Getting Lost

This past weekend I took some time to do something that I rarely have the chance to do. I woke up early on Saturday morning to do some birding and hiking at a friend's property near by. I find myself traveling often enough, that when I have the chance to be home, I generally hang out with my family rather than bird. The final calls of spring migration this weekend were a bit much for me to resist however.

Ken and Pat's place is a mix of Oak woodlands, Savannah, and Maple forest with bits of prairie and wetlands scattered about. Among the stone outcroppings I found Veerys, Swainson's Thrushes, and Catbirds vying for my camera's attention.

In the tree canopy were Magnolia Warblers, Mourning Warblers, American Redstarts, and Black and White Warblers.

Because I went went out with the goal of getting some good bird pictures before the end of migration, I chose to walk where the lighting was best, rather than walking the trail that I'm familiar with.

After following the calls of some Rose-breasted Grosbeaks which ultimately eluded me, I found myself in the location pictured above. This is a charming Maple grove that I figured was 4 stream crossings and 3 ridgetops from where I started, and most certainly off the beaten path. It was at this point that I turned around and realized I was lost. After a bit of creative bushwhacking and traversing a few steep valleys, I stumbled upon familiar territory. With no place in particular to be that morning, it was a fine time to get lost.

We spent Sunday afternoon canoeing the Wisconsin River with a number of our close friends. It was sunny and warm. Perfect conditions for paddling and relaxing. With the mix of five canoes and one kayak various paddling skills, kids, and dogs, it doesn't take a stretch of the imagination to understand how a canoe at the rear can make a wrong turn and get separated from the rest of us. In this instance I'm glad to report that it wasn't me who got lost. We made ourselves comfortable at a sandbar and found a myriad of ways to kill time, from kite flying to badminton and Frisbee. It was a wonderful occasion to have fun and catch up with friends who I don't get to see often enough due to my busy travel schedule.
Here's Mandi, a 6 week old Border Collie pup who is taking on the world, one kite at a time.

We were eventually reunited with the lost party of paddlers and made it back to shore in time to be treated to a wonderful lightning show followed by thunderstorms. Overall, it was a nice finale to the weekend.


Barbara said...

Hey Ben -

Great photos - loved the Warblers and the beach looked like you had a lot of fun. A great way to spend a day!

It was nice to hear that experienced birders such as yourself can get lost just like us newbies! Most of us can relate to that sinking feeling! Glad yours turned out so well.

I enjoyed your description of the lightning and thunder. I use to live in WI and went to school in Madison. There is nothing like a Midwest storm! I've moved out East but have retained that excitement and thrill of a true WI thunder & light show!

Thanks for sharing!

Ben Lizdas said...

Thanks Barbara and your welcome! Getting lost can be pretty fun, especially when there's not much at stake.
There is so much to love about living in this part of Wisconsin. My wife and I went to school here as well, then we decided we couldn't leave.