Birding blitz commences as turkey harvest runs high

DNR REPORT - A wet start to last week, after a warm and dry weekend, saw large regions of the state experience sporadic and, in some cases, heavy rain. While last weekend was cooler, this moisture has driven down wildfire danger across much of the state that had reached very high. Most of the state is currently at “low” fire danger, but areas in the northeast and northwest remain at moderate levels.

Inland game fish anglers were greeted with unseasonably warm temperatures accompanied by strong winds on opening day. Angling pressure was generally moderate in the Northwoods, with a strong northwest wind creating some tough conditions for anglers on the larger lakes and flowages.

When winds moderated anglers were greeted by healthy swarms of black flies that hatched during the warm spell. Walleye was the primary target for most anglers and success was generally fair to mediocre.

Crappie and bluegill have really started to concentrate in the shallows, and anglers that were trying to escape the wind seemed to find them tucked along shore in the warmer bays.

Trout angling was also real popular on the opening weekend and the managed trout lakes saw some moderate to heavy pressure and anglers out in full force on the Bois Brule River.

On Green Bay, anglers continued to report decent catch rates for walleye off Oconto. Anglers fishing off Door County reported catching smallmouth bass and an occasional northern pike.

Anglers fishing along the Sturgeon Bay canal, Bayview Park, and Stone Harbor have been catching walleyes. Walleye continue to be caught in the Fox River although in smaller numbers than some weeks ago, but freshwater drum catches have been very high.

On Lake Michigan, boats fishing out of Kewaunee and Algoma have been catching brown trout and a few chinook salmon.

Turkey harvest numbers have been high this season, with many turkey hunters reporting they harvested large birds this year.

Hunters in some areas are now reporting reduced activity as most hens appear to be on their nests, incubating their clutch of eggs.

Grouse are still drumming, woodcock are still peenting, and more Canada goose broods have been seen this week.

Fawn sightings are being reported in southern Wisconsin, but no sightings reported yet in the north.

Many other wildlife youngsters are being seen, including red fox kits out of the dens, and playing around their homes.

The May birding blitz is on, with Neotropical migrants hitting the state in force. Much of the southern half of the state found large numbers of warblers, thrushes, vireos, grosbeaks and tanagers. More than 25 species of warblers were found in some locales. Baltimore orioles, rose-breasted grosbeaks, indigo buntings, and ruby-throated hummingbirds are arriving statewide.

Butterflies seen include the tiny, yet striking spring azure, as well as American copper, and the feisty red admiral.

The rains have brought a significant “green-up” to the state. Trees are well-leafed out in the south and now progressing in the north.

Fiddleheads are ready to frond. In the southern prairies and savannas, the brilliant orange-yellow of hoary puccoon, purple wood-sorrel, and prairie violets are blooming.

In the woods, large patches of mayapple are blooming, and bellwort, wood anemone, trilliums and trout lilies are blooming.

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