American Coot 5
Mourning Dove 6
Chimney Swift 4
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 3
Hairy Woodpecker 2
Blue-headed Vireo 1
Warbling Vireo 5
Blue Jay 2
American Crow 2
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 25
Tree Swallow 15
Bank Swallow 2
Barn Swallow 6
Black-capped Chickadee 8
House Wren 2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
American Robin 10
Gray Catbird 3
Northern Waterthrush 7
Yellow Warbler 4
Palm Warbler 10
Yellow-rumped Warbler 30
Chipping Sparrow 2
Song Sparrow 4
Swamp Sparrow 3
Northern Cardinal 2
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1
Red-winged Blackbird 50
Common Grackle 9
Brown-headed Cowbird 2
Baltimore Oriole 3
American Goldfinch 2
House Sparrow 6

Thanks to all who joined the walk!!

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (4/30/15):

This morning was our second "May" bird walk of the spring - this time at the Hixon Forest.

Woodland birds arrive a little later than the marsh birds and this was evident this morning. We were mostly birding by ear and only found 24 species. This did include a several pairs of Wood Ducks including a hen going into a nest hole high on a large Aspen. There were lots of Ruby-crowned Kinglets and a couple of Yellow-rumped Warblers but few sparrows. I was hoping for a first of year Rose-breasted Grosbeak, but was disappointed.

Next week things should be hopping....

Hixon Forest (La Crosse), La Crosse, US-WI Apr 30, 2015 6:30 AM - 8:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling - Property Specific
1.0 mile(s)
Comments: Coulee Region Audubon Field Trip
24 species

Wood Duck 8 Female entering nest cavity
Mallard 2
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 8 Pair enterering nest cavity
Downy Woodpecker 4
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Eastern Phoebe 1
Blue Jay 7
American Crow 1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 2
Black-capped Chickadee 6
Tufted Titmouse 10
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
House Wren 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 15
American Robin 25
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2
Eastern Towhee 2
Chipping Sparrow 6
Northern Cardinal 8
Red-winged Blackbird 3
American Goldfinch 8

Enjoy the birds,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (4/28/15):

We had a beautiful morning for our first Myrick / Hixon bird walk of the year. As a group, we saw at least 50 species including nesting behavior by Canada Geese, Tree Swallows, and American Robins.

Myrick Marsh, La Crosse, US-WI
Apr 28, 2015 6:30 AM - 8:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling - Property Specific
1.0 mile(s)
Comments: Coulee Region Audubon Field trip
50 species

Canada Goose 25 Several birds seen on nests
Wood Duck 14 Several pairs. One bird checking cavities in tree
Mallard 18 Many pairs
Blue-winged Teal 12 Several pairs
Ring-necked Duck 4
Lesser Scaup 2
Bufflehead 2
Hooded Merganser 2
Wild Turkey 1
Pied-billed Grebe 10
Great Blue Heron 15
Bald Eagle 1
Sora 3
American Coot 20
Sandhill Crane 1
Wilson's Snipe 1
Bonaparte's Gull 5
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 40
Mourning Dove 6
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Downy Woodpecker 3
Hairy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker 2
Blue Jay 3
American Crow 1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 8
Tree Swallow 25 Bird carried feather to cavity in tree
Barn Swallow 6
Black-capped Chickadee 4
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
House Wren 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4
Hermit Thrush 1
American Robin 25
European Starling 8
Palm Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 15
Chipping Sparrow 3
Field Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 8
Lincoln's Sparrow 1
Swamp Sparrow 5
White-throated Sparrow 4
Northern Cardinal 4 Male feeding female
Red-winged Blackbird 80
Common Grackle 10
House Finch 1
American Goldfinch 2
House Sparrow 8

On Thursday, we will have a field trip in the Hixon Forest. It is free and open to the public.

Enjoy the birds,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (4/17/15):

Doug Stratton found a Red-necked Grebe on Lake Onalaska this morning and I was able to see it on my way to work at about 7:45 AM. When I saw it, I had parked at the overlook with the big Sunfish on the west side of Hwy 35 in Onalaska. At that time, the bird was hanging out with a flock of 10 Horned Grebes and some Lesser Scaup near one of the middle runway light stands that extend out into the lake northwest of that overlook. It was too far out to be seen with binoculars, but there is a scope there that should allow it to be seen.

I am sure that Red-necked Grebes come through our area every year, but they are only seen and reported occasionally. In 20 years of birding here, this one is only one of a handful that I have heard about in La Crosse County.

There were also lots of Pelicans and coot out on the lake and there are still quite a few ducks.

Thanks to Doug for sharing a great find!!

Good birding,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (4/3/15):

I saw an eBird alert for a Snowy Owl at the La Crosse airport and checked it out.  The bird is still there.  

When I saw it.  It was about 100 yards directly north of the tower on the east side of the airport.  It was on the ground next to a runway sign that said A13-31.  It is in a little bit of a depression, so I couldn’t see the whole bird.  However, the head was very lightly barred with a small clump of dark feathers on the top of its head.  This means that it is likely a juvenile male.  However, without a better look, it is hard to be sure.  

I have seen Eastern Phoebes, DC Cormorants, and White Pelicans, Great Blue Herons, and many Turkey Vultures this week.  

Spring is moving along!!

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (3/23/15):

I headed out at lunch today in search of Horned Larks, Lapland Longspurs, and Snow Buntings. In my experience, they are easiest to find right after a snow since they often head to the road sides in search of seeds and grit once the fields have a new layer of snow.

I was able to find dozens of Horned Larks on County X north of Midway and on County ZN west of the refuge visitor center on Brice Prairie. In the later location, I was also happy to find 2 male Lapland Longspurs hanging out with the Horned Larks.

Other first of the year birds for the day for La Crosse County included a singing Song Sparrow, a Rusty Blackbird hanging out in a flock of Red-winged Blackbirds, an Eastern Meadowlark near the refuge headquarters, and a very lost-looking Great Blue Heron standing in the snow next to a very slushy puddle at Halfway Creek.

