November 11, 2014
This wonderful video of the visiting pelicans was filmed by Greg Weller, a contributing photographer to Wild Warner.
BIRD 136 – White Pelicans have been spotted in the Warner wetland near the dog park. The birds are headed south, to winter along the Gulf Coast. Two of the birds have recently been joined by a third.
Pelicans eat fish, salamanders and crustaceans. The white pelican is the 136th species of bird to be verified in Warner Park, a sign of improving water quality and shelter.
August 6, 2014
Last night, Aug. 5, 2014, Wild Warner met on the newly restored Warner Island Prairie to paint a Plein Aire environmental vision for the Wild Side of Warner Park.
The resident nesting duo of blue grey Sandhill Cranes flew overhead and a pallet of fresh green growth, bright yellow Black Eyed Susans and floating splashes of Lotus blossoms completed the brushstrokes.
August 4, 2014
Conservation photographer Arlene Koziol captured the fleeting bloom of the American Lotus in Warner’s wetland on July 22, 2014. In a nature walk with Wild Warner’s education coordinator, Paul Noeldner, Koziol also captured our Sandhill Crane family, a new Wood Duck family, and the beauty of the new wet prairie island, once used to bombard Rhythm & Booms fireworks into the wetland.
“Wild Warner Park is a gem right in the midst in a big city,” she writes. “New lives – Sandhill Crane Colt, Wood Duck family and nesting Red-winged Blackbirds. Stunning Lotus flowers , seen in many cultures as being symbolic of rebirth. I see the lotus representing the rebirth of Wild Warner Park.”
The American Lotus (Nelumbo lutea) is often confused with the common Water Lily, but is a distant cousin, as it is to the sacred lotus flowers of many cultures. It is marked by huge leaves, long stalks, and six-inch, intricate flowers that open one day, close that night, and open one more day before dropping their petals.
The plant was a food source for Native Americans. It is also a grocery store for wildlife, as explained on the Texas A&M Aquaplant Web site:
“Submerged portions of all aquatic plants provide habitats for many micro and macro invertebrates. These invertebrates in turn are used as food by fish and other wildlife species (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, ducks, etc.). After aquatic plants die, their decomposition by bacteria and fungi provides food (called “detritus”) for many aquatic invertebrates. The large acorn like seeds of lotus are utilized by some ducks and other wildlife. Beavers and muskrats will consume the rhizomes.”
Koziol, who has photographed nature all over the world, was in Madison photographing Cherokee Marsh with Noeldner, who then offered to show her the Warner Park Sandhill Crane family.
“The first thing that caught my eye were the lotus blossoms. Many years ago when we were visiting Japan, I was driving with a non-English speaking friend. He got phone call and became quite excited. We turned around and sped back to his home. The family was in the backyard looking at a muddy pond. There was one yellow lotus plant booming.
“It was explained to me in Japan the lotus flower is revered for its ability to rise from murky waters to a beautiful blossom. This is symbolic of rising above suffering and struggle to happiness and a spiritual awakening. In Japan, many people stop their day to appreciate the beauty and think about the meaning of the lotus blossom.
“There was so much to observe and photograph at Wild Warner. Hours went by and I felt that I was just getting started. The next day I brought my 3 year old grandson to see Wild Warner. He loved the insects, painted turtles and the Crane family.”
Here is a link to Arlene Koziol’s photos of Warner Park, and her other conservation photos from all over the world.
July 23, 2014
by Jonathan Santanna, Madison College student and aspiring zoologist
It started like every other Thursday morning, however there were four baby blue birds waiting for me this time. The last time I had seen the nest there were five eggs.
As I knocked on the bird house to let the bluebirds know I was coming in, I was somewhat nervous. I usually feel this way because I am afraid that I will do something wrong. Once I opened the door, Trish and I noticed the fly larvae that she had been warning me about. This observation did not settle my nerves. These fly larvae hide in the nest and suck the babies’ blood. They can kill the babies.
The feeling that I had when I pulled those baby birds out of the nest was fear, not my own fear, but the fear that the birds were experiencing. It broke my heart that they were scared of me while they had these fly larvae crawling around in their nest.
As Trish built a new larvae-free nest and I began putting the babies back into the new nest, I came to the conclusion that this experience solidified my dream of understanding animals. These birds have feelings and they are vulnerable just like any other creature on this planet. And once we can understand how birds, mammals, fish, or any other type of species feels and interacts with the world, we can then take further steps to build our relationship with the beings and environment on this Earth.
Trish O’Kane’s note: I have been monitoring the bluebird houses on the southwest side of Warner Park for three years. I am now training Jonathan Santanna to replace me as the federally-certified bluebird monitor in Wild Warner Park. Every week Jonathan learns how to open the bluebird houses and check on the birds inside to make sure that they are safe and healthy. Thanks to Jonathan’s care and commitment, four new bluebirds are now flying around Warner Park.
Ph.D. Candidate in Environment & Resources
Co-Instructor of Env. Studies 600: “Last Child in the Park” and “Nature Explorers”
July 16, 2014
The 2014 Warner Park Sandhill Crane colt is finally fledged from the nest and starting to get out and about, and learning to forage with its parents on the restored prairie area of Warner Island. (The former fireworks shooting island restored as wet prairie.) ( Video by Paul Noeldner)
Here are some photos shot by Jim Carrier in the same spot.
