Nineteen people arrived for a spring birding tour that began at 7:30am in chilly (40F), overcast conditions next to 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 two-hour tour that observed birds in the Class of 1918 Marsh, in University Bay from the Picnic Point trail, in the Picnic Point Marsh on the leeward side of the peninsula, in deciduous and pine woods, in the former orchard, and on Biocore Prairie
Next to the spotting scopes trained on the buffleheads, Northern shoveler and blue-winged teal in the open water of the Class of 1918 Marsh, Becky Abel explained to the group the importance of the Preserve as a stopover sites 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. Surrounded by urban development, our 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. This cool morning meant that the tree swallows flew low over the water to capture insects in the Marsh, and white-throated sparrows hopped on the ground and flitted in shrubs along the Picnic Point path to capture insects at our eye level. Many of us marveled at the extensive clones of trout lilies about to burst into bloom on the Picnic Point peninsula.
Both leaders are expert birders-by-ear. Roma Lenehan and Becky Abel recorded observing 38 bird species. Some of the highlights were sighting
The attendees were respectful and engaged, sharing their own observations while learning from Abel and Lenehan’s expertise.
Report and photos by Doris Dubielzig
2. April 25, 2023 Picnic Point Field Trip Bird List by Roma Lenehan
for Picnic Point and the Class of 1918 Marsh, April 25, 2023, 7:30 - 9:30 a.m.
Madison Audubon Society and Friends of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve Field Trip
Led by Becky Abel and Roma Lenehan
Weather: 40s, cloudy, wind NW 5-12
(h) = detected by ear