The new observation deck is open on the north edge of Lake Onalaska. There was a nice assortment of ducks on the lake including many species of diver ducks that included all 3 mergansers and Ruddy Ducks.

Enjoy spring (despite the snow)!!

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (5/19/14):

The field trip to Wyalusing and the Birdathon birding that Scott and I did afterwards on Sunday, May 18th were spectacular! Scott and I ended the day with 29 species of Warblers (28 seen and heard on the field trip - most seen by all participants. We added a Northern Waterthrush later outside the park). We ended the day with close to 130 species of birds. Interesting misses were both Cuckoos. The slow weather has really delayed their arrival in the state.

Scott and I found shorebirds in two locations after the field trip and we ended up with 11 species of shorebirds and 3 species of gulls. The shorebird highlights included a Hudsonian Godwit (good eyes Kim!), as well as both Dowitchers, Semi-palmated Plovers, and Least, Semi-palmated, Pectoral, Baird's, and White-rumped Sandpipers. Unfortunately, we didn't find any Yellowlegs to pad our list. We did find a few Franklin's Gulls along Hwy 35 north of Cabelas which was a good sighting too.

Thanks to everyone who participated. It was a great trip and I hope that everyone enjoyed all the birds.

Enjoy the birds,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (5/12/14):

The last Myrick Marsh and Hixon Forest bird walks of the year will be held this week.

The Myrick Marsh Walk will be held tomorrow (May 13) and will begin at 6:30 AM at the head of the trail about 100 yards east of the EcoPark Building. We will go until about 8:30 depending on birds and weather. This walk will be led by Pat and Bobbi Wilson and myself.

The Hixon Forest walk will be held on Thursday, May 15th and will start at 6:30 AM from the Hixon Forest parking lot at the end of Milson Court. Pat and Bobbi Wilson and Scott Puchalski will lead that event. I will not be there since I will be helping to lead field trips for the Wisconsin Society of Ornithology (WSO) convention in Prairie Du Chien.

We had a great field trip on Saturday morning at the Trempealeau Refuge. I saw over 120 species of birds that day and most were on that field trip. This included 21 species of warblers and much more. We heard a probable Connecticut Warbler that would have been a real treat if we could have verified it (Oh well!!).

On Sunday, May 18th, Scott and I will lead the annual Wyalusing State Park field trip. We will meet on the entrance road out near the highway at 6:30 AM. I will be camping in the park so will meet everyone there. This is one of the best birding locations in the state. Park specialties include Kentucky, Yellow-throated, and Prothonotary Warblers, Louisiana Waterthrush, Henslow's Sparrow, and Acadian Flycatcher and often has many more great migrants.

This trip is our birdathon event. Scott and I have created a "Coulee Birders" team and would really appreciate it if all field trip participants become part of the team or make a small donation to support our efforts. This can be done at www.WIBirdathon.org or donations can be also be given to Scott and I on that day if you would prefer.

The last week has been spectacular birding. I have seen from 18-22 species of warblers every day for the last 6 days (20 so far today). Hopefully, that will continue for the rest of the week!! I will be leading/co-leading 5 field trips in the next 6 days and am hoping that the weather and birds cooperate.

Enjoy the birds!!

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (5/8/14):

I found a small but nice group of shorebirds off of County ZN west of Onalaska over the lunch hour. I parked in a lot on the west side of a power substation that is just past the Upper Mississippi Refuge visitor center on the right (East) side of the road. In the small area of flooded field between that substation and the RR tracks, there was 1 Short-billed Dowitcher, 5 female Wilson's Phalaropes (females are the pretty one in that species), a few Least Sandpipers, Pectoral Sandpipers, Greater Yellowlegs, Killdeer, and a pair of Brewers Blackbirds. Further down the road, I also heard my first Bobolink of the year.

Enjoy the birds,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (5/7/14):

Today is a big migration day in the La Crosse area. I birded at Goose Island County Park for about 1/2 hour before work and along the bike trail in northern Onalaska during my lunch hour. Between these two locations, I have seen 20 species of warblers, Blue-headed, Yellow-throated and Warbling Vireos, Great-crested Flycatchers, Indigo Buntings, Grey-cheeked Thrush, and more. There are relatively few Yellow-rumped Warblers so the warbler watching has been pretty spectacular.

Enjoy the birds,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (5/2/14):

Over the lunch hour, I took a walk on the bike trail starting in Midway (at the west end of OT off of Hwy 35 in north Onalaska). I only walked for about ½ mile.

Highlights were 1 Dunlin that was in the middle of a small flock of Yellowlegs and a Franklin's Gull (pretty pink-blushed adult in perfect breeding plumage) in a mixed flock of gulls that also included a single adult Bonaparte's Gull).

Not much for passerines today. Did see a couple Northern Waterthrushes, an Orange-crowned Warbler, and several Rusty Blackbirds among the more usual suspects.

Good Birding,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (5/1/14):

Hummingbirds were seen in a couple of locations in WI today. Orioles have been reported for a couple of days.

If you feed these species, it is a good time to fill and put out your feeders. With this cold weather, if one does arrive in your yard, a feeder will be a very important food source for an early bird.

Enjoy the birds and happy spring,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (4/29/14):

During my lunch hour, I found a Harris’ Sparrow and other good birds along Fishermen’s road (on the east side of the La Crosse Airport). Other birds seen by me or Scott included: White-throated, White-crowned, Lincoln’s, Lark, Savannah, Song, Swamp, and Chipping Sparrows, Cliff, Barn, Bank, Tree, and Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Purple Martins, Spotted Sandpipers, Orange-crowned, Palm, and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Brown Thrashers, and more.

The flood gates are opening in terms of spring migrants!!

