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

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Costa's Hummingbird Manistee County

  On Saturday after I arrived at my home in the metro Detroit area,  I saw a rare bird posting of an apparent  Costa's Hummingbird in Manistee County.  It's unfortunate that I didn't see the post before my 4 hour drive home because I had started the day about 50 miles from the Onekama residence that the bird is frequenting. The bird has since been confirmed as a Costa's and it is the first one ever recorded in Michigan.  
    My west Michigan luck has continued as the bird was still present this afternoon as I arrived back in the area.  I was able to get a few photos under heavy overcast.  The homeowners, Ronald and Janet,  said the bird has been hanging around for about 3 weeks and they notified  local birder Dr. Brian Allen, on Friday because they were concerned about it's welfare during that afternoon's blustery snow squalls.


Here is a link to a  News story about the bird

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Lake Erie Metropark Hawk Watch 11/2/2014

   As advertised, the draw of the Hawk Watch at Lake Erie Metropark in November is variety of raptor species. The count today included 30 Golden Eagles, 97 Red-Shouldered Hawks, 6 Rough-leggeds and 2 Goshawks among 10 species in total.
Rough-legged Hawk

Red-shouldered and Northern Harrier

Golden Eagle

Red-tail Hawk and Golden Eagle

Immature Red-Shouldered Hawk