Thursday, May 19, 2022

Lesser Black-backed Gulls 5/17/2022


  For the second year in May in a row, I've photographed a Lesser Black-backed Gull flying past my bluff.

Composite photo of 1st cycle LBBG

    The first cycle bird above was seen on Tuesday morning and as a bonus it brought a friend...

…. a 2nd cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull.
  This gull species brings my yardlist for the year up to 155. 

   The other bird of interest from Tuesday was an adult Bald Eagle which flew by at close range at eye-level.

Lewis's Woodpecker, Muskegon County 5/18/2022


   A Lewis's Woodpecker has been the talk of West Michigan birding the past few days.  It showed up in the yard of a birder in Fruitport Twp on Monday and word quickly spread to draw birders from across the state to see it.

   Yesterday afternoon Brian Brosky and I headed down there and after about an hour we were able to locate the bird with the help of Salar Alam who had seen the bird a little while before we arrived.

       It is only the fourth record for this species in Michigan, but the first since 2004 and the first in the lower peninsula.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Time for a Chat 5/10/22


    A Yellow-breasted Chat found its way into my yard this morning and set off a daylong game of hide and seek.  Brian Brosky and I first spied the bird at 10:41 am, and while the last sighting was over 8 hours later the total time that the bird was visible could have been less than a minute.  At one point it was not seen for four hours only to be relocated in the exact location it had been last seen.

  This is only the second time a Yellow-breasted Chat has been seen in Mason County.  The previous sighting by Ethel Getgood occurred on May 18, 1974. Of course this represents a new species for the yard list, number 184.  It is also the 140th species that I've seen here this year and the 100th this month.

Other birds of interest since the last post....

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Forster's Tern 

Blue-headed Vireo

Nashville Warbler

Orchard Oriole

Indigo Bunting

Baltimore Oriole

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Western Tanager, Hamlin Lake 5/5/2022


     Around noon today Randy Dougherty noticed a Western Tanager on the feeders at his Hamlin Lake home. Word of the discover got to me through a text from Brian Brosky.  Travelling from different parts of the county Brian and I arrived at the same time at Randy's house. Though not initially present it showed up a few minutes later just as the Wilson brothers (Benjamin, Levi and Thaddeus) got on site.

  This is only the second recorded visit to Mason County for this species. 

Monday, May 2, 2022

Raptor Migration 4/28-29/2022

    On Thursday and Friday more than 100 raptors were seen migrating over my property.  More than half were Turkey Vultures but 51 others represented 9 species.  The first Broad-wingeds of the year were seen....
  ...which included a dark morph seen below.

Immature Red-shouldered Hawk


Molting Red-tailed

An Osprey brought its own lunch

  The usually speedy Peregrine Falcon slowed to do a few spins over the yard.

Another Rough-legged on Friday

A Cooper's Hawk probably not migrating

   The Bald Eagles below were not migrating either but the lead bird appears to have found a place for one stop shopping as it is carrying tattered fish remains and nesting material.

   Stay tuned for updates on these eagles because they appear to be repeating the behavior that I saw from them last year where one would fly north empty-handed, then a short while later fly south with a fish in its grasp. I suspect that there is a nest a little to the south of me. 

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Pelicans and So Much More 4/23/2022


  A busy bird day was expected Saturday with southerly winds aiding migration in the preceding overnight. While searching for new arrivals in the front yard I noticed two huge white birds over the lake about to disappear behind the neighbor's trees.  I took off in a sprint to the backyard waterfront and was able to get a few photos of a pair of American White Pelicans meandering southward. They are the 101st species that I've seen from home so far this year.  Last year I didn't hit 100 until May 2.

  Other new arrivals for the year were

Palm Warbler

Bank Swallow

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

  Also a couple of House Wrens were heard and seen but wouldn't pose for the camera. They brought my yard total for the year to 104.  As I was processing the images in the late afternoon I received a text from Brian Brosky about a Cattle Egret found by Brendan Klick in Grant Twp.  Needing that bird for my Mason County list I grabbed the camera and headed out to Townline Rd where the egret was of course, hanging out with cattle.

  After locating and photographing the bird, I checked the Mason-Manistee-Oceana County Bird Chat on Discord and saw that Brendan Klick also found a Wilson's Phalarope just a mile south of the egret on Beyer Rd.  I was there within a couple minutes and was able to get some distant shots of the phalarope.

  The phalarope is also a first for me in the county. My county list is at 252.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

King Eider Ludington Harbor 4/20/2022

  Mason County birding is on fire.  For the second time in a week a county first has been found.  Over the weekend Donna and John Haack found a Yellow-crowned Night Heron and yesterday Grand Rapids area birder Steve Minard found a King Eider just north of the north breakwall of Ludington Harbor. 

  Just before 1 pm I received a call from Brian Brosky relaying Steve Minard's discovery. As quickly as I could, I headed out to the north pier where Brian had already relocated the arctic duck.  The bird was somewhat cooperative as it provided an array of activity all within a relatively short distance of the pier.


Shaking off water


  With the peak of the spring migration coming in the next few weeks let's hope the county's hot streak continues.