Good birding,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (3/31/14):

On Saturday, March 29th, a nice sized group met at Goose Island to look for waterfowl and other spring migrants. We saw 47 species of birds which included most of the species of ducks that are typically seen on the river during the early part of the spring migration (missed Green-winged Teal, Black Ducks, Redheads, Greater Scaup, and Red-breasted Mergansers.

The highlights were probably a female Great Horned Owl on a nest, a pair of Trumpeter Swans, and a soaring Red-shouldered Hawk.

On Sunday, the geese were really on the move. I had 10-15 flocks go over my house in the morning while I was boiling sap. These included mostly Canadas with a few Cackling Geese. The last flock of the morning was a flock of Greater White-fronted Geese that included a single Snow Goose. A nice distraction from tending the fire and gathering sap!

Enjoy the birds,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (2/7/14):

Paul and Bernadette Hayes found a Snowy Owl just south of Westby on Wednesday afternoon and saw it again yesterday. His description of the location is:

>1/4/mile SW of the intersection of Smith Rd. and Prairie Edge Rd. between Westby and Viroqua, just E of 14-61. We relocated it today at 9 am and 11:30 AM. Yesterday at 4PM it was flying a 1/2 mile SE of this location.

Last Saturday, I was excited to see a new bird from my yard. An adult Golden Eagle was perched on a tree near the top of the ridge directly across from my house. While I was watching it, it dove across the valley and into the woods about 150 yards from my house. I am not sure what it was going after (squirrel, rabbit, turkey?) but it was a real treat. I had seen what was probably the same bird about 1 mile away the week before.

Enjoy the birds!

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (5/21/13):

Chris West spotted a Western Grebe on the west side of the main channel below the blue bridges yesterday. It was still present over the lunch hour today and was diving just downstream from the entrance to the Pettibone Marina (and therefore in WI waters).

Stephen Winter passed along a sighting of many shorebirds on mud flats on the eastern end of Lake Neshonic in West Salem. The best way to view them is probably by kayak.

Enjoy the birds! The fall migration is going strong.

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (5/21/13):

There were 10 species of shorebirds in the first 2 ponds on the east side of the bike trail just north of Midway at noon today.

They included:

Wilson’s Phalarope (1 male)
Semi-palmated Plover (1)
Killdeer (2)
Dunlin (5)
Semi-palmated Sandpiper (1)
Least Sandpiper (1)
Spotted Sandpiper (2)
Lesser Yellowlegs
Greater Yellowlegs
Pectoral Sandpiper (1)

There was a “singing” Willow Flycatcher in that area as well. Only 5 species of Warblers and pretty quiet. Yesterday, there was a singing Bell’s Vireo in that area.

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (5/20/13):

On Saturday, 23 of spent 6 hours birding the Wyalusing State Park. We did end up seeing or hearing all of the park specialties, but they weren't super cooperative and we also did not see as many species of warblers as I hoped. Despite that, it was a great trip with lots of great birds.

The highlights of the day including MANY calling Cuckoos of both species. We also had Kentucky, Yellow-throated, Prothonotary, Cerulean, and Blackburnian Warblers, Louisiana Waterthrush, Henslow's Sparrow, and many Acadian Flycatchers.

A full list is included below. Dan

Wyalusing SP, Grant, US-WI
May 18, 2013 6:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling 10.0 mile(s)
Comments: Coulee Audubon Field Trip
77 species

Ring-necked Pheasant X
Wild Turkey 1
Great Blue Heron X
Turkey Vulture 2
Bald Eagle 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Mourning Dove X
Yellow-billed Cuckoo X
Black-billed Cuckoo X
Chimney Swift X
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 20
Red-bellied Woodpecker X
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker X
Downy Woodpecker X
Hairy Woodpecker X
Northern Flicker X
Pileated Woodpecker X
Eastern Wood-Pewee X
Acadian Flycatcher X
Least Flycatcher X
Eastern Phoebe X
Great Crested Flycatcher X
Yellow-throated Vireo X
Blue-headed Vireo X
Warbling Vireo X
Red-eyed Vireo X
Blue Jay X
American Crow X
Northern Rough-winged Swallow X
Tree Swallow X
Barn Swallow X
Black-capped Chickadee X
Tufted Titmouse X
White-breasted Nuthatch X
House Wren X
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher X
Ruby-crowned Kinglet X
Eastern Bluebird X
Gray-cheeked Thrush X
Swainson's Thrush X
Wood Thrush X
American Robin X
Gray Catbird X
Brown Thrasher X
Cedar Waxwing X
Ovenbird X
Louisiana Waterthrush X
Blue-winged Warbler X
Prothonotary Warbler X
Tennessee Warbler X
Kentucky Warbler X
Common Yellowthroat X
American Redstart X
Cerulean Warbler X
Blackburnian Warbler X
Yellow Warbler X
Chestnut-sided Warbler X
Blackpoll Warbler X
Yellow-throated Warbler X
Eastern Towhee X
Chipping Sparrow X
Field Sparrow X
Henslow's Sparrow X
Song Sparrow X
White-throated Sparrow X
White-crowned Sparrow X
Scarlet Tanager X
Northern Cardinal X
Rose-breasted Grosbeak X
Indigo Bunting X
Red-winged Blackbird X
Eastern Meadowlark X
Common Grackle X
Brown-headed Cowbird X
Baltimore Oriole X
Pine Siskin X
American Goldfinch X

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (5/15/13):

I stopped at Goose Island this morning on my way to work and only had time to bird about 100 yards of trail at the flag pole parking area. There was definitely a big movement of birds into the area last night!! In just 20 minutes, I found 15 species of warblers including:

Blackburnian Warbler (1)
Blackpoll Warbler (4)
Magnolia Warbler (2)
Golden-winged Warbler (1)
Prothonotary Warbler (1)
Orange-crowned Warbler (1)
Tennessee Warbler (1)
Common Yellowthroat (2)
Northern Waterthrush (4)
Yellow Warbler (several)
American Redstart (several)
Mourning Warbler (1)
Ovenbird (2)
Black-and-white Warbler (a few)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (many)

There were also several Gray-cheeked Thrushes, 1 Swainson’s Thrush, an Eastern Wood Peewee, Least Flycatchers, Vireos, and more.

