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Coulee Region Audubon Society Rare Bird Alert

December 2017

Snowy Owls

From Dan Jackson on 12/6/2017:

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 Luck and Good Birding,

Dan

May 2016

White-winged Dove

From Dan Jackson on 5/25/2016:

It appears that the White-winged Dove seen at Myrick might have stayed in the area. Today, it was found at the house of Marty Lohman on N3337 Miller Rd. This is off of Smith Valley Road.

She has graciously extended an invitation for anyone who is interested to come and see it. THANKS MARTY!!

Good Luck and Good Birding,

Dan

November 2015

Lewis' Woodpecker

From Dan Jackson on 11/23/15:

There is a Lewis' Woodpecker visiting a yard and feeders just a few miles north of Galesville at N20163 Angels Ridge Rd. Angels Ridge Road is on the west side of Hwy 53 about half way between the intersections with County TTT and County TT.

Angels Ridge Road is a 'C' shaped road that starts at Hwy 53 and then heads west for 1/4 mile, then turns north for about the same distance, and then heads back to Hwy 53. This address is a farm with a driveway the meets the NW corner of this road. If you turn into the north part of Angels Ridge Road, the driveway will continue straight at the corner.

The homeowner's have indicated that they are willing to have visitors and have asked people to park by the barn. Please respect their property. Stopping at the door to announce your presence and to thank them for their hospitality would be appropriate. The bird spends time at the feeders and in a large Burr Oak on the opposite side of the driveway.

*** The home owners have requested that Sunday November 29 is the last day they will be able to welcome visiting viewers, but are glad that so many birders were able to come and enjoy their view of this rarity. ***

*** LATEST NEWS FROM THE HOME OWNERS AS OF 12/4/15: "We are fine with people coming over the weekend but would prefer to have them park on the road and they are welcome in our front yard (between the garden and our house) that way they can get a close look at mr. Lewis and we can still have our privacy. He was very active today and eating off our feeders for quite a few hours on and off. I think the warm weather is making him happy. He also likes our windmill and perches there from time to time." ***

Lewis' Woodpeckers are a western species and are very rare visitors to WI.

Good birding,

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

January 2015

Varied Thrush

From Dan Jackson on 1/8/15:

Don Severson has a beautiful male Varied Thrush coming to his feeders in rural Ettrick. He is willing to have people visit if anyone is interested. If you would like to see it, please e-mail me and I will forward his contact information.

He is located a couple of miles off of Hwy 53 about 5 miles north of Galesville.

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

April 2014

Black-necked Stilt

From Dan Jackson on 4/25/14:

At least one of the two Black-necked Stilts that Scott and Kim Puchalski found at the Half Way Creek Marsh on Tuesday, April 22nd was still present over the noon hour today.

Halfway Creek marsh is located on the north side of County ZN about ¼ mile west of the town of Midway. This is NW of Onalaska and on the northern route to Brice Prairie. If you are traveling north on HWY 35, turn west on County OT. Follow it until the stop sign and T intersection in Midway. Turn west onto County ZN and follow it for about ¼ mile. Watch for a sign and small parking lot on the north side of the road.

The bird was seen today on the back side of the cattail marsh that is just north and west of the sign at the parking lot. You will need to walk out on the dike that runs directly north from the parking lot. When you get to the point where that dike turns toward the NW, you can scan the flooded grass on the back side of those cattails. The bird was in that flooded grass area on the west edge of the marsh. This is probably 200 yards to the west.

Good birding,

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

August 2013

Western Grebe

From Dan Jackson on 8/29/13:

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.

Good birding,

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

Update from Matt Paulson on 8/30/13:

Present now just south of the Pettibone beach club. Good views with a scope from Isle La Plume, but best viewing would be from the beach club restaurant, plus there's a long detour to get on La Plume.

Matt Paulson
La Crosse

May 2013

Hudsonian Godwit

From Dan Jackson on 5/16/13:

Kathy Carlyle just called (about 2:00 pm) to say that she and Steve Houkek found a Hudsonian Godwit just north and west of the canoe landing on the Root River off of Hwy 26 between La Crescent and Brownsville (the location where the flock of Ibises were found a few weeks ago).

Good Birding,

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

April 2013

White-faced Ibis and Black Scoter

From Dan Jackson on 4/30/13:

The White-faced Ibis discovered on Friday by Ken Puchalski in the pond on the southwest side of the bike trail NW of Midway is still present as of noon today. As you walk up the trail toward Trempealeau, you will see a trail off to the south/west side of the bike trail. It ends in a lookout surrounded by a cedar rail fence. From that vantage, the bird has been seen In the far right corner of the pond.

