The next article was written by Woodland Dunes Nature Middle for the Ripples from the Dunes sequence.
One time-honored custom at Woodland Dunes is the summer season fowl survey. We don’t confer with it as a nesting survey, as a result of we don’t really doc nesting as was accomplished for the Wisconsin Fowl Atlas- fairly it’s a sequence of counts accomplished every summer season through the nesting season to doc what species and to some extent what number of birds are current within the Woodland Dunes Preserves. They had been begun about 50 years in the past by Bernie Brouchoud, who went on to discovered the Woodland Dunes group and who tirelessly counted and banded the birds discovered right here.
Bernie’s early summer season counts had been touring counts- he had greater than a dozen routes that he walked in and round what was later to turn into the primary protect, counting each fowl heard or seen. The routes took him (later us) cross country- generally by way of difficult mucky swales, generally alongside roadways. A number of the routes took us far off path into the center of the State Pure Space by way of swamps coated with numerous pink maple and inexperienced ash forest, with white pines and hemlocks on the drier ridges. The deep forest at 5 am was a misty, magical place the place orchids had been encountered together with uncommon birds (for jap Wisconsin) like Acadian flycatchers, brown creepers, white-throated sparrows, hermit thrushes, broad-winged and red-shouldered hawks, and different sudden residents. Outdated fences and historic farm equipment deep within the woods reminded us of a busy previous the place the forest and adjoining fields had been utilized extra for folks than birds, making us marvel what number of grazing cows turned caught within the mucky soil, and what it should have taken to free them. Mosquitoes had been plentiful, and our hip boots protected us not solely from the swale’s waters however a whole lot of little biters.
An issue with the touring counts within the forest was they had been arduous to duplicate. On the time GPS was solely reasonably correct, and solely Bernie knew the place his wandering routes took him within the forest, and even he assorted from 12 months to 12 months. We then adopted a sequence of about 30 level counts, with factors situated at locations that had been straightforward to seek out from 12 months to 12 months. So, going ahead, we will evaluate birds encountered at particular locations over time. We will nonetheless evaluate total species numbers over that point, and fortuitously they haven’t modified an excessive amount of. Bernie used to document about 110 species in the summertime at Woodland Dunes, and this 12 months’s counts yielded 102. We expect that’s a outstanding variety of fowl species in a single location throughout a non-migratory interval, and speaks to the range of habitats discovered right here. Some birds previously encountered are sadly missed, like upland sandpipers, yellow-headed blackbirds, and black terns. Some are nonetheless current however not as widespread, like white-throated sparrows, scarlet tanagers, grasshopper sparrows, and black-throated inexperienced warblers. Nonetheless others appear to holding their very own, like redstarts, yellow warblers, and jap meadowlarks within the grassland areas. And a few, like dickcissels and Henslow’s sparrows are variable and arduous to foretell.
The summer season fowl surveys at Woodland Dunes, regardless that they’re time-consuming, require us to work together with nature in an intense and private manner. They offer us a possibility every year to evaluate what’s happening every year within the protect on the peak of the rising season. They power me to concentrate on the entire dwelling beings, plant and animal, that encompass me as I survey their world. And as I journey by way of it I’m pressured to face the truth that regardless that I’m current, I’m separated from it by way of my use of my automotive to entry it, my repellent to maintain undesirable bugs away, my telephone to document checklists fairly than my memory- so many issues. My entanglement with nature is incomplete, however I hope that I can expertise and doc sufficient, and carry sufficient of the expertise with me, that I might help these birds and the environs they depend upon working as they need to a bit longer than they in any other case would. As one other great change of season unfolds and wildlife is rearranged, I hope that you could expertise a way of belonging on the planet of the birds, and proceed to seek out methods to assist them as effectively.
photo- deep within the forest at Woodland Dunes