July 16, 2014
Warner’s Bluebird Trail, maintained by Paul Noeldner, Tim Nelson, Jonathan Santanna and Trish O’Kane, yielded successful hatches this year. The boxes also attract Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, House Wrens and Black-capped Chickadees making 2nd or 3rd nests this year.
Nearby blooming prairie areas and shoreline native plantings are full of insects enjoyed by nesting birds including a Sandhill Crane family. Several species of Swallow complete the picture for nature lovers as they swoop low over grassy areas.
April 19, 2014
It was a beautiful day to pick up trash in Warner Park Saturday.
Twenty volunteers, many from the Brentwood Neighborhood Association, adjacent to the park, fanned out with plastic bags and gloves supplied by Kristin Mathews, a Leadworker with the Madison Parks Department. By the end of the day her pickup was filled.
Wild Warner partnered with the cleanup, which focused on areas of the park adjacent to Brentwood– along Trailsway and Monterey Drive, as well as storm-drain trash carried into the woods. Several volunteers picked invasive garlic mustard to help our native understory in Warner’s woods.
Brentwood’s Charlotte Leydon coordinated the cleanup, which made a sizable dent in the long winter’s detritus. Her husband, Dr. George Leydon, and their two sons, Henry, 6, and Grant, 4, did their part while discovering worms and walking in water.
There is still more trash to pick up. If you’ve got some spare time, a trash bag and some gloves, join the fun. It’s our park. Let’s treat it right.
April 2, 2014
By Paul Noeldner
The Sherman Nature Explorers helped their UW Student Mentors check on the Wild Warner Bluebird Trail boxes on Wednesday March 26. Their sharp eyes spotted beautiful Bluebird pairs perched near three boxes and a nest already started in one. The kids also helped take digiscope pictures from a respectful distance using cellphones through a spotting scope. The boxes will be monitored weekly. The public can enjoy viewing the boxes and birds from nearby but only assigned and trained trail monitors can open the boxes. Its already looking like a good year!
Reminds me of an old folk song that goes something like this: Here comes the laughing Springtime! March will not linger long. Bluebirds have set their wing time, Bluebirds are never wrong. They know the Fairy wingtime, they can tell you in their song!…Falalalalala (repeat).
February 17, 2014
By Paul Noelner
About 16 people joined in the February Bird and Nature Walk at Warner Park held every 3rd Sunday 1:30-3 pm. Walks are also held at Cherokee Marsh the 1st Sunday 1:30-3 pm and Turville Point the 2nd Saturday 10-11:30 am each month. Students, families and kids are welcome.
After a kickoff reading from beloved naturalist John Muir the group gamely hiked from Warner Park Center through fresh sparkling snow past the beautifully restored statue of Lady Liberty on the knoll and into the ‘Nature Recreation’ side of Warner Park. Everyone paused to admire the sturdy mud Cliff Swallow castle like homes glued with saliva onto the cement pillars of the Tin Can Shelter, followed by a loop out past the Warner Pond lagoon ice skating area to the cattail shores of Warner Island to view a Wood Duck box and Kestrel box.
Undaunted by the deep snow the group then circled into Wild Warner Woods to find Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers – Where? – On that limb! – Which limb? There are hundreds! Its always a great game trying to describe where something is in a natural world with no right angles. Zoom pictures with a digital camera someone had along helped bring the birds up close for everybody to see. The walk ended with welcome hot chocolate at the Historic Oak shelter. We left the great downhill sled hill to neighborhood kids this time.
Along the way participants shared stories about their love of the local park Sandhill Cranes and giant Pileated Woodpeckers that sometimes visit neighborhood back yards. We talked about how keeping native mixed woodlands and some deadwood habitat in parks and yards is important for the Woodpeckers, Chickadees and other birds that help control tree insects on healthy trees for all of us for free. Woodpeckers are now helping city foresters locate Emerald Ash Borer infestations. Sandy Schwab with 4 Lakes Wildlife also described the plight of Chimney Swifts and the possibility of putting up a Swift Tower in Warner Park to accommodate losses of old deadwood trees and building chimneys.
The highlight of the walk Hwas group of American Crows pestering a Red-tailed Hawk circling low overhead in the bright sun. Somehow Winter seems less daunting when you are out in nature. But everyone welcomed the thought that Red-wing Blackbirds may be making their Spring appearance by next month’s Bird and Nature Walk when we will discover more of the Wild Side of Warner Park.
February 13, 2014
The wild side of Warner Park was shaken from its winter slumber this week, as the Nature Explorer Club returned for its winter/spring session.
On Wednesday, Feb. 12, thirty-seven kids trudged through the snow to sled in Warner Park and look for intrepid birds that are starting to return to the park.
Trish O’Kane reports the following wildlife: American tree sparrows burrowed in the snow, the red fox, a Cooper’s hawk, dark-eyed juncos, house finches and cardinals singing their spring songs, brown creepers, nuthatches, several species of woodpeckers, mourning doves — and a bunch of kids sledding.
After an afternoon in the snow, they trouped back to Sherman and surprised Paul Noeldner, Wild Warner’s education coordinator, with cake and candles.
He was delighted as 37 kids and 14 college mentors sang happy birthday to their indefatigable weekly advisor and game meister. (Trish O’Kane)