I believe that I also heard Bay-breasted and Nashville Warblers but couldn’t spot the Bay-breasted to verify it. I also had a Blue-winged Warbler and a possible Canada Warbler in my yard this morning (only heard a song fragment twice so wasn’t positive).

It was really hard to break away and go to work. More time in there would have produced more species.

Good birding,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (5/3/13):

I was at the Myrick Hixon EcoPark last night for the press announcement for La Crosse’s attainment of Wisconsin Bird City certification. While talking to everyone, someone mentioned seeing lots of Horned Grebes east of the main trail. I checked it out after the press conference and counted 212 Horned Grebes!! Most were gone this morning but there were still a dozen in that area.

On my way home, I stopped at the flag pole location at Goose Island. The best birds that I found were a pair (one adult, one juvenile) of Black-crowned Night Herons. The did flush when I saw them but did seem to stay in the area.

Both Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and Baltimore and Orchard Orioles have been seen in the area. If you normally feed them, you should get your feeders up right away. With this weather, having access to a feeder will be very helpful when they show up in your yard.

Good birding,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (4/29/13):

Jordan Heeter spotted a male Black Scoter just before lunch above the spillway off of Fishermen's Road. I stopped by at lunch and couldn't find that bird, but did find Lark Sparrows along the road just north of the northern-most pump house that Larry Johnson reported to me yesterday.

I also saw 7 Forster's Terns and heard but could not see an Upland Sandpiper that was calling from the La Crosse airport property. There were House Wrens, Brown Thrashers, Eastern Towhees, and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher in the area as well.

The Piping Plover that was seen last week has not been seen in a couple of days. It turns out that bird was banded as a fledgling last year on Gavins Reach of the Missouri River.

Good Birding,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (4/25/13):

Two White-faced Ibises were found south of La Crescent by Dedrick Benz yesterday. They are being seen in a flooded field on the north side of the Root River south of La Crescent on the way to Brownsville off of Hwy 26.

Take the Hwy 16 south from La Crescent and turn onto Hwy 26 toward Brownsville. Just before the bridge over the Root River, there is a canoe landing on the west side of the road. Pull into that road and drive up toward the gate just before the pole building. The field on the north side of the Root River is flooded and is full of ducks and shorebirds. There were literally hundreds of Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, a couple of Willets, and the 2 White-faced Ibises there over the noon hour today.

When I saw them today, they were out a long way and could only be identified with a spotting scope.

Spring is here, enjoy it!!

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (4/24/13):

I will be presenting a Warbler ID class in the basement meeting room at the Ho-chunk Nation building at 810 Main Street in La Crosse at 7:00 this evening. The Ho-Chunk building is directly across 8th street from the main branch of the La Crosse Public Library. The presentation will take just over an hour.

Jon Thometz found a banded Piping Plover yesterday afternoon on the waterski beach on Fishermen’s Road on the east side of the La Crosse airport. This is federally endangered species and very rare. The bird has been seen this morning. Great Find Jon and thanks for sharing!!!

I found 2 Willets and 6 Marbled Godwits along the bike trail north of Midway yesterday afternoon. There is a pond on the west side of the trail about ½ mile north of Midway. It was full of Green Winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, both Yellowlegs, a Spotted Sandpiper, and 1 Willet. This pond is great shorebird habitat and will be worth checking on a regular basis.

Another ¼ farther down the trail, there is a big flooded area on the east side of the trail. The 6 Godwits and another Willet were hanging out with a mixed flock of ducks along the south edge of that flooded area. These were visible through a 60x scope at long range from County XX north of Midway.

There were also many sparrows (Fox, White-throated, Swamp, Song), Hermit Thrushes, a Brown Thrasher, an Eastern Towhee, 7 White-fronted Geese, Wilson’s Snipe, and hundreds of Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal seen along the bike trail.

Spring is here, enjoy it!!

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (4/13/13):

Scott Puchalski and I found a Mountain Bluebird at the Trempealeau NWR at about 2:40 today. When we first found it, it was on the north side of the road on the west side of the small knoll on the main road into the refuge. This is about ¼ mile west of the entrance to the north wildlife loop.

The bird then moved east and crossed to the other side of the knoll. It was seen in that area checking out a Bluebird house until a pair of Eastern Bluebirds chased it away. It was last seen about 3:00 on the north side of the road near a small retaining wall near the top of the knoll.

Here are links to a couple of the pictures that I was able to take.

http://www.pbase.com/dejackson/image/149663129

http://www.pbase.com/dejackson/image/149663130

Good birding,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (4/8/13): The gull flocks on the Black River continue to get bigger. There is a huge winter kill of shad.

Today, we found all of the birds that have been reported recently:

Thayer’s Gull – 1 2nd year bird on Lake Onalaska

Glaucous Gull – 1 1st year bird on Lake Onalaska

Lesser Black-backed Gull – 3 adults and perhaps a 1st year bird in front of Shopko

Franklin’s Gull – several in most big groups

Ring-billed Gulls – 5000+

Herring Gulls – 300-400

I also had a really interesting first year bird at beach. My best guess would be a Glaucous x Herring Gull hybrid. Dipped-in-ink bill of a 1st year Glaucous Gull (pink with black tip), primaries and secondaries of a 1st year Thayer’s Gull. Bigger than Herring gulls nearby. Otherwise, perhaps a very dark 1st year Glaucous Gull.

