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Notes from the Field – Of Turkeys and Transmission Lines

Editor’s note: People often joke that there are two seasons in Wisconsin: Winter and road construction. This year has disproven the joke with distinct and beautiful spring, summer and fall seasons.

American Transmission Co. environmental project managers traverse hills and countryside monitoring construction activities year-round. They are the eyes and ears in the field, working with contractors to ensure that we demonstrate our environmental commitment.

Our Notes from the Field blog features highlights of what our environmental project managers see while they work on projects throughout our service area. This installment features photos and observations from Michael Warwick, ATC senior environmental project manager.

Autumn in Wisconsin

Summer is long gone, and with it, much of the wildlife we’ve grown accustomed to seeing out in the field. However, the unseasonably warm October and early November in Wisconsin has ensured that there were plenty to still enjoy.

Turkey trot

A staple at many Thanksgiving tables, turkey are also a regular sight in rural Wisconsin. This bird was out foraging along with companions near Portage.

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Snakes,frogs and turtles… In November!?! 

Since snakes, frogs, and turtles are cold-blooded, they seek out warmth where they can until they eventually find their way to their winter homes. Even in November, a warm day or two will often result in these critters trying to soak in the sun’s warming rays. This Dekay’s snake was sunning on a bed of leaves in Dane County. The map turtle took in some rays while watching the Wisconsin River flow. The leopard frog, just one of many, endangers its life by finding warmth in the asphalt road, while vehicles narrowly miss it as they pass by.

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Fly

A red-tailed hawk sits patiently on a distribution power line pole while it waits for food (snakes, mice, voles, or other rodents) to reveal itself in the grasses below.

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Sandhill cranes are still plentiful and will likely remain in the area until late December, unless severe winter weather forces them south sooner.

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warwickcropMichael Warwick is a senior environmental project manager at ATC. Prior to joining ATC he worked as an environmental consultant conducting tree and plant surveys, wetland delineation, GIS, project planning, community planning and permitting. He previously worked at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources with a focus on waterway monitoring and studies, and wetland and waterway permit reviews.

Michael earned a Bachelor of Science degree in conservation and environmental sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is currently certified by Wisconsin DNR as an Endangered Resources Reviewer and is a member of the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC) Outreach Committee. He volunteers his time guiding annual natural resources-based educational field trips for the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin.