Sunday, September 27, 2015

More Yard Birds

  Had a pair of Bald Eagles put on a show over my house yesterday afternoon. They resolved their dispute and continued on their way.

  Here are some other birds that I photographed from my deck since yesterday afternoon.
Scarlet Tanager

Tanager in flight

Yellow-throated Vireo

Nashville Warbler

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Franklin's Gull Ludington State Park

   The little used Mostly Birds (but not always) red phone rang this morning.  It was Dave Dister, who was at Ludington State Park where he was watching a Franklin's Gull that was mingling with the Herring and Ring-Billeds.  
  I made it out there in about 15 minutes and felt fortunate that the bird was still there. It turned out to be pretty cooperative. Despite a couple of flights out over Lake Michigan, it along with the other gulls, returned to the area near the beach house each time.

A Franklin's can sometimes be confused with a Laughing

Mostly Nashvilles (but not always)

  After last Saturday's wave that brought 14 warbler species to my yard, I've been keeping an eye out for a repeat performance.  Although most of the days earlier this week brought only a handful of individuals of just a couple of species, on Friday it looked like the floodgates were opening up again. 
   As soon as I got home from work, just after 10 AM, I could see lots of activity in the trees,  I grabbed my camera and binoculars and sorted through the 20 or so songbirds feasting mostly on small caterpillars that were in my oaks. This first wave was about 90% Nashville Warblers with a couple of Tennessees mixed in.
Nashville Warbler

Tennessee Warbler

  That group cleared out around 10:30 and a second influx ensued at the top of the hour,  This group had 4 or 5 each of Nashvilles, Magnolias and Black-throated Greens with again a couple of Tennessees and one Black and White Warbler. They stayed until 11:40 and were the last large group of the day.
Magnolia Warbler

Black-Throated Green Warbler

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sunday Morning 9/20/2015

   Checked the south breakwall of Ludington Harbor after work this morning only had a handful of shore birds that included 4 Sanderlings and I Semi-palmated Plover.
   The photo of the mink below was taken 15 minutes before sunrise with my camera ISO setting at 12500.

Semi-palmated Plover
   After the walk on the pier I headed to the Disc Golf course on Chauvez to add some birds to the list that I have for that site. New additions are the two warblers shown below and the Lincoln's Sparrow.
Tennessee Warbler

Red-eyed Vireo

Chipping Sparrow

Wilson's Warbler

Lincoln's Sparrow
  By the way, a repeat of yesterday's warbler invasion in my yard failed to materialize. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Warbler Invasion (14 Species) In My Yard 9/19/2015

   In the spring at my new house I was able to ID 13 warbler species from my deck.  At the time I couldn't help but think that the fall might be even better as birds trying to head southwest to Mexico and Central America tend to follow the coast of Lake Michigan rather than cross the lake.
    As September has progressed I had only seen 5 species and never more than 3 in a day.   In three hours today in my yard, I saw 14 warbler species.  They came in like lake-effect snow squalls in groups of 10 to 20.  They would feed on insects then move on.  Then an hour later another group would swoop in and the process would repeat. I was able to photograph 10 of the species.  

Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler

Northern Parula - new to yard list #83
  Blackpoll and Bay-breasted Warblers are sometimes hard to distinguish.  The Blackpoll is ID'd by the yellow feet.
Blackpoll Warbler
  This Bay-breasted was showing some of the 'bay' color on its sides.
Bay-breasted Warbler
Tennessee Warbler - #84

Nashville Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler
 Warblers not shown ; Cape May, American Redstart, Wilson's, and Black and White.

   If it's September the raptors will be migrating.
Red-tailed Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk

American Kestrel

Bald Eagle
  Birds aren't the only things migrating.
Black Saddlebags
  Other birds of note photographed today.
Pileated Woodpecker

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Red-Eyed Vireo

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Merlin VIsit

    This afternoon I had a Merlin hang around my yard for about an hour.  It spent most of the time scanning my yard from the top of a White Pine, then periodically taking off to terrorize smaller birds before returning to the same perch.

Red-bellys came back out after the Merlin left

Lake Erie Metropark Hawk Watch 9/16/15

  On a quick trip back to my old neighborhood to return a borrowed trailer, I spent the afternoon at the Lake Erie Metropark hoping to catch a significant Broad-winged Hawk migration.  The annual fall Broadwing migration through southeast Michigan is a function of weather and the calendar. Previous years' data shows that 85% of the Broadwings counted at LEMP occur between September 15 and 19, so yesterday's date fell conveniently into that window.  The weather on the other hand was not ideal. The sunny skies were fine but the moderate south winds were far from ideal, as the higher counts in the past have typically occurred on day with a light wind with a northerly component that had followed a day or two of similar light north winds that push Broadwings from Canada to the northern shores of Lakes Erie and Ontario. 

  Of the 300+  raptors tallied at the countsite yesterday only a couple of dozen were Broadwings.  Despite the modest count there were still a few photo ops to be had.

Osprey working the shoreline

Sharp-shinned Hawk

American Kestrel

Immature Bald Eagle
  For anyone with an opportunity and desire to view Broadwings this season, you may want to stop by  the countsite on Sunday or Monday.  Although those two dates fall outside the aforementioned calendar window the winds will be much more favorable.