RED_NECKED GREBE – 1 adult north of Fishermen’s Road beach (my first on the Mississippi)

Pied-billed Grebe – many

Common Loon – 1 adult off of Fishermen’s Road Beach

Good Birding,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (4/1/13):

There are hundreds of gulls feasting on a winter kill of shad on the Black River. They are mostly Ring-billed (90 %) and Herring Gulls (9.9 %), but there are also some other goodies thrown in for good measure. Doug Stratton found a couple of Franklin’s Gulls off of Fishermen’s Rd (on the east side of the La Crosse Airport) yesterday. Scott Puchalski and I found 1 there today as well as a juvenile Thayer’s Gull. We also found another Franklin’s Gull on the ice at the boat landing on the south side of Clinton St.

Other new birds that I have heard about from the weekend include Fox Sparrows, Eastern Phoebe, Blue-winged Teal, American Woodcock, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Tree Sparrows, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Rusty and Brewer’s Blackbirds, and more.

Good Birding,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (3/25/13):

A small group did show up for the Mississippi Waterfowl field trip so we did look for birds. It turned out that although the numbers weren’t very high, there was a good selection of waterfowl and other birds to be seen.

We ended up seeing Trumpeter and Tundra Swans, Canada Geese, all of the puddle ducks that are usually found on the Mississippi River in the spring except Blue-winged Teal and American Widgeon, and all of the diver ducks that are usually seen on the Mississippi except Ruddy Ducks and Red-breasted Mergansers. Those are all normally later migrants, so those exceptions were not a surprise.

We also saw several Eastern Bluebirds, Killdeer, Sandhill Cranes, Turkey Vultures, 2 Song Sparrows, 2 Peregrine Falcons at the Genoa Power Plant, a Great-horned Owl, Great Blue Herons, and both Ring-billed and Herring Gulls.

The best waterfowl locations were on the west side of Goose Island Park (from just north of the campground entrance), the Shady Maple area just south of Goose Island, the north end of the lake at Ferryville, and the open water spots near Lynxville.

I do hope to try that trip again when more birds arrive. I will send out an invitation via e-mail.

Enjoy the birds,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (2/8/13), a reminder about the 2013 GBBC:

Just a reminder that the Great Backyard Bird Count is only a week away and will take place from Friday, February 15th through Monday, February 18th. Unlike the Christmas Bird Count, you can now participate in this count at any location in the world. I hope that you will try it out!!

The two big changes this year are that it is not a global count and that it uses eBird to accept your count data. eBird is easy to use so this shouldn’t be a problem and hopefully will allow people to see and try out this great tool.

I will be doing a presentation on the count tomorrow (Saturday, February 9th) at 1:30 at Wild Birds Unlimited in La Crosse (In the Shelby Mall a few doors down from Shopko). We will talk about how to take part in the count and I will also share a presentation on how to identify the birds that are most likely to be seen in the Coulee Region during the count. Everyone is welcome!

Enjoy the birds,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (2/4/13), a summary of the Northwoods Birding Trip:

On Saturday, Scott Puchalski and I led a Coulee Region Audubon Society field trip to northern WI. I was a little nervous about the trip since I have always done that trip on my own. However, my worries turned out to be unfounded as we had a great day. It started out rough with quite a bit of snow that slowed us down at the start. However, once we got north of I-94, the snow disappeared and it ended up being a sunny day.

Birding in northern Wisconsin in the winter is a little tough, but we did very well. We found Pine Grosbeaks, Common Redpolls, White-winged Crossbills, Gray Jays, Northern Shrikes, Ruffed Grouse, Common Ravens, Red-breasted Nuthatches, and other more common birds as we checked my usual spots. On highway GG, just south of the Ashland County line in Sawyer County, Chris West spotted an eagle. At first, he called it a Bald Eagle, but when we stopped for a better look, we realized that in fact it was a sub-adult Golden Eagle.

While birding in the morning, Chris received a couple e-mails letting him know that several Boreal Owls had been seen just north of Duluth. Since that species is extremely difficult to find, we talked about it and decided to try for them. On the way to Duluth, we looked for and found a Northern Hawk Owl that has been seen near Poplar, WI for the last month. Shortly afterward, we received more great news about the Boreal Owls. A bird had just been seen along old Hwy 61 north of Duluth!

When we arrived in that area, we immediately spotted a group of cars pulled off on the side of the road. Sure enough, the reason was a Boreal Owl that was hunting 20 yards into the woods. While there, we talked to another birder that had heard about another bird that had been seen nearby. We headed that way and saw that bird as well as another a little farther off the road!! One of those birds was seen at a distance of less than 30 feet.

On the way home, we took a side trip to the Superior airport and were treated to a sighting of a Snowy Owl. That sighting gave us 3 northern species of owls for the day and was a great ending for a great field trip!

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (1/22/13):

Several Coulee Audubon members took part in the Golden Eagle Survey that was held last Saturday. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I had a great time in the coulees.

I surveyed Wisconsin Route 24 which includes the area south of Hwy 33 and north of Hwy 162 and Hwy 14 (the southern edge of La Crosse County and the northern 1/3 of Vernon County from the Mississippi on the west to Westby on the east. The highlights of my day were 2 Golden Eagles (1 immature in the Hwy P valley just east of County X, and an adult in the Spring Coulee Valley about ½ mile east of Hwy P), several Ring-necked Pheasants, a couple Belted Kingfishers, 15 Red-winged Blackbirds, 14 Bald Eagles, 25 Red-tailed Hawks, 1 Rough-legged Hawk, and 8 American Kestrels.

I know that Scott and Kim also found an adult Golden Eagle just north of my area (County G south of Hwy 33) and that Ric & Betty Zarwell also found a couple in their territory in NE Iowa. There are more Golden Eagles in the driftless area during the winter time than most people realize.

I have had an Eastern Towhee visiting my feeders since early January. I have also had an American Kestrel, a Sharp-shinned Hawk that I have seen several times, and a single Common Redpoll visit my feeders over the last few weeks. The Kestrel and Redpoll were firsts for my yard and therefore pretty special.