The Black Scoter found by Jordan yesterday was also present at noon today. It was in the bay that extends back toward the landing at the very end of Fishermen's Road.

Good Birding,

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

April 2013

White-faced Ibis

From Dan Jackson on 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.

Good Birding.

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

April 2013

Piping Plover

From Dan Jackson on 4/24/13:

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!!!

Good Birding.

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

April 2013

Eared Grebe and Snowy Egret

From Scott Puchalski on 4/22/13:

I located a SNOWY EGRET this morning in Trempealeau County. The bird is just before the City of Ettrick on Hwy 53 north 1/2 mile before the city if your heading north. There is a flooded field there with 1 Great Egret and 1 Snowy ( nice to be able to compare the 2).There are also greater and lesser yellow legs, snipe and some puddle ducks.

There is a road that leads to the north called West Lane that the bird can be viewed close up so you dont have to take your life into your own hands trying to stop on Hwy 53. I have included a map of the exact location. http://goo.gl/maps/043YE

Good Birding.

Scott Puchalski
La Crosse

From Matt Paulson and Dan Jackson on 4/22/13:

I made a stop at Spillway Drive on French Island to scope out Lake Onalaska on my way to work this morning. The birds were thick on the lake with many species of duck including large numbers of Ruddy Duck. Also present were 4 Common Loons, 12 Horned Grebes, a single EARED GREBE, several Bonaparte's Gulls, and a Spotted Sandpiper. The Eared Grebe was located right along the shore where the dike starts.

Matt Paulson
La Crosse

The grebe was still present at 12:15 pm. It was right along the rocks about 200 yards west of the landing. 3 Horned Grebes in breeding plumage were also in the same area and they allowed a direct comparison.

Good birding,

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

April 2013

Mountain Bluebird

From Dan Jackson on 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

January 2013

Varied Thrush

From Dan Jackson on 1/8/13:

Artis Aasen has a Varied Thrush coming to her feeders in rural NE La Crosse County (about 8 miles north of Bangor). She first saw it on Saturday and it has been showing up at least a few times a day ever since (most consistently about 4:00 PM).

Artis and her husband are willing to have visitors come to see the bird. If you would like to visit, please e-mail her at aasenbirdvalley@gmail.com or call her at (608) 857-3558 to make arrangements.

Thanks,

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

October 2012

Rufous Hummingbird

From Dan Jackson on 10/29/12:

Alex Wardwell spotted an adult male Rufous Hummingbird coming to a feeder at the house where she is staying. It has been around a couple of days and is feeding at a hummingbird feeder at the front of the house. A limited number of visitors are welcome.

If you would like to see the bird, please call Alex at (608) 370-1774.

Thanks,

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

May 2012

Cattle Egret

From Dan Jackson on 5/4/12:

Al Wernecke just called me to let me know that he found a Cattle Egret at a pond just outside of Trempealeau. If you drive to Trempealeau from the east on Hwy 35, turn north on County K just after you enter town. Follow K for three to four miles until you see a flooded pond/field on the right that is in a pasture with cattle. The egret was on the far side of the pond.

Good Luck!!

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

November 2008

Carolina Wren

Photo by Mike O'Brien - 11/30/08

A Carolina Wren has been visiting the yard and suet feeder of Mike and Sylvia O'Brien of La Crosse lately.

Their address is W5788 Thistledown Dr. in Arbor Hills (on top of Bliss Rd) and the feeder is located in the back yard. Easiest access to their back yard is to park at the end of Thistledown and walk around the west side of the house although either side is OK.

July 2008

Loggerhead Shrike and Black-bellied Whistling Duck

Yesterday, I took a last minute road trip to the Lone Rock / Spring Green area to try to find a Loggerhead Shrike that someone discovered there. I did find the bird and others have seen 2 in the area including a juvenile. This is a species that has become rare in Wisconsin (we are at the very northern edge of their range). People guess that there may be less than 10 breeding pairs in Wisconsin.

Afterwards, I checked out a shorebird spot a little farther east (along Dyke road just west of Spring Green). I didn't find many shorebirds, but was lucky enough to find a Black-bellied Whistling Duck which is extremely rare this far north. That bird has been seen by others since then including this morning.

Here is a link to a picture that I took:

http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2150912330048936665eZivsd

I know that these birds are not right in the LaCrosse area, but if anyone is interested in directions, please let me know.

