Join the Bird Watchers

Hello all!
Its that time of year that the migrants are going to start piling into every
tree top (or so we hope). Alex Stark wanted to mention a few upcoming field trips to Wyalusing State Park.

On Sunday May 2nd, Libby Zeman and Alex Stark will be leading a field trip through Wyalusing State Park looking primarily for migrant warblers. Beginning at 7:30am, we will start at the boat landing and work our way up towards the Lookout Point. If there is enough time we will also look for other migrants in different habitats of the park. For information check out this website:

If you cannot make that day (due to Chris West's trip) you should make it a point to make it to Wyalusing State Park on Saturday May 1st as this is when Quentin Yoerger will be leading his Madison Audubon Society field trip. I have been along on Quetin's field trip before and you can pretty much count on the southwestern Wisconsin specialties.

If you choose either day to attend a Wyalusing State Park field trip you may see species such at Yellowthroated Warbler, Cerulean Warbler (Left), Louisiana Waterthrush, Henslow's Sparrow, Acadian Flycatcher and more! In my opinion,
Wyalusing is one of the premier State Parks in the Wisconsin State Park system and should be visited at least once. If you need to make a hotel reservation you may want to make it fast. In Prairie du Chien on May 1st there is a Half-marathon that is usually well attended. Many of the hotel rooms may be booked up. Hope to see you there!

Good Birding,
Alex Stark, Platteville

If you acquire nothing else in the way of birding equipment, you must have a good pair of binoculars. Unless you are Snow White, you are not going to have birds land on finger while you sing to them. And, who wants that anyway? The joy is in observing birds doing natural things in a natural setting. Therefore, you must keep your distance from them and that requires binoculars.

Using binoculars is pretty simple as long as you understand a few basic rules. These are important!

  • Use a 7 or 8 power pair. Any more powerful and you will find that your hand shakes so much that you get sea sick watching the bird.
  • Be sure that the lens are marked as "fully coated" and not merely "coated" This coating greatly reduces the loss of light through the glass.
  • When you see a bird - or anything- stare at it and bring your binoculars up to intersect your view line. In that way they will automatically center on the bird. Do not look away and bring up your binoculars; you will spend a long time trying to find the bird who has flown away out of impatience with you by that time.
  • Do not use the carry strap that came with the binoculars; you will get a sore neck pretty quickly.
  • Keep the lenses clean. Use a can of compressed air such as you can find at a computer store to blow away the dust and sand particles before you start the wash and wipe the lens surface. This will greatly reduce the likelihood of scratching.