Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Dunlin 12/22/2015 Ludington Harbor

  Was surprised to a shorebird out on the south pier of Ludington Harbor around noon today.  It turned out to be a Dunlin.  It represents a late date for the county, previous late date was December 3, 2013.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Protecting the Shoreline

  With today looking like the last 60 degree day until spring, I figured I'd take Roscoe to the beach and let him take on the waves one last time this season.
  At first he looked a little disappointed that waves were somewhat dampened by an offshore wind.
All leashes shall be dogged

  Soon we found a spot where the breakers were a little more competitive.
    The battle went like this....
Like a shortstop charging a grounder, he faces it head on.

And takes a shot to the chin.

he applies a retaliatory bite on the sea and sand 

As the wave retreats to from where it came... Roscoe does the same.
 We'll call it a draw.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ludington Harbor Birds 11/16/2015

  Just a few birds at the harbor on a beautiful mid-November day.

White-winged Scoter

Bonaparte's Gull

Common Loon

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Late Monarch plus birds this week

I was surprised to see a very late Monarch Butterfly this afternoon at Ludington State Park.

  Also at the park today was a small group of Buffleheads

  Earlier in the week out on the south pier of Ludington Harbor I saw this Merlin

This Dunlin

  and this Sanderling

  At Buttersville Park there was a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
  and a few Tree Sparrows.

   Back at the State Park  I saw this standoffish Red Squirrel
As I watched him on the stage my hands were clenched in fists of rage

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Ludington State Park - Northern Lights Again 11/07/2015

Following a heavy overcast day, I wasn't holding out much hope of viewing a potential auroral display in the hours after midnight this morning.  I woke up just as the calendar clicked over to November 7, and saw that according to spaceweather.com the Kp index was up to 5 with a possibility of intensification.  Since the dog hadn't been out since we fell asleep during the second period of the Red Wings game, we stepped outside.  I to check the cloud cover and Roscoe to water the lawn.  
    In the 3 hours that I napped on the couch the skies had just about cleared.  I packed my camera gear into the car and headed toward Ludington State Park.  As I headed up County Rd 116 I noticed glow through the clouds to the north.  I pulled over and took a 10 second exposure with my camera held on the dashboard.  There they were, the elusive glowing green pulses that I hadn't seen since...Wednesday.   
Hand held through the windshield
   I found a suitable spot on Hamlin Lake and set up the rig.

   Once again I created a video from some of the still shots. Here is the youtube link......Northern Lights 11/07/2015

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Northern Lights 11/04/2015


  Last night I arrived at work 20 minutes early and set up my camera to attempt to capture a Northern Lights display.  What transpired was a modest auroral display that my camera was able catch and I was able to turn into a video that I put on youtube.  Link below....

Northern Lights 11/04/15

   In one of the photos taken before the display began my camera caught a meteor.

    The first time that I saw the Northern Lights was back on November 8, 1991. Over the years I've seen them 8 times from the state of Michigan.

 Here is a list of those dates.
November 8, 1991
November 5-6, 2001
October 29, 2003
November 20, 2003
November 7-8, 2004
November 10, 2004
March 17, 2015
November 4, 2015.

  What jumps out from the list is that 87% of the sightings occurred over 6% of the calendar that spans from October 29 to November 23.  An even tighter window from November 4 to November 10 includes 62% of my observations in a 7 day period.  The Northern Lights are more likely to occur in the spring and fall rather than summer and winter for reasons explained in the link below.
NASA explanation 

Monday, November 2, 2015

What are we looking at again?

 Here is a cropped version of a photo that I took today.  I was kind of surprised that different sections of the image had a passing resemblance to other things. One cropped portion of the photo it looks like a long exposure of a densely packed starfield within the Milky Way. 

  Or it could be a close-up of an amber colored adult beverage being poured into a tall glass, as a different cropped section of the same photo seems to indicate.
  But actually the uncropped photo shows that it's really a five foot wave crashing into the rocks lining the south pier of Ludington Harbor, while being strongly backlit by the early morning sun.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Fox Sparrow and Late Rose-breasted Grosbeak in the yard

     Been a rainy past few days but it didn't mean some productive birding couldn't be accomplished.  On Wednesday I added the 87th species to my yard list when this Fox Sparrow was observed kicking leaves under a spruce tree.

Fox Sparrow

  Early this afternoon while passing through the kitchen I noticed a female Rose-Breasted Grosbeak near the suet feeder on my deck.  I was hoping to grab a quick photo of it but realized that I had left the camera in the car.  By the time I retrieved the canon rig the bird was gone.  An hour later it returned, this time on a seed feeder in the front yard.  I was able to snap a few blurry photos through a rain splattered window from 40 yards away.  Records indicate it is the latest fall Rose-Breasted Grosbeak for the county by 21 days. 

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Lesser Black-backed Gull Stearns Park 10/22/15

  A single adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was spotted among the Herring and Ring-billed Gulls at Stearns Park by Dave Dister on Thursday afternoon.
Lesser Black-backed Gull
  Out on the South breakwater the only shorebirds were three Dunlins and three Sanderlings.

  Back at home a Pileated Woodpecker did some damage to the suet cake that the smaller bird politely nibble on,
Pileated Woodpecker

Close up

 The Red-headed Woodpecker below was at Ludington State Park on Monday.
Red-headed Woodpecker

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A couple of lingering warblers

 An Orange-crowned Warbler is still hanging around the south parking lot at the stoner disc golf course at Buttersville Park.
 This Yellow-rumped Warbler is still visiting my suet feeder.


American Tree Sparrow

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Ludington Harbor South Breakwater 10/18/15

  Early this afternoon I ventured out to the south breakwater of Ludington Harbor.  On the walk to the end of the pier I only saw 7 birds on the pier itself, all Lapland Longspurs.
Lapland Longspur

First winter Lapland Longspur

  When I got to the end of the pier I scanned Lake Michigan and found a single Long-tailed Duck.
Long-tailed Duck
    A few minutes later I noticed a flock of 11 White-winged Scoters
White-winged Scoters
   Heading back in from the end of the pier I came across a Snow Bunting.
Snow Bunting
   Below is a Great Blue Heron taking on a good sized meal.
Catch of the day

Taking it to a more suitable location

Does this Carp make my neck look fat?