Enjoy the birds,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (11/15/12):

This might be the year to see rare winter finches in this area. Pine Grosbeaks, Evening Grosbeaks, Red Crossbills, White-winged Crossbills, Bohemian Waxwings, Redpolls, and Red-breasted Nuthatches are all being seen well south of their normal wintering areas this fall. This might be "The Year" for finding some of these northern specialties in this area.

If anyone is lucky enough to find any of these, please share your sightings. It would be a real treat.

Good birding,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (10/31/12):

Over my lunch hour, I scoped part of Lake Onalaska from the base of the dike at the west end of Spillway Drive (on French Island west of the La Crosse airport).

There were lots of ducks out there with most being out a long ways. The best sighting was a flock of 5 scoters that included one White-winged and 4 Surf Scoters. Thanks to Pat Schmid, Scott Puchalski and I were able to get closer to them and get a good look through our scopes.

Good birding,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (7/6/12):

A family of Loggerhead Shrikes was discovered about a week ago on the Trempealeau Mountain Golf Course. The center of their territory seems to be the 3rd hole which is along the east side of the course (along Schubert Road). I saw the birds on 7/4 from that road. Loggerhead Shrikes are listed as Threatened/endangered in WI so treat them with care. This species, especially a nesting pair, is extremely rare in WI (this is the second that I have seen in WI).

Last night, I heard an unusual call while outside in my yard. I had heard it previously, but I never heard enough to really believe what I was hearing and therefore had written it off as a Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Last night, I finally heard enough to realize that I was in fact hearing a Yellow-breasted Chat. I checked it out and found that I have a pair on my property. This has been a very good year for Chats in WI. Jon Thometz found one at Wyalusing and there have been several other sightings reported in the southern third of the state.

As most of you know, I have become an Odonata (dragonfly and damselfly) enthusiast. This has been a crazy year for Odonata in WI and MN. About 2 weeks ago, I found Striped Saddlebags in Winona and Houston Counties in MN and then later found another in La Crosse. That species is considered a tropical dragonfly with a normal range that extends from Argentina to the very southern counties of Texas and Florida. Individuals have been known to wander north and the previous most northerly record was from Iowa (from about 40 years ago). Therefore, these sightings were the first for both MN and WI. WI has also had 2 other new species recorded this year. There have been 2 different sightings of Banded Dragonlets in the SE corner of the state and a Blue-faced Meadowhawk was found yesterday. A person in the Milwaukee area who saw one of the Banded Dragonlets has also seen a Painted Skimmer and a couple Great Blue Skimmers this summer. These are extremely rare in the state with only a couple of prior records.

This year’s weather has sure allowed for some interesting surprises!!

Enjoy the birds and bugs,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (5/15/12):

The May meeting of the Coulee Region Audubon Society will be held tomorrow night (Wednesday, May 16) at 7:00 PM in the basement meeting room of the Ho-chunk Nation building at 810 Main Street in La Crosse. That building is located on the southwest corner of the intersection of Main and 8th streets and is across 8th street from the main branch of the La Crosse Public Library.

This month’s speaker will be Kurt Brownell. He will be talking about the trip he took on the Trans-Siberian Railroad to teach at Muraviovka Park at a summer camp for children from the Amur Region. This park was set up and operates with support from the International Crane Foundation. It should be a great program and I encourage you to attend.

This morning was the last of the Myrick Marsh bird walks. The warbler migration is winding down but we did see 43 species including a Blackpoll Warbler, Black Terns, Least Sandpipers, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Great Egrets, and other fun Marsh birds.

On Thursday, Pat & Bobbi Wilson and I will lead the last Hixon Forest Bird Walk of the year. We will meet at 6:30 at the trailhead parking lot off of Milson Court. The walk usually goes until about 8:30 and is free and open to the public. Participants are welcome to leave early if that fits their schedule.

On Saturday, I will lead a birding field trip at Wyalusing. I will be camping in the park and therefore I will meet participants near the park entrance at 6:30 am. We will be looking for park specialties including Henslow’s Sparrows, Acadian Flycatchers, Kentucky, Yellow-throated, Cerulean, Prothonotary, and Blue-winged Warblers, Louisiana Waterthrush, and anything else that we can find. Please let me know if you plan to attend so that I have a rough idea of the number of participants to expect.

Last night, I found a Prothonotary Warbler on territory near the flag pole parking lot at Goose Island and was able to get this picture:

http://www.pbase.com/dejackson/image/143329387

Enjoy the birds,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (5/2/12):

After a very quick and early start, migration slowed tremendously over the last couple of weeks. However, over the past couple of days, that appears to have changed. Many species of Warblers, Vireos, shorebirds, Flycatchers, and Terns as well as Grosbeaks, Hummingbirds, Tanagers, Buntings, and many other types of birds are being seen throughout the southern half of the state and many observers reported many First of Year (FOY) sightings yesterday and today.

The many early records seen in early April were mostly species that overwinter in the southern US. They were able to take advantage of the very early spring and moved north at record paces. The birds that are showing up now are mostly neotropic migrants – birds that overwinter in Central and South America. Since they are not aware of unusual weather patterns in North America, they start to migrate when the days get longer and when the minutes of daylight in the day triggers them to move. These birds have been migrating right on schedule and in some cases have even been a little behind schedule. However, the sightings of the last couple of days indicate that a major push is happening.

If you have the chance, get out birding. It will be worth your while.

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (4/23/12):

Al Sheldon found a pair of White-faced Ibis in Trempealeau on the Mississippi River about 20 miles north of La Crosse. They are hanging out in a small pond on the north side of the access road to the Trempealeau Lock & Dam. The pond is about 100 yards east of the dam and between the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks and the dam. There were also Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, a Solitary Sandpiper, a Spotted Sandpiper, and a Sora feeding on the edges of the pond.

