Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hawkfest and Yardbirds 9/20-9/23

   Saturday September 20, was the first day of Hawkfest at Lake Erie Metropark.   After 170,000 Broad-winged Hawks were counted earlier in the week, Saturday's count yielded more visitors than birds.   One of the attractions of the festival is the close-up views of raptors provided by members of the Michigan Hawking Club.  
     The Red-tailed Hawk in the photo below belongs to Mark Tomich.  I met Mark back in July when he and Dave Hogan returned a rehabilitated young Peregrine Falcon that had earlier fallen from its nest area at my soon-to-be-former workplace.  Turned out that I have known Mark's brother Blaze since the mid-80's, when we were both worked in an aluminum fabricating factory.  

American Kestrel
Size comparison of Bald Eagle and Broad-winged Hawk
  Since Saturday I've had quite a few good birds visit my yard.   First up, Swainson's Thrush early Saturday morning

  Sunday afternoon I spotted a Common Nighthawk  fly over.

  Saturday and Monday mornings another Blackpoll Warbler visited the yard.
   This morning the yard had its second ever Bay-Breasted Warbler.  This bird was around all morning.   I took a couple hundred photos of it as it ducked in and out of the shadows in my Sycamore trees.  Most of the photos were either over or under exposed because I kept exposing for shadows just as it would hop into the sun and vice-versa.

    In between Bay-breasted Warbler photo-ops a male Scarlet Tanager flew into one of the Sycamores.  It is only the third time I've seen one of them in the yard.  The second time was just a few weeks ago on August 31.  My initial Scarlet Tanager visit predates my daily yard surveys, but checking my notes on the first sighting I found it was 7 years ago......... to the day, 9/23/07.  Different bird same schedule.

Bay-breasted Warbler

Out of the Sycamore and into the berry patch

White-breasted Nuthatch

Downy close-up

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds
  Now for the insects
Green Darner on American Boneset

Honeybee in flgiht
Bumblebee on New England Aster
Caterpillar worming its way into the photo

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