I am still trying to get in touch with the Necedah refuge folks about a trip to see the Whooping Cranes. I will post details when I get it set up with them.

Good Birding,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
(608) 483-2271

July 2008

Loggerhead Shrike and Black-bellied Whistling Duck

Yesterday, I took a last minute road trip to the Lone Rock / Spring Green area to try to find a Loggerhead Shrike that someone discovered there. I did find the bird and others have seen 2 in the area including a juvenile. This is a species that has become rare in Wisconsin (we are at the very northern edge of their range). People guess that there may be less than 10 breeding pairs in Wisconsin.

Afterwards, I checked out a shorebird spot a little farther east (along Dyke road just west of Spring Green). I didn't find many shorebirds, but was lucky enough to find a Black-bellied Whistling Duck which is extremely rare this far north. That bird has been seen by others since then including this morning.

Here is a link to a picture that I took:

http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2150912330048936665eZivsd

I know that these birds are not right in the LaCrosse area, but if anyone is interested in directions, please let me know.

I am still trying to get in touch with the Necedah refuge folks about a trip to see the Whooping Cranes. I will post details when I get it set up with them.

Good Birding,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
(608) 483-2271

April 2008

Marbled Godwit near Midway

There is a Marbled Godwit in a puddle in the plowed field immediately north of Midway. This field and puddle is directly west of the intersection of County OT and County XX. There are two puddles in the southwest corner of this field. The bird is located in the larger (northmost) puddle.

There was also a single Killdeer, a few Ring-billed Gulls, and a single Bonaparte's Gull around this puddle.

To view the bird, I parked just south of the intersection of XX an OT.

Good Birding,
Dan Jackson

December 2007

Townsend's Solitaire near La Crosse

Coulee Region Audubon Society president Dan Jackson Has this to say about the Townsend's Solitaire he found during the La Crosse Christmas Bird Count on December 15, 2007:

"I took advantage of a sunny afternoon yesterday to try to get another look at the Townsend's Solitaire that I found on the LaCrosse CBC along CTH MM about 1/2 mile uphill from the construction parking lot entrance for the Shrine.

The bird was still present and I was able to get some pictures."

Below is one of his photos from his recent sightings.

March 2007

Thayer's Gull(s) in La Crosse

Dan Jackson recently found at least one Thayer's Gull in La Crosse.

Here is his report dated Tuesday March 22 ,2007:

Today, over the noon hour, I checked out the gull flock that is starting to build up on the Black River between the Clinton Street and I-90 bridges. Although the flock is mostly Ring-billed and Herring Gulls, I was able to identify 1 adult Thayer's Gull and 1 possible 1st year Thayer's Gull. The adult bird was located on the ice behind the Midway Best Western Motel on Rose Street.

There are lots of dead fish in the ice on the Black River and on Richmond Bay. The next few days should be great for gull watching in these locations.

January 2007

Slaty-backed Gull in La Crosse

Dan Jackson and others have spotted a Slaty-backed Gull in La Crosse.

Here is his report dated Tuesday January 2 ,2007:

Today, at about 12:30 pm, I found an adult Slaty-Backed Gull in LaCrosse. The bird is a member of a flock of about 1000 gulls that are on the Black River just south of I-90 and are directly Hwy 53/35 from the Bridgeview Mall.

This bird is very similar in appearance to the Menash bird. It is almost identical in size to a Herring Gull. It has a yellow bill with small red and black spots on the lower mandible that is similar in size and shape to that of a Herring Gull. The bird's eye has a yellow iris. It has bright pink legs and feet. The mantle is a medium grey that is significantly darker than that of the Herring and Ring-Billed Gulls in the same flock and it has black primaries. Like the Menasha bird, it has a white triangle just back from the tip of the wing. This triangle includes spots on the first 2 primaries. The spot on P10 is larger than that on P9 which gives it a triangle shape. There is a string of white spots on the primaries at the margin that separates the dark grey mantle from the black primaries. The bird's head and neck are slightly mottled with brownish feathers. When looking head-on, this almost looks like a bib.

The bird was seen by 6 avid birders and 3 others.

Here is a link to the album that contains the first installment of pictures of the LaCrosse Slaty-Backed Gull. It includes standing, resting, and flying shots of the birds. They were taken through a few cameras and vary in quality and lighting.

And this from Dan on 1/3/07:

I was able to take a few more pictures today of the Slaty-Backed Gull in LaCrosse. The only flying shot I got was a shot with horizontal wings and does not help with wing markings. However, they are fairly clear shots and show other field marks.

They can be seen here.

