The Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, site of offices for the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, recently recorded its 250th species for the property – and then in rapid succession notched No. 251 and 252.
A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was seen during a hawk watch led by WGLBBO Director William Mueller on Sept. 10.
A Eurasian Collared-Dove, a species seen with increasing frequency in recent years elsewhere in Ozaukee County, was sighted along the property’s western boundary on Sept. 27.
A Collared-Dove was recorded again during the annual Big Sit, led by the Noel J. Cutright Bird Club in cooperation with the observatory, on Oct.8. Earlier during that event, all those gathered on the Bill Cowart Memorial Hawk Watching Platform were treated to the site of seven Ross’s Geese leading a southbound flock of Canada Geese high over the preserve.
Species No. 252!
The 116-acre preserve, owned and managed by the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, was formerly used as the Squires golf course. The property is located on the Lake Michigan shoreline with the majority of the site approximately 600 feet inland. It is one of the largest tracts of open land remaining in Ozaukee County along the lake.
Among other rare species found there in the last seven years: Northern Mockingbird, Plegadis (species) Ibis, Western Kingbird, Mississippi Kite and Western Wood-Pewee (only the third ever found in Wisconsin).
The geography of the preserve -- and the extensive habitat development and planning of 27 wetlands in restoration activities begun in 2009 -- have achieved a significant part of Observatory founder Noel Cutright's vision: diverse habitat providing abundant seed and invertebrate sources for migratory birds. For a site its size, a species list of 252 demonstrates what excellent stopover habitat makes possible: a place for a diverse group of migratory birds to rest and refuel.