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Saturday, May 31, 2014

BIRD CITY USA PLUS ROCKS


A few weekends ago, I finally finished the work for The Hospital Suite, so I had a chance to have some fun.  On Saturday Stephanie and I went to our first meeting as members of the Badger Lapidary and Geological Society, followed by a fossil-hunting trip out to a few quarries in the Monroe, Wisconsin vicinity.  We found a lot of old animals, including our first "Trilo-bits" (but no complete specimens).  I figured I knew a good bit about Animals and Vegetables already, so it was time to learn some about Minerals.  We've been going out and rockhounding for a few months, but this was my first time doing so with people who knew what they were doing, so it was plenty educational.

Your 'umble narrator.

When we started fossil-hunting a few months ago, it was very surprising to me that one could walk up to an average, ordinary rock outcropping and find old animals sitting there that are millions of years old.

Bivalve clam, found in chert

Clockwise from top: Some kind of gastropod (snail), snail, galena (silvery mineral), sphalerite (black mineral)

A nice big chunk of rock featuring some lovely "fossil hash" (what rockhounds call a hodgepodge mix of various fossils all grouped together).  If you zoom in on the cephalopod hole in the lower left, you'll see it's filled with pyrite and sphalerite crystals.  Pretty cool.

Gastropod in matrix

Fossil hash consisting mostly of brachiopods


Then, that Sunday we finally got to attend the Sand Bluff Bird Observatory's annual Bird Fest.  Usually we're out of town that weekend, or just plain forget about it, or hear about it too late.  This time we made it.  It was great getting to be around a bunch of like-minded people, and to see these reclusive and somewhat small birds up close was remarkable.  It almost gave me the shakes I was so excited.

 White-eyed Vireo
(Vireo griseus)

Gray Catbird
(Dumatella carolinensis)

Brown-headed Cowbird (Female)
(Molothrus ater)

 Common Yellowthroat
(Geothlypis trichas)

Nashville Warbler
(Vermivora ruficapilla)

Western Palm Warbler
(Setophaga palmarum palmarum)

So all in all, a pretty good weekend!

1 comment:

  1. It was a very pleasant surprise running into you and Stephanie at Bird Fest. Glad it worked out for you this year. Sand Bluff is an amazing place and it's always good to see so many bird and native plant enthusiasts together in one spot. There's also a place near Janesville that's great for birding, Cook Memorial Arboretum; maybe you've been there, but if not, it's worth checking out. And have you been to Avon Bottoms between Beloit and Janesville? I haven't, but it sounds promising.

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