May 2006

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in La Crosse

Tom Rhorer of La Crosse sent in this message and these photos:

Attached are photos of a scissor tailed flycatcher taken May 10, 2006 in the prairie restoration area at the south end of Goose Island.

 

 

 

April 2006

Peregrines nesting in La Crosse

Coulee Region Audubon Society past president Fred Lesher has been keeping tabs on Peregrine Falcons in downtown La Crosse in recent years. Here are his latest reports:

April 10,2006 - A Peregrine Falcon was in the nestbox on the USBank in downtown LaCrosse today at 8:30 AM. Another peregrine was perched nearby on some sort of cylindrical antenna.

April 21,2006 - I was able to see the tips of primaries projecting over the edge of the nestbox on the USBANK in LaCrosse this morning at 9:00 AM.

April 2006

Rare Gulls in La Crosse

Coulee Region Audubon Society president Dan Jackson is again reporting a first year Iceland Gull "that I found on Monday evening was back on the docks behind the Midway Hotel at about 4:45 this afternoon. The gull flock that was using the area appears to have left over the past 24 hours. Yesterday, there were hundreds of gulls just above the I-90 bridge over the Black River. This afternoon, they were gone. The only remnants that I could find was a small flock of 30 birds behind the Midway Hotel."
Follow this link and this link to see a couple of his latest photos.

Below are his reports and photos from his March sightings.

Dan Jackson has reported a 1st year Iceland Gull on 3/14 & 3/16, an adult Glaucous Gull on 3/15 & 3/16, and an adult Lesser Black-Backed Gull on 3/15 & 3/16 and now a Glaucous-winged Gull on Richmond Bay.

Here's his report of March 24, 2006 as well as some of his photos of the gulls:

was able to refind the Glaucous-Winged Gull on Richmond Bay on the North Side of LaCrosse over the noon hour today. The gull flock was close to the landing at the end Goddard Place. I spotted the bird along a stretch of open water on the far shore about 150 yards northeast of the landing. This is among this bird's favorite hangouts. I have seen the bird in that general area more often then anywhere else. There is a blue barrel on that shoreline as a point of reference.

Bill and Anita Doering and I also found an adult Lesser Black-Backed Gull and an adult Thayer's Gull on the Black River behind the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant on Hwy 53 (Rose Street) around 12:45. This is located about 1 mile south of I-90 and north of Clinton Street. The best place to scope gulls in this area is from the back side of the Midway Best Western Hotel just south of the Kentucky Fried chicken. If you turn into the hotel's parking lot, you can go around the building on the north side and then park next to a dumpster at the back of the hotel and view the river. The Lesser Black-Backed Gull was seen from this spot yesterday as well.

Another loafing spot is on the Black River Beach. This is located south of the Kentucky Fried Chicken location and just north of the intersection of Rose (Hwy 53) and Clinton Streets. We haven't found any specialties there yet this year, but have in past years.

I noticed that gulls are also resting on the ice above I-90. The best place to view these birds is from Fisherman's road on the east side of the LaCrosse airport. From I-90, turn off at the airport exit and head north toward the airport. Instead of turning left on Fanta Reed to reach the terminal, go straight toward the private hangers and control tower. Turn right on Fisherman's road and follow it until it turns north (near a beach). Gulls often hang out on the beach or on the water and ice opposite the beach. If you follow this road farther north, you will also see the dike and spillway at the lower end of Lake Onalaska. Gulls are starting to use the ice above the spillway as another loafing spot.

A flock of gulls has also been found on the other side of French island above the dike at the end of Spillway Drive. This can be reached by going past the airport on Fanta Reed and then turning north at the stop sign (Lakeshore Drive). Turn left on Spillway Drive (2nd intersection) and follow it out to the boat landing at the base of the dike. This is also a great spot to check out diver ducks.

I talked to the owner of Bob's Bait and Tackle located just west of where Clinton Street crosses the south end of Richmond Bay) and asked if it was OK to park in his lot while we look at the gulls. He said it was fine. I did make a point of buying a bottle of pop and a knit hat (it really helped) and that definitely helped. If birders make a point of going in and buying a can or bottle of pop and saying thank you, it will go a long way to making sure we continue to be welcome (his pop and water are also cheaper than those at Kwik Trip).

The latest rarity is a Glaucous-winged Gull.

If the record is accepted (it has already been viewed and approved by John Idzikowsky), this will be the 5th state record and 17th mid-continent record of this species (15 states and 2 provinces).

 

First year Iceland Gull

 

Adult Glaucous Gull

 

Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull




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