Stan Ferrell of Lafayette County, while scouting for bears in northern Wisconsin, talked more about Merlin Bird ID, an app that uses bird songs to give a listener a bird’s name and much more.
It’s almost impossible to see these birds during the summer, but this free app told you that you were hearing a song thrush, a red-eyed vireo, several different warblers, and a hornero bird every time you recorded the bird’s song and an ID came up. .
However, Stan didn’t need to use the app on his phone to identify an outgrown grouse crossing the street with eight chicks. And neither did Wayne Smith of Blanchardville when he was exercising his dogs and rinsed out the first raft of wild turkeys, just beginning to fly. There were four of them, plus the mother hen.
WDNR’s 2022 ruffed grouse drum survey recently revealed a 5% decline in drums compared to 2021, but spring drums were only down 2% in the Northern Priority Area, which covers the northern third of Wisconsin and contains some of the best game birds. .
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Oh, for numbers like the spring drums that were heard in the late ’70s and early ’80s on counters.
Outdoor harvesting of most varieties is uneventful these days, allowing time to look past dominant prey, game animal or other.
Fishing, hiking, camping, observing butterfly and bee pollination (we think), preparing for the hunt, and mushroom photography are easy activities. Most can be accomplished these days without breaking a sweat.
Berry picking has increased, however, as children and grandmothers seem to be sweating when they find blackcaps in the afternoon and evening shade, while kitchens gear up to make jams, jellies, sauces and frozen fruit. quickly.
With an eye on developing blackberry ripening, those who aren’t afraid of a few bites, mosquitoes, or being spooked by an unidentified sound know that most patches are found today, but removed next week. The berries fall in the rain, are picked up by birds or wither and dry.
It’s times like these that can highlight a prairie flower parade, the tallest being compass plants that look like sunflowers, lilac bee balms that smell a bit of oregano, and hazelnuts that develop quickly while impatient squirrels they plan their jump over the sticky shells. There is no chance for us here.
Deer season, fall walleye feeding frenzies, hickory nut drops, hen-of-the-woods (Maitake, to some) mushrooms alongside oak bases, and waves of pheasants have a way of compelling us develop tunnel vision and not see the ecosystem. due to a single dam.
But today we usually don’t have a dominant activity and we may notice a drooping honeysuckle leaflet, as red as any maple in October, or a yellowish common milkweed to match the flowering yellow echinacea common in the prairies. Better yet, something we’ve never looked for might grab our attention. That could be a lemon oval under two leaves of Mayapple, the fruit.
It’s a good time to notice there are two years worth of acorns on red oaks, those hard fruits that started a year ago and little ones from this past spring. Both seem to be good, as are hickory nuts, walnuts, surviving butternuts, and the not-so-tasty yellow-headed nuts, appropriately called bitter nut trees.
“The deer run away from the flies, rest in the cornfields, and then move on to the soybean and alfalfa fields to eat,” says Doug Williams at the DW Sports Center in Portage.
Brent Drake of Tall Tails Sports & Spirits in Boscobel likes his deer stand so much he hasn’t noticed the tree it’s attached to.
“It’s a straight one,” he says. “Maple, maybe.”
Diseased elms are showing up beautifully when one fungus wipes out another American elm and another fungus gets a signal that it needs to fruit next spring before the food runs out. We can’t notice the underground morel, but we can certainly see the dead leaves of the elm.
A neighbor was clearing 50-year-old weeds from an overgrown abandoned field and uprooted a 30-year-old walnut tree with a load of tiny football-shaped nuts. Hearing that, one woman asked, “How can I distinguish a black walnut from a butternut even when the leaves and nuts have fallen?” It can be done, but now it’s easier.
Maybe the man cleaning up with a Bobcat should have saved the hickory, but then again the only tree he uprooted was infected with hickory canker.
You never know when the name of a bird, a plant, a poisonous mushroom, the sounds of a sapsucker, or the whisper of a squirrel might come in handy. For a person interested in outdoor activities, it can be an interesting thing to spend time sitting on a stump.
It doesn’t have to be a bust if no dominant animal is seen during an outing. Don Martin at Martin’s in Monroe had a fisherman knock on the door and then say he had never caught a fish, but everything was blooming and so nice he could have left the gear at home and enjoyed the day just the same, although uncommon, our activities occasionally bring us back to the ordinary world we live in while enjoying the outdoors.
Smith has twice reported fires, one in a home and the other in a barn. On two occasions, he too, found money floating in a creek where his dogs had crossed while chasing raccoons.
“I found three 20s and five 1s at different times,” Wayne said. “Money doesn’t float on top, but a foot or so in the water.”
Observe the birds, the blooms and the common and unknown associations. These can be worth the money, or just interesting and special, making the outing special without bringing home a trout.
Jerry Davis is a freelance writer for Lee Sports Wisconsin. Contact him at email@example.com or 608-924-1112. Opinions are those of the writer.