Sunday's walk was fun. It was sunny, cool and windy, very comfortable. 17 participants, led by Jeff Koziol, Bluebird trail coordinator, were able to see a bluebird nest and eggs, a tree swallow nest with eggs and a house wren nest. We were able to let everyone identify flying bluebirds and tree swallows. Chuck Henderson gave us all a real treat by finding a yellow billed Cuckoo (sound only) and to observe a perching kingbird. There was a good discussion about problems with cavity nesting birds and loss of habitat, problems of a cold spring and loss of insects. Everyone learned about the problems of house sparrows and competition for nesting sites. We were able to observe the ideal bluebird habitat, the shortgrass prairie around house 5. This is the first year that boxes haven't been occupied by house sparrows!
Seth McGee, Biocore lab manager and Purple Martin (PUMA) House monitor, gave a well organized talk about purple martins. We all learned something new. Seth also talked about the Biocore Prairie. It was wonderful; he talked about the importance of fire to maintain the prairie and the ongoing study at the Biocore Prairie dividing the prairie into sections and selectively burning some sections with an unburned control section. Jeff was able to show people his plant I.D. app and how much it adds to a walk. If you are out on a hike or bird walk, why not check all the plants?
Seth added this information: PUMAs line their nests with green leaves shortly before the egg laying begins. "The gathering of green leaves is still somewhat of a mystery. BirdsOfTheWorld says that at least seven hypotheses have been offered to explain it and there seems to be few controlled studies investigating the role of green leaves. I'm going with "decorating the nursery. 😉"
Richard Ness, PUMA monitor, the next day added photos of Purple Martins gathering leaves from the nearby fruit trees for lining their nests, as a well a Cooper's Hawk standing guard nearby and keeping away unwanted sparrows. Report by Jeff Koziol and Seth Mcgee. Photos by Chuck Henrikson, Signe Holtz, Seth Mcgee and Paul Noeldner.
The spring wildflower planting was done at fire circle #3, next to the small beach at the Narrows on Picnic Point. Hundreds of forbs, sedges, grasses and shrubs were all planted to help stem the erosion and beautify the heavily used area. The Preserve student seasonal staff will do follow-up watering and monitoring of the plantings. Participants were Ann Burgess, Biz Nitschke, Doris Dubielzig, Roma Lenehan, Glenda Denniston, Kathi Dwelle, Rick and Nancy Lindroth, Kelly Kearns. Bryn Scriver was the Lakeshore Preserve Volunteer Coordinator.
The annual garlic mustard removal at Frautschi Point has clearly reduced the abundance of garlic mustard in the area. This and the odd spring weather made the garlic mustard hunt a challenge. Some of the plants had barely emerged above the leaf litter. A careful search resulted in only a small garbage bag full of plants. Meanwhile half of the group instead cut buckthorn out of the tree line between Lake Mendota Drive and the Preserve, just north of the gardens. Participant were Will Vuyk, Matt Chotlos, Roma Lenahan, Doris Dubielzig, Glenda Denniston, Marcia Schmidt, Karen Nakasone, John Marszal, Bryn's son Rilo Scriver-Nondorf, Kelly Kearns. Report Kelly Kearns, Photos Bryn Scriver, Lakeshore Preserve Volunteer coordinator..
Wow! Thirty-five people arrived for a spring birding tour that began at 7:30am in a chilly mist overlooking the Class of 1918 Marsh. Roma Lenehan, a founder of the Friends and author of the Preserve’s breeding bird survey and Becky Abel, Madison Audubon’s Director of Philanthropy, led the three-hour tour that observed birds in the Class of 1918 Marsh, in University Bay from the Picnic Point trail, in the Marsh on the leeward side of the Point, in deciduous and pine woods, in the former orchard, and on Biocore Prairie.
And the birds cooperated. Becky Abel explained to the group the importance of stopover sites, like the Preserve, for migratory birds. On their journey north, birds stop to rest and refuel at three kinds of sites. Typically small, “fire escape” stopover sites, with limited resources, are infrequently used but vital in emergency situations. “Full-service hotel” stopover sites, like the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin, provide abundant food, water and shelter for migrants.Lying between those two extremes, the Lakeshore Nature Preserve serves as a ”convenience store” stopover site. Located within the city of Madison, this Important Birding Area is a place where birds can rest for a few days and easily replenish some fat or muscle, or both, before continuing. The Preserve offers a variety of habitats, fresh water and a variety of food sources, including fruit and insects (although with our cool, slow spring, insects have been slow to emerge).
Both leaders are expert birders-by-ear. Roma Lenehan recorded observing 65 bird species, and that doesn’t include the accipiter and the gulls we couldn’t identify! Some of the highlights were sighting sora in the Class of 1918 Marsh,