Here are links to pictures of the birds:
http://www.pbase.com/dejackson/image/142863345
http://www.pbase.com/dejackson/image/142863347
http://www.pbase.com/dejackson/image/142863361

Happy Spring,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (3/28/12):

The last 10 days have brought even more new arrivals into the state. Yellow-rumped Warblers, Ruby-crowned and Gold-crowned Kinglets, Swamp, Fox, Chipping, and Field Sparrows, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Bonaparte’s Gulls, Common Loons, Lesser Yellowlegs, Pied-billed Grebes, and Great Egrets have all been reported in this area in the last week. Song Sparrows, Northern Flickers, Eastern Phoebes, Eastern Bluebirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Eastern Meadowlarks, and Common Grackles, and American White Pelicans are now becoming relatively routine sightings.

Other sightings of note include a Horned Grebe at Goose Island on Wednesday, a Ross’s Goose on Lake Onalaska early last week, Common Loons at the Stoddard Boat landing and on Lake Onalaska, a Winter Wren in the Hixon Forest near the parking lot today (singing beautifully), the first Common Green Darner Dragonflies of the year, 5 species of butterflies, Pasque Flowers, Bloodroot flowers, Dutchmen’s Britches, Bumble Bees, and lots of other neat spring sightings.

The waterfowl trip on Saturday turned out better than I expected. Although the ducks weren’t up as close as they sometimes are for that trip, we did end up with most of the expected species and a final species list for the day of 50 species. Not bad for a field trip in March!!

This weather has sure been interesting and is also resulting in some really interesting pheneology.

Happy Spring,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (3/21/12):

The last week has brought unseasonably warm weather to the state and region and there have been more early arrivals. I have received reports of Tree Swallows, Northern Flickers, American White Pelicans, Pied-billed Grebes, Ruddy Ducks, and more in the La Crosse Area and other really early reports of Chipping Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, Eastern Towhees, and other species are being reported in Southern Wisconsin.

At the state level, there have already been 66 reports of butterflies submitted to the WisconsinButterflies.org website. While most of those have been sightings of butterfly species that can over-winter (Mourning Cloaks, Gray and Eastern Commas, Milbert’s and Compton’s Tortoiseshells), there have also been reports of very early Spring Azures which would be newly-emerged.

Keep your eyes peeled for strange and early sightings. This will probably continue to be a year of many record-early sightings.

Good birding,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (3/12/12):

The waterfowl migration has hit full stride on the Mississippi in the La Crosse area. Over the weekend, a few of us were out looking at waterfowl and at this point we are seeing all of the regular species of ducks that are normally found on the river except for Ruddy Ducks and Red-breasted Mergansers (the latest of the migrating ducks).

The puddle ducks sighted included Mallards, Black Ducks, Wood Ducks, Blue and Green-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, American Wigeon, Gadwalls, and Northern Pintails (all seen at the entrance to Goose Island and also at the Coon Creek delta just south of Stoddard). Diver ducks sighted included Canvasbacks (10,000+), Lesser and Great Scaup, Redheads, Ring-necked Ducks, Bufflehead, Hooded and Common Mergansers, and Common Goldeneye (the biggest concentration was north of Stoddard). This last week also included sightings of quite a few geese including Canadas, Greater White-fronted, Snow, and Ross’s Geese (the last three at Trempealea NWR on 3/11 as well as Snow and Ross’s sightings in La Crosse and Vernon Counties early last week).

Other new migrants included American Woodcock, Common Grackles, Song Sparrows, American White Pelicans, Franklin’s Gulls, Thayer’s Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Pied-billed Grebe, Rusty Blackbird, and Brewer’s Blackbird. Robins, Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, and Killdeer are now present in high numbers throughout the area. They seemed to make a major push on Friday night with the numbers seen on Saturday being much higher than even the day before.

The Bald Eagle Numbers were really impressive last week along the Black River. We saw hundreds of birds in that area up through Saturday. It does look like there was some major movement of eagles out of the area over the weekend. I saw far fewer birds south of La Crosse yesterday and a couple people reported large kettles forming over the Black River area on Saturday.

Scott Puchalski and I went on a Wild Goose Chase on Saturday in Dane, Columbia, Iowa, and Sauk Counties. The number of geese in that area is amazing and it was also really neat to see hundreds of Greater White-fronted Geese as well as Cackling, Snow and Ross’s Geese. Other highlights included our first Lesser Yellowlegs and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers of the year.

Another highlight yesterday (3/11) was my first butterflies of the year. I saw one Mourning Cloak and 2 Eastern Comma butterflies during the late morning and early afternoon. These are both species that over-winter as adults and are known to fly on the first really warm days of spring. To see a picture of one of the Eastern Commas, go to http://wisconsinbutterflies.org/butterfly/sightings/7987

Thanks to everyone who shared their sightings for this report.

Good birding,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (3/7/12):

Today, over the noon hour, I was able to re-find one of the Franklin’s Gulls that were seen yesterday. There was a fairly good sized flock of gulls feeding on a big supply of dead shad directly in front of the waterskiing beach on Fishermen’s Road on the east side of the La Crosse Airport.

Over the noon hour, Marty Lohman found an adult Ross’ Goose feeding in the stubble of a field that is directly across Hwy 35 from the Southern Bluffs Elementary School. This is just south of the intersection of Hwy 14 and Hwy 35 and on the way toward Goose Island. Scott Puchalski and I were able to see it this evening after 5:00. It either stayed in that area all day or left and came back. It was all by itself which is fairly unusual.

Last night and today, I found a total of 15 migrating Turkey Vultures moving through the area. Last night, the Snow Goose that has been seen in the area for the last several days was hanging out in the closed area south of Goose Island with a flock of 100+ Canada Geese. Only a few geese were at that location tonight and it was not there. The bird has also been seen just below Wildcat Landing at Brownsville and also just north of Goose Island.

I saw quite a few Robins in the area today and also heard a Killdeer while I was checking out a big flock of ducks near the spillway west of French Island. That flock included 100s of Ring-necked Ducks and Lesser Scaup, as well as a few Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, a Coot, a few Canvasbacks, a Redhead, a few Hooded Mergansers, and many Common Mergansers and Common Goldeneye.

