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May 6—Things that Go Buzz, Croak, Hoot & Bump in the Night


Our Things that Go Buzz, Croak, Hoot and Bump in the Night program on Saturday night was full of unexpected sightings. We never know what we’ll find on this 6-10pm outing, our 5th annual. Some of us had good food and good conversation at the Wilbert Cafe and then drove over to the Welcome Center to meet the rest of the group. On the way, we saw a Broad-winged Hawk devour a small snake, possibly a Red-bellied Snake due to the small size of the reptile. Broadwings specialize in preying on frogs and snakes. We had several great looks at cooperative Broadwings this evening.

Very unexpected was a Peregrine Falcon perched in a Tamarack. We got great looks at the 2nd year bird, but it flew as Sparky tried to get the scope on it. This is a rare sighting in the Bog.

Frog song was at peak for Boreal Chorus Frogs and Spring Peepers. Clinton even caught us a peeper to see up close. Most have an “X” on the back, but this one had a blob shape on its back. The singing Leopard Frog was a real treat as we all got to watch its dual air sacs inflate and deflate as it gave its “snoring” call from only feet away. A few Wood Frogs even got into the act even though it is rather late in the season for them.

We scoped a distant Porcupine in a tree and six Sandhill Cranes feeding in a corn stubble field. At a marshy area we found a flock of Yellowlegs that included Greater and Lessers, Hooded Merganser, Blue-winged Teal, Sandhill Crane, Northern Harriers and several Green-winged Teal, an uncommon species in migration.

Then we got a call from Jason Mandich who had found a Great Gray Owl along Stone Lake Road. All got great scope looks and several folks even heard it call! The owl fun continued as we called in a Northern Saw-whet Owl a half hour later. It flew over our heads and disappeared. Sparky and Sharon Robertson found two Barred Owls after the program while driving back to Cotton.

Our last stop was the marsh along the south end of Admiral Road and we were serenaded by at least 5 Wilson’s Snipe displaying overhead. A great way to finish a grand evening.

Peregrine Falcon along Poplar Road. This is a very rarely seen bird in the Sax-Zim Bog…Sparky’s first in 35 years of birding here!

The group saw several cooperative perched Broad-winged Hawks. Sharon and Sparky saw a Broadwing eat a small snake right in the middle of the road. This species specializes on frogs and snakes.

A real treat was watching this Leopard Frog call from only feet away. Note the “dual” air sacs, one on each side of the throat.

Head Naturalist Clinton showing the group a Spring Peeper he caught.

Spring Peeper up close. This is a species of treefrog and note its sticky pads on each toe that facilitate climbing up vertical surfaces.

Watching a Great Gray Owl on Stone Lake Road at dusk. It even called for us! This bird was found by Jason Mandich.

Clinton checking one of FOSZB’s Kestrel boxes with a GoPro camera on a pole. This box had FIVE eggs in it!

Checking out the GoPro footage of the inside of the Kestrel box showing five eggs.

See you all next year for our 6th annual Things that Go Buzz, Croak, Hoot & Bump in the Night!