Thursday, October 19, 2017

Red-necked Phalarope Ludington 10/19/2017

  Early this afternoon Van Burmeister found a Red-necked Phalarope just outside the south breakwater at Ludington Harbor.  I made it out there around 4 pm and was able to get some photos.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Late Date Birds 10/16/2017

 Immediately after I stepped out on the deck this afternoon I spotted a Blue-headed Vireo in one of my oak trees.  Seconds later a Black-throated Green Warbler showed up a bit farther away.  From data compiled by Dave Dister they both appear to be late fall dates for the Mason County.  Previous date for the Blue-headed Vireo was 10/9/2006 and 10/13/2015 for the Black-throated Green.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Ludington Harbor

  Yesterday morning as I exited my car in the parking lot for the South Breakwater of Ludington Harbor I noticed a couple of birders(Curt and Kathy Hofer) returning to their car who tipped me off to a Buff-breasted Sandpiper out on the pier.
  I spotted the bird on the first straight-away about halfway out toward the bend.  This morning the bird was in pretty much the same spot. It later took off toward the Loomis Street boat-launch.  Dave Dister was able to relocate the bird about 45 minutes later.  After I walked the pier I headed over to Loomis Street and was able to get some photos as it prowled the grass area oblivious to pedestrians, cyclists and dog walkers.
Eating a grasshopper
  Here are some photos from the pier...

  Last weekend between the rain showers I was able to add a few first-of-year birds to the yardlist. 
Blackpoll Warbler (#95 for the year)

Magnolia (#96 for the year)
  Also added but not shown here were Tennessee Warbler and American Kestrel, which puts the yardlist at 98 for the year.

  Also visiting last weekend were a Cape May Warbler

  And a bald-headed Northern Cardinal.   This bird has been in this condition since July.
Going to be a cold winter for this guy.

One of several Red-eyed Vireos that have been hanging around the yard.
Red-bellied Woodpecker and Northern Flicker side-by-side
Flicker in better lighting later in the week

First Broad-winged Hawk of the fall

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Red-necked Phalarope Ludington Harbor

   Late this morning Van Burmeister found two Red-necked Phalaropes out on the South Pier of Ludington Harbor.  One was still present when I met up with Dave Dister out there during the noon  hour.

Not the first Red-necked to find comfort in West Michigan

   A Golden Plover also was viewed out on the breakwater.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Olive-sided Flycatcher - A Proper Welcome Home

    My Wednesday began at 1:30 AM PDT  on Tuesday or did my Tuesday end at 1200 Noon on Wednesday. Anyway,  my daughter Dana and I drove straight through from La Grande, Oregon to my home in west Michigan in 28 hours 35 minutes.  It worked out pretty good as we switched driving duties with each tankful of gas, which turned into a 5 hours-on, 5 hours-off schedule for both of us.  Arriving home I was finally able to relax and caught a lengthy nap from noon til 4:00 pm this afternoon.
   Around 5 pm I grabbed a beer and a sandwich and headed out to the back deck to relax and watch for the beginning of fall bird migration.
22 oz x 11% = 4 beers in one

  No sooner did I set down my food and drink when I spotted a young Olive-sided Flycatcher engaged in an questionable campaign to eradicate my neighborhood of bees.  It probably caught a half-dozen bees in the hour I observed it, each time returning to the same perch on an oak snag in my front yard.

  I've found 3 Olive-sided Flycatchers in my life. Each sighting occurred within 10 feet of my refrigerator as I was preparing or sitting down to eat lunch/dinner. The first at my old house in metro Detroit  back almost 4 years to the day ......   Then last September I found one in the exact same tree as today's bird, while I was standing in the exact same spot .

    Monday's Solar Eclipse post will be expounded upon at my astronomy blog here....

Monday, August 21, 2017

Total Eclipse 8/21/2017

    Disclaimer : These photos do no justice to the spectacle created by the Moon blotting out the late morning Sun.

  It started innocently enough as a small notch formed on the upper right edge of the Sun.

   The bite got bigger....

....until our local star showed a fat crescent.

   It progress until only a sliver remained
    After the last ray of sun shined through a deep crater on the Moon's rim creating a diamond ring effect(not pictured), the elusive solar corona appeared.  A close look at the photo below reveals a red promenience at the same position that the moon's transit started.
  A longer exposure shows the star Regulus  (circled) to the lower left of the eclipsed Sun.
He had to stay home because he couldn't pass the eclipse safety test.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Eagle Fight

    A routine walk to the mailbox took an unexpected turn as a pair of  immature Bald Eagles put on a show right over my yard.  Fortunately my camera was nearby and I was able to catch all the action.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Dickcissel Mason County 6/11/2017

    Dave Dister called this afternoon with a tip on some singing male Dickcissels in nearby Custer.  I was able to get to the location about an hour later and heard up to a half dozen of the birds in the area of Johnson and Schoenher Rd.
   The first one that flew into view ended up on the power lines over 100 yds away.  It made for an aesthetically unpleasing ID shot.

  A short while later while parked on Schoenher a bird landed right across the road from my car and alternated between posing and hawkwatching. 
Eye on the sky