Good birding,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (3/6/12):

Scott Puchalski found an adult Franklin’s Gull at the Black River beach (just upstream from the Clinton Street Bridge and behind Powerhouse Marine and the Perkins Restaurant on Rose Street. It was loafing on the ice with a flock of Ring-billed Gulls. There are also dozens of eagles in that area as well as a few Herring Gulls.

A picture of the gull (very pretty as gulls go) is located at:
http://www.pbase.com/dejackson/image/141921214

The pinkish tone to the bird’s feathers is caused by eating food with high levels of carotenoids during feather development. That is very common in Franklin Gulls and is also seen on a less common basis in some Ring-billed Gulls.

Mark Webster reported that he has seen a pair of Peregrine Falcons in downtown La Crosse. Warren Evans also had a calling Northern Saw-whet Owl at his house late last week. They are definitely on the move right now.

Good birding,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (3/5/12):

The waterfowl migration has picked up on the Mississippi in the La Crosse area. A few people were out this weekend and everyone had similar results:

The most common ducks being seen were:
Common Mergansers
Common Goldeneye.

However, others are starting to trickle in and we also found:
Canvasbacks (2000+ above Stoddard) Ring-necked Ducks (a few in Goose Island Closed Area) Lesser Scaup (a few south of Goose Island) Greater Scaup (Scott Puchalski found at least one south of Goose Island) Hooded Mergansers (several in many locations) Mallards (common) Black Ducks (a few pair below Goose Island) Gadwall (a few below Goose Island) American Wigeon (a couple pair below Goose Island) Wood Ducks (Steve Houdek had a few on the MN side) Green-winged Teal (Steve Houdek found a few on MN side) Canada Geese (not large numbers but seen in many locations) Snow Goose (1 bird seen in a couple places - on Friday it was seen just north of Goose Island, On Saturday & Sunday, it was seen just below the entrance to the Wildcat Landing at Brownsville) Tundra Swans (1 pair seen on Sat off Shady Maple)

Bald Eagles were present in big numbers on the WI side. I didn't try counting them, but estimate that I saw 150-200 between Genoa and La Crosse on Saturday (one small island had 29 on it). I was also happy to find a sub-adult Golden about 1 mile off the river near Stoddard (at intersection of Sylvan Glen Road and County O).

Other early migrants that are just arriving included:
Sandhill Cranes are trickling into the area (2 on Coon Creek Delta below Stoddard) and I also noticed quite a few Robins, Red-winged Blackbirds (singing in several locations), and Eastern Bluebirds. We also spotted a few Killdeer (Wild Cat Landing), good numbers of American Kestrels, and only a single Rough-legged Hawk (moving out).

On the MN side of the river, I did find a single Snowy Owl (Hwy 3 west of Brownsville near intersection of Cork Hollow Road - seen in that area on a daily basis Thurs-Sun but not found after 8:30 AM on Sun.) and a good-sized flock of Common Redpolls (Hwy 3 in same area).

Please help me with this weekly update by sending me first of year and unusual bird sightings.

Good birding,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (3/1/12):

Today, while scouting for the bus trip that I will help to lead on Sunday for the Festival of Owls, I found a juvenile male Snowy Owl on the north side of County Road 3 a few miles west of Brownsville. When I first spotted it, it was on the bank of a stock pond. After I stopped, the bird got nervous and moved a little farther away. It was at that point, that I realized that it had something fairly large in its talons. The prey item turned out to be a Muskrat.

The bird was located along County Road 3 west of the intersection of County Rd 24 and east of the intersection with Cork Hollow Drive. I talked to a passing motorist who lives right there and she indicated that her father-in-law had seen a Snowy in that area earlier this winter. Hopefully, that means that this bird will stick around at least until the field trip on Sunday.

If anyone sees this owl in the next couple of days, please keep me posted.

Good birding,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

From Dan Jackson (2/28/12):

Tom and Mary Jo Clark had a Northern Saw-whet Owl calling at their house last night. They said that last year, the first one heard that they heard was on 3/14. This year’s mild weather may have them moving early this year. They have a toot-toot-toot-toot call that sounds somewhat like the backup alarms on work vehicles. If you hear a dump truck backing up in your woods at night, you are more likely hearing a Saw-whet Owl.

Other sightings of note in the last couple weeks include migrating Sandhill Cranes and raptors. Scott Puchalski heard his first Sandhill of the year last week at Goose Island and they are being seen regularly in the southern part of the state. Geese and waterfowl are starting to move into the state and the next few weeks are the best time or the year to watch for White-fronted, Snow, Ross’ and Cackling Geese. If you see a big flock of Canada Geese, look closely. There might be something unusual in the flock.

Raptors, including Peregrine Falcons, American Kestrels, and others are also on the move. I spotted a migrating Peregrine near Prairie Du Chien on 2/18 and the numbers of Kestrels that I am seeing has gone up substantially over the last couple of weeks. There have also been quite a few reports of early Turkey Vultures in southern Wisconsin over the past week or so.

It sounds like the Snowy Owls might be headed north again. There have been several reported in MN and the reports indicated that different birds are being seen in areas that they frequent. I heard a report of a bird seen in the last couple of days in rural Chaseburg so it could pay to keep a look out for them.

Common Redpolls are still being seen in the area and northern finches are also still being found in the northern part of the state. Scott Puchalski and I spent a day birding the north country on Saturday and we found both Red and White-winged Crossbills, Pine and Evening Grosbeaks, a Gray Jay, Sharp-tailed and Spruce Grouse, Common Ravens, Trumpeter Swans, and quite a few Common Redpolls. We missed Black-backed Woodpeckers, Boreal Chickadees, and Ruffed Grouse but otherwise had almost all of the northern specialties that I had hoped to find. A spectacular day of birding.

If you see or hear of anything interesting, please share. I will forward interesting sightings to the list whenever I can.

Enjoy the birds,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin