Sunday, December 21, 2014

Ludington CBC 12/20/2014

  After a postponement because of fog the previous weekend, the Ludington Christmas Bird Count took place yesterday.  I spent the morning riding around with Van Burmeister finding widely scattered groups of birds.
Gadwall with a pair of Mallards
   In the afternoon I came up empty at my worksite for a Snowy Owl and even Snow Buntings, after both species had been pretty reliable in the weeks leading up to the count.

  I decided to search an area northeast of Ludington where I had seen a Snowy Owl last Saturday  Last week's owl was not to be found but a small group of Snow Buntings, 30 Robins, 33 Cedar Waxwings, a Rough-legged Hawk and a different Snowy Owl.

Cedar Waxwings

Dark morph Rough-legged Hawk

Much whiter than last weeks owl.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Another Snowy Owl in Mason County

   Before this autumn, I had only found 3 previously unreported Snowy Owls.  Since October 30 I've found seven, Today I found the 7th one located in Victory Twp, northeast of Ludington in Mason County.  It was on a utility pole on Stiles Rd. just south of Manales Rd.

  Tomorrow is the Ludington Christmas Bird Count, which I'll miss due to work obligations.  Hopefully someone on the Count can refind this bird tomorrow as it's location today was just inside the boundary of the Count Circle.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Snowy Owl in Ludington 12/7/14

  This afternoon there was a Snowy Owl on the shore of Ludington Harbor just north of the south breakwall.  As I was photographing the bird, a guy coming in from the pier told me he saw a very white one near the end of the pier.  
    Another bird of interest was a single Snow Bunting.

   On Friday afternoon I was driving through Ludington State Park when I saw a female Common Merganser having a bit of a struggle.  I pulled out my binoculars out and saw that she was trying to consume a pretty good size perch.

There she got it.
Oops... not quite
   Just as I thought she was giving up, she changed her grip and was able get a better angle.

Looking for the next one.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Chipping Sparrow in the yard 11/27/2014

    Haven't been home much this month.  This morning I filled the feeders in the yard and was rewarded an hour later with a late season Chipping Sparrow.

Not giving up its seat at the holiday table

Sunday, November 23, 2014

An ISO 2000 Weekend

   The Sun made a brief appearance on Friday but the ever present winds kept Lake Michigan in an angry mood.  Walking the south pier at Ludington Harbor was out of the question with waves washing over it all weekend.

 Sitting on a bench was not an option either.
Saturday saw the start of a warm spell at Ludington Harbor
    The north pier was navigable on Saturday that is if you didn't mind the sheet of ice covering the first 50 feet of it.  From the pier I was able to get a good view of some Horned Grebes.
Horned Grebe
  Out near the Lighthouse I saw a dark duck riding the waves.  Turned out to be a female Black Scoter.
Female Black Scoter

Lingering Cormorants
   Pine Siskins have taken over the yard of the house I'm renting, with a flock of 40 monopolizing the feeders,

It's not your turn.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Costa's Hummingbird in Snowy Manistee County

  The Costa's Hummingbird is still hanging around the yard of a home in Onekama, Michigan.  This morning I made the 50 mile drive, on icy roads, to try to get a photo of the bird in a snowy setting.  
  When I arrived I saw a portable hunting blind had been set up to shelter the feeder that the little guy is using.  The home owner Ron, told me that they wrapped heat tape around the feeder and placed a spotlight near it, in an effort to keep the sugar water mixture from freezing.  In the 70 minutes that I was there, the Costa's visited the feeder 3 times.  After two of those visits the wayward bird disappeared into the bushes about 20 feet from me.  I was unable to get any photos those times.  The only photo ops I got were when he landed in the small trees on the opposite side of the yard. 
Cropped image from across the yard.

Full frame shot

Miraculously my camera was able to focus on the target from that distance 
  Other birds visiting the hummingbird host's yard.

  Here are two photos taken at the house I'm renting in Mason County.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Snowy Owl 11/14/2014

    The Snowy Owls continue to cross paths with me at my workplace.  

Face distorted by 25 mph wind as owl strikes a chicken pose
  What's better than a Snowy Owl visiting your workplace?
Two Snowy Owls

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Birds at Work

     At my new life, I've been getting some good views of some good birds.  A Rough-Legged Hawk has been hanging around for about 3 weeks, often kiting at eye level.

Composite of  kiting  Rough-legged Hawk

This week a pair of Snowy Owls arrived on site.  I'm told Snowies are seen there every winter.

Composite of Snowy in flight

Common Loon

Red-breasted Mergansers