Date: 5/5/18 6:20 pm
From: Peter Fissel <peter.fissel...>
Subject: [wisb] Horicon Marsh today
I spent much of the day poking around various spots at Horicon Marsh, both the State Wildlife Area and the NWR. Started scoping at the Education Center on Hwy 28 but didn't see the WF Ibis that has been reported recently. I noticed a bunch of photographers by the pump house to the west of Indermuhl Island, so I drove back to the access point on 28 and walked in from there. No ibis that I could see, and the photographers were all gone by then. I did pick up a Cape May Warbler singing in the woods and a calling Virginia Rail as I walked back to my car.

Next stop was Dike Rd., which is open and freshly graded (but already has a pothole with all the rain.) Lots of Marsh Wrens and Swamp Sparrows singing, but not a ton of other birds. I ran into Sylvia and Tom for the first of several times on the day. Shortly after stopping to yak with them, I spotted my FOY Savannah Sparrow, immediately followed by an Am. Bittern pretending to be inconspicuous next to the dike road. Got my FOY Yellow-headed Blackbird in the marsh to the north just west of the curve. Just north of the gate, I noticed a single Bobolink preening on a weed stalk.

Northern Rd. was pretty good, with Hermit and Swainson's Thrushes and a calling Veery, as well as a Lincoln's Sparrow feeding along the road. On S. Point Rd. where it turns north to become W. Point Rd., a Peregrine was harassing the Canada Geese and a Sandhill Crane out in the stubble field. Ledge Rd. was pretty quiet. Not much on Hwy 49 until I got west of the historical marker. There were four Black-necked Stilts in the large open area on the south side where they hung out last year. I noticed a small flock of egrets flying up and landing in a tree to the west - one looked smaller, with quicker wingbeats. I moved farther west on 49, but never could get a good look at the tree, as it was behind another that was beginning to leaf out (which is just happening up there - somewhat farther along here, although still behind schedule.) The Auto Loop was also pretty quiet, although I picked up a Sedge Wren east of the last impoundment.

I poked around a bit north of 49, but whiffed on some of the birds Sylvia had mentioned they'd seen earlier. However, the flooded field north of 49 on the west side of Bauer Rd. (by the Mischler's sign) had around 200 shorebirds. The vast majority were Yellowlegs - slightly more Lesser than Greater. I also picked out a single White-rumped and a couple of Least Sandpipers. Sylvia had mentioned Dowitchers, which were still there. I'm reasonably certain it was one Long-billed and two Short-billed (the actively feeding one was larger, hump-backed, and more rufous underneath.)

Gorgeous day to be poking around one of my very favorite places.

Peter Fissel

Madison WI

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