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West-Central Wisconsin

VERNON COUNTY - Late summer and early fall are good times to do some birdwatching.
Oftentimes, fall migrants do not move through an area as rapidly as they do during the spring migration. Therefore, birdwatchers may have a little more time to actually "watch" birds.
Fall warblers can challenge even the most observant birdwatcher, making for difficult, but rewarding identification lessons.
Remember that most birds do not sing in the fall to the extent that they do in the spring. That means birdwatchers need to rely more on keen eyesight and less on their hearing to locate and identify birds.
There is, however, a minor increase in some bird vocalizations this time of year. Male Baltimore orioles, for example, initiate late summer vocalizing as they begin their southward migration to Central and South America. The majority of Baltimore orioles leave Wisconsin during the last half of August with some individuals lingering well into September, according to Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua.
LAKE WISSOTA STATE PARK - Species of birds seen or heard include scarlet tanagers, indigo buntings, towhees, ravens, rose-breasted grosbeaks, loons, robins, red polls, a variety of wrens, phoebes, turkey vultures, northern juncos, pileated woodpeckers, great blue herons, barred owls, osprey, bald eagles and belted kingfishers.
Canada geese have finished molting and young are flying.
Harebell, wild bergamot, common milkweed, water smartweed, rabbits foot clover, marsh hedge nettle, the water lilies, some of the aster varieties, orange hawkweed and wooly yarrow are flowering.
Blackberry season is in full swing with an abundance of fruit this year.
This year's raccoon young are out for adventure! Campers are advised to store all food in their vehicles at night and when they are away from their campsites, said Dave Hladilek, park manager.
PORTAGE COUNTY - The catfish bite is on the Wisconsin River.
Anglers are landing good number of channel catfish on either minnows or crawlers, so bring both.
Good number of walleyes are being caught, but most of them are under legal size, according to Bryan R. Lockman, conservation warden, Stevens Point.