Fall at the UW-Madison Arboretum & Pheasant Branch Conservancy

I must admit to missing the opportunity to photograph some of the beautiful foliage colors this year which was purportedly the best in decades in terms of brilliance.

I wanted to get out this weekend and try to get some of the changing season. I started out at the UW-Madison. Not much was left in term of color, but these two trees were still quite vibrant in Longnecker Horticultural Gardens.



A trip through the Curtis Prairie by way of Teal Pond had a lot of cattails releasing their seeds and other plants that are ghostly beauties of their former selves. I am not up on my flora identification so do not know the name of the plant below the cattails.



during my trip to the The Pheasant Branch Conservancy prairie parcel I had this very inquisitive Black-capped Chickadee visit me. It was seemingly begging to have its picture taken so I obliged.

Black-capped Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee

Although I was at the parcel to see what sparrows I might find, I was also interested in whatever presented itself. After I left my new acrobatic friend I was on my way to a patch of ragweed that is usually a hub of sparrow activity when I looked back to my right and saw a Downy Woodpecker in a bush. I must have passed within four feet of him but he was very into his search for insects.

Male Downy Woodpecker

This prairie plant also caught my attention.


I did see some White-crowned Sparrows and many American Tree Sparrows but was unable to get any quality pictures. I then decided t head over to the creek corridor to see what was going on there. I found some remnants of the colors that have all but disappeared from the forest. The red berries were the only thing left on the plant. The maple leaf was impaled but its beautiful golden hue stood out.



I was walking down the trail when suddenly I heard a Red-tailed Hawk coming from somewhere very close to me! I searched and searched but despite continually hearing it, could not locate it. Suddenly I saw movement and it was…a Blue Jay!  It had the best Red-tailed Hawk imitation that I have ever heard.

Blue Jay perfectly imitating a Red-tailed Hawk

Of course, it couldn’t really be fall if I didn’t have a picture of a Gray Squirrel with a hickory nut!

Gray Squirrel

On my way back to my car I saw this Hairy Woodpecker directly overhead, so quickly removed my camera from my tripod and snapped this picture.

Male Hairy Woodpecker

Everything has really slowed down in terms of migration activity, but I was able to see many of the local folks and newly arrived guests that will spend the winter here. It was a beautiful weekend to get out and about.

2 thoughts on “Fall at the UW-Madison Arboretum & Pheasant Branch Conservancy

  1. Very pleased to follow you on your travels. You are a terrific photographer and writer. So pleased to have made your acquaintance Jeff


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