Saturday, March 30, 2013

Life after birders' purgatory (dayshift)

After three weeks of leaving for work before sunrise and not getting home until 5 PM,  I got a chance to do some morning bird watching.  Starting in my favorite birding site (my yard),  I was greeted by a flock of 19 Tundra Swans flying over 10 minutes after sunrise.
 Over the next hour and a half I saw a steady flow of typical spring migrants like Robins, Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds pass by.  Birds of note were 4 Killdeer, 8 Double-crested Cormorants  and 11 more Tundra Swans.



Took a quick ride to Lake Erie Metropark and saw a few territorial Tree Swallows staking out nest boxes.

Tree Swallow
 and two Sandhill Cranes fly over.
Sandhill Cranes
  In the afternoon I got a chance to watch some raptor migration from my yard when I returned home.
It started with an immature Bald Eagle at a great height.

Full frame with 500 mm lens

Cropped image of Bald Eagle

There must have been some strong thermals boiling up, as every raptor I saw was at or above the threshold of naked eye visibility.  Below is a photo of some of the 65 Turkey Vultures I counted.

Evidence of the thermals can be seen in the next photo of a.....
plastic grocery bag
It kind of ironic that the free flying plastic bag appears to have a green tree printed on it. If Al Gore weren't alive he'd be rolling over in his grave.

  Now we can take irony to next level by imagining that this discarded bag was lifted off the landfill two miles south of my house and is riding the same thermals and southwest winds that the vultures are riding back to Canada.  The same Canada that ships their garbage across the border to Michigan landfills rather than creating or using their existing trash dumps. 

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