Monday, April 28, 2014

Looner Mission

  Up until this morning my one day record for Common Loons flying over my yard was 11.  This morning I had that by 7:05 AM and proceeded to get 24 more before 10 o'clock.  The 35 loons were more than I had ever counted for an entire spring.  Previous record was 30 in 2011.  They flew over as singles, pairs and a group each of 4,5 and 6.

5 of the group of 6

Close-up of above bird

4 of the group of 5

Close-up of above birds

  If you read my previous post about the four flight paths that the Loons take over my yard,  32 of the 35 were on either path B or C.  Paths A and D had one each and the remaining bird was heading north to south in a reverse migration direction.

   I've had a few decent birds on the ground in my yard over the past few days

Brown  Thrasher
   I see Mallards fly over quite often but this is only the second time one has landed.

Common Loon on Saturday

 Either a Melanistic or filthy House Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

Hermit Thrush

  Back on April 18, I saw the disk of the Sun veiled behind a thin spot in the heavy overcast.  I knew its surface was loaded with sunspots so I took a few photos to try to capture them.
   Here is an image that appeared on's website that day.  It was taken from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory with the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager.  The Observatory is in orbit around the Earth.

Moonrise at dawn on Sunday

Friday, April 18, 2014

Yard Loon Flight Paths

    I know no one cares but dammit as long as Common Loons keep flying over my yard in April and May, I'm going to keep photographing and doing blogposts about them.   So far this season I've had ten loons fly over the yard.

  The ten birds have followed the same four distinct paths that loons in previous springs have.
  Although in years past the paths B and C were taken about 70% of the time, this year only three of ten birds have used those routes.
Following Path B
   This year 50% of the Loons have been on Path D, where only 20% have been observed using it in past years.
Path D bird

Path D again

Path C bird glancing at travelling companion

Companiion of above bird

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Snow Birds

   When photo-ops collide.  This morning's snow and migrating birds faithfully following their internal clock made for an unforgettable walk along the Lake Erie shore in Erie, MI.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

    The Kinglets and Gnatcatchers were difficult to photograph as they flitted around trying to find bugs with the temperatures in the upper 20's.
Song Sparrow

Brown Thrasher


Great Blue Heron

   Ebird has yet to indicate any Solitary Sandpiper sightings so far in Michigan this year.
Solitary Sandpiper

Bonaparte's Gull

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pine Warbler and Other Birds at Work

   Added 4 to this year's list of birds I've seen at my worksite.  Pine Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, Common Loon and Blue-winged Teal.  List stands at 72.

Eastern Phoebe

Northern Shoveler

Turkey Vulture

Ring-necked Duck with male's neck ring showing

Hooded Merganser getting a running start

Snowpile still hanging in there on first potentially 80 degree day.