Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Golden Eagle

  The mostly sunny skies promised for the past two days never quite materialized. Today's gloomy start  prompted me to ditch my morning plans to go to the Lake Erie Metropark (LEMP)  Hawkwatch.  In the afternoon, the clouds hinted at breaking up and the noon infrared radar showed clearing in Ohio possibly heading northward. So, I decided to give it a go.  I arrived shortly after 2pm at the LEMP boat launch to find only Jonathan Stein, the official hawk counter.  A lackluster morning at the count site must have convinced the morning hawkwatchers that the day was going to be a bust. Well I certainly lucked out because within 10 minutes of my arrival, Jonathan spotted a Golden Eagle headed right overhead into the only clear patch of sky.  I was able to fire off a few photos of it as it passed over.  

Golden Eagle

The reason I go to Hawkwatch

    The breaks in the clouds got fewer and smaller until the sky was 100% clouded over in the meantime 3 more Goldens flew by and steady flow of Red-tailed Hawks kept us scanning the skies for the next hour and a half. 

   Here are some photos I took yesterday at LEMP Hawkwatch

Turkey Vulture

Not a fan of Proposal 3
Red-tailed Hawk
Bonaparte's Gull preparing to dive
Coming up empty
  For more information on Bonaparte's Gulls check out Paul Cypher's blog from yesterday.....http://birdsbrewsandblither.blogspot.com/ . 

     Here are some photos that I took in my yard yesterday morning.
One of a pair of Pine Siskins that passed through.
Blue Jay close-up

Half a peanut wedged between a zip-tie, the TV cable and the slab of our backroom
   Q.  Who would wedge a peanut in the location shown in the photo above?   

   A.  This guy(girl).

Red-breasted Nuthatch

   If the Red-breasted Nuthatch is hiding peanuts around the yard does that mean it's planning on staying for a while?   Hope so.  Last winter (more accurately non-breeding season September- May) I had Red-Breasted Nuthatches only 5 days.  This season they've already visited the yard on 21 days.  In the winter of 07-08 I had them on 77 days while the next year 08-09 they only showed up on 4 days. 

   Back on Sunday October 28, I saw an unusual bird fly over my yard.  I initially noticed the white wing patches visible when the wings were open and size of the bird much bigger than a House Sparrow and closer to the size of a Robin.  Luckily I had my camera out and was able to capture a series of lousy photographs of its backside as it flew off toward the north. 
mystery bird
     I checked the photos on the computer later that day and still had no idea what it was. I didn't think there was enough info in the photos to bother sending them to a real birder to analyze. In fact with the crazy weather that followed (that had me checking the Lake Erie shore for ocean birds), I forgot all about the bad photos of the unidentified bird. 
    One week later (this past Sunday), I'm reading several posts to the SE Michigan and Ontario, Canada listserves about reports of Evening Grosbeaks out of their normal winter haunts.  The reports had me googling images and sounds of the Grosbeaks.  Then I came across a flight photo of a female Evening Grosbeak and suddenly I remembered the bad photos of the mystery bird with the wing patches.   I quickly threw together the composite photo shown above and emailed it to a birding expert who will remain unnamed.  He said it looks like a Female Evening Grosbeak.  Evening Grosbeak in my yard.   I would throw an exclamation point in there but I've made one rule when I created this blog and that was keep this corner of the internet an exclamation point-free zone.  I speak to my dog in exclamation points.

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