Thursday, May 26, 2016

North American Migratory Bird Count 5/14/16


  Mark Twain never said " The coldest Christmas Bird Count I ever participated in was a Spring Migratory Bird Count in Mason County" But he could have.  At one point on count morning, Saturday May 14, 2016, the temperature was 38 F with a 15 mph wind which equates to a windchill in the upper 20's.
   Despite the unfavorable weather conditions, the six teams covering Mason County found 156 species just 2 short of the county record. Here are photos of a few of the 104 birds that Dave Dister and I were able to find in Pere Marquette and Summit Townships plus the city of Ludington.
Piping Plover in flight

Piping Plover in sprint

Lincoln's Sparrow

Lesser Yellowlegs

Pectoral Sandpiper

Short-billed Dowitcher
  Here are other birds that I've seen since my last post.

 In my yard the Pine Siskins are still fighting over the feeders

  On the South Pier of Ludington Harbor a few shorebirds have been hanging around.
Spotted Sandpiper

Semi-palmated Sandpiper

   This morning I walked the North Pier of Ludington Harbor and found one of the local Piping Plovers had the same idea.
Mr. Piping Plover
Mrs. Piping Plover

Mr Plover back on the beach

Close-up of leg bands 
Wilson's Warbler at Pere Marquette Monument

Flock of Canada Geese

Common Nighthawk over my house


Bald Eagle at Ludington State Park

Monday, May 16, 2016

King of the Jack Pine Forest 5/16/2016

  After taking a day off from driving and birding, I got back behind the wheel and then the camera on an excursion to the Jack Pine forest around Grayling.  The biggest draw to that area is the recovering Kirtland's Warbler.  In 1987 only 167 singing males were counted on the breeding grounds in northern Michigan.  With management of the forest to improve their habitat, 1828 singing males were counted in 2011.
  Three years ago I took the Kirtland's Warbler Tour conducted by the Michigan Audubon Society, I was grateful to get a fleeting glimpse of this rare beauty but disappointed that I didn't get any good photos.
  This morning while driving down a couple of the roads in the Mason Tract of state forest, I heard 7 singing males, saw 3 and was able to photographed 2 of them.

A male Kirtland's with no obscuring branches. Now can we get a little song.
Singing male but the lighting is kind of dingy
   A little down the road I found myself between singing males on opposite sides of the road.
Better lighting but really?..... posing in a deciduous tree?
     I chose to try for the bird on the side opposite the morning sun.
Ok we got the right tree but you're hiding in the shadows

Nice, but can we get another song?

Excellent but that background is a little distracting.

Ok good lighting, nice background.  What, no song?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Ludington Oriole

  As I was taking test shots to ensure a properly exposed photo of a Baltimore Oriole, an Oriole dropped down from the Beech tree and flew past the orange that I put out for it. 

White-crowned Sparrow
  The day didn't start out all sunshine and oranges. The cool gusts off of the lake brought a squall of snow pellets that coated the car....

.....the deck.....

...and the dog.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Curlew Sandpiper Swanton, Ohio

   Late this morning I ran into Darlene Friedman near the entrance to the Magee Marsh Boardwalk and she told me that a Curlew Sandpiper was being seen about 45 minutes west of Magee. I took a trip out there and the bird was quite cooperative.

  I was even able to get some flight shots,

Here is a Google  Maps view of the birds location.

  Here are some  birds I saw at Magee Marsh
American Redstart

Nashville Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Common Nighthawk at its day job

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Kirtland's Warbler and Other Migrants at Magee Marsh 5/12/2016

  Traveled across the state and into Ohio through the wee hours of the morning.  Arrived at Magee Marsh just as the rain stopped.  The morning was pretty slow but around 3 PM things picked up significantly as rain started threatening once again,
  Highlight of the day....a distant Kirtland's Warbler near the east boardwalk entrance.
  Other Warblers photographed.

Northern Parula

Yellow Warbler

Common Yellowthroat

Yellow-rumped Warbler

American Redstart

Northern Waterthrush

Black-throated Blue





Cape May

 Other birds of interest.
Snowy Egret

Baltimore Oriole

Chipping Sparrow

Gray Catbird

Indigo Bunting

Black-billed Cuckoo

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

American Woodcock
  Tomorrow promises better lighting but less favorable winds.  We'll see.