Late Sunday afternoon Brian Allen and Doug Cook found a Say's Phoebe at Tippy Dam in Manistee County. This morning my wife and headed up there to see if I could find the bird and get some photos.
When we got there shortly after 9 AM we walked the short trail along the Manistee River, first toward the dam then downstream from the dam. We saw plenty of bird activity such as Song Sparrows, Black-capped Chickadees, Robins, Dark-eyed Juncos and even some Phoebes(of the Eastern variety) but the target bird was not located. My wife started to get cold so I gave her the keys and she went and waited in the car.
I continued to search for the bird another 10 minutes or so, then wound my way toward the spillway of the dam. It was at this time my short-attention span had me at the locked gate with my focus on the masterful brickwork on the 98 year-old dam powerhouse. I turned around toward the path from the parking lot and spotted another birder approaching with binoculars and camera in hand. It was Linda Scribner and she was there to search for the elusive(apparently only to me) bird. Talking to Linda I found out that the bird was seen an hour earlier right at the spillway where I had been standing.
Together we walked over the gated fence and there was the Say's Phoebe alternating between perching on the bolts bracing the wall and catching bugs on said wall. The bird continued this behavior for the next hour and was still there when I went back to the car to check on my wife.
There were three possible scenarios that could have resulted from my walk back to the parking lot , two of which would allow me to return to dam and resume photographing the bird. In Scenario 1(10% probability) my wife would say 'take your time and get that perfect photo'. Scenario 2 (60% probability) she would say "pack it up, let's go home". The third possibility (30% probability) would be that she had been tired of waiting, took the car and headed home. On the bright side I would have had the rest of the day to get an epic photo and of course to find a ride home. By the quality of the photos posted, it should be obvious that Scenario 2 was the correct answer.
On the way home we saw a Rough-legged Hawk that took off from a power line and flew south where it met up with another Roughie.