Friday, May 28, 2021

Pelicans at PM Marsh 5/26-27/ 2021

   Around 4 PM on Wednesday, Brian Brosky found 18 American White Pelicans at the Pere Marquette Marsh on Business US-31 just south of Ludington.  I got there as quick as I could and saw that they were scattered in a couple of groups quite a distance from the road.  Although the lighting was just about perfect, the photos were less than ideal because of the distance and the distortion of the heat from the sundrenched surfaces.  

  Passing by PM Marsh on Thursday after unsuccessfully chasing a Glossy Ibis at Freeman Marsh, I noticed that the Pelicans were back. This time 6 were much closer to the road and the thick cloud cover with temperatures in the upper 40's minimized the heat distortion that I dealt with the day before.

How Did That Happen? 5/17/2021 / That Didn't Last Long


  On Sunday May 16 Dave Dister called to say that Suzie Knoll found 4 Common Gallinules at the marsh on Pere Marquette Highway.  Having recently discovered that I was near the top of the list of ebirders for Mason County and that I was lacking the Gallinules I headed out there and got some distant photos.  Also while I was out there I heard several Sedge Wrens and was able to get a decent photo of the mostly heard but not always seen bird.
   I had been firmly planted in fifth place on the county ebird list until I found the "Target Species" link on ebird's Mason County page.  When I went over the list I found that I had not only seen about 20 of the birds that I was lacking, I had photographed and blogged about them. So I went back and submitted the sightings and found myself tied for first with Matt McConnell.  The Gallinules and Sedge Wren put me on top of the list temporarily. 

Update :   It didn't take long(one week) before Matt McConnell deservedly reclaimed the top spot on the Ebird  Mason County Leaderboard.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Friday, May 21, 2021

2021 North American Migration Count 5/8/2021


   I conducted the Riverton Township portion of the Mason County Spring Migration Count with the help of my neighbor down the road Dee Payment.  We found the Blue-winged Warbler on its breeding ground on Conrad Rd.

  Some Ring-necked Ducks on North Oxbow Lake
 Later I found a late rough-legged Hawk east of Brye Rd.
  The previous day's new yard bird Clay-colored Sparrow, stuck around to be counted.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Clay-colored Sparrow 5/7/2021


   Added species number 164 to the yard list when a Clay-colored Sparrow did its part at weed control as it fed on Dandelion seeds.

    Other new arrival for the year bird that day was a Northern Parula Warbler, which the 114th species of the year in the yard.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Where Brewer's Blackbirds Dare 5/5/2021

   I've got a lot of catching up to do since I haven't posted here since May 3rd. So the the next few posts were will be brief and dated.

   On May 5th Dave Dister called and told me that Levi Wilson found a group of several Brewer's Blackbirds that were exhibiting nesting behavior at the farm on the corner of US-31 and Townline Rd.

  Dave warned of the poor lighting conditions at midday so I waited until 4 pm to get more favorable illumination.   

  Good job Levi. Maybe someday there will be a Blackbird named after you, since Warbler, Plover, Snipe, Phalarope, Storm-Petrel, Bird-of-Paradise and Indigobird are already covered.

Monday, May 3, 2021

May is Migration Month

   May is off to a spectacular start in terms of bird migration.  On Saturday May 1, my first Rose-breasted Grosbeak of the year arrived in my yard.

  Then around noon what appears to be a Lesser Black-backed Gull cruised by, along the edge of my bluff. The gull would be 161st species on my yard list if ID is confirmed.  If you have any opinions on it send me an email at the address near the bottom of the page.

   A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was the 6th woodpecker species that I saw that day, I only missed Pileated when it comes to 7 possible woodpecker species in the LP of Michigan.

   As good as Saturday was, it was just the undercard to Sunday's main event.  The Birdcast Map below shows that Doppler Radar sites across the lower 48 detected at least half a billion birds in flight during each 10 minute interval between 11:25 pm Saturday until 2:45 am Sunday morning.

 The wave of birds brought the first Baltimore Orioles of the year as well as 10 other species.  As it goes with Orioles a dispute over the feeders quickly developed.
  And a clear underdog was soon revealed.

  I added two more to the yardlist a Blue-winged Warbler which I was unable to photograph and a marginally more cooperative Northern Waterthrush.  The Waterthrush momentarily entered a less obstructed hole in the brush and allowed me to get a few manually focused shots.
 Other warblers to arrive on Sunday were

.... Yellow

....Black and White

   Which is the 100 species that I've this year in my yard this year and coincidentally was the 100 species last year, although that didn't occur until May 10th. 
 The first Ruby-throated Hummingbirds also arrived.... did the Indigo Buntings.
  Other first of the year birds arriving Sunday but not pictured were House Wren, Common Yellowthroat, Gray Catbird and Chimney Swift
    Although today started dingy and gray and only got worse when an all-day drizzle developed I had two more 2021 arrivals in the yard, Eastern Kingbird and..
....Great Egrets