Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last birding day of 2011.... Stoney Creek

Took my daily trip around the lake today by car... the lake that was frozen over a couple of days ago was mostly open water today... Most of the Waterfowl were in a part of the lake near Baypointe Beach that I did not have access too unless I hiked so I did not see much... there was a Large flock of Common Mergansers that were near the Bridge closest to the Nature center road....  tomorrow is the start of 2012... looking forward to starting my county list....

Friday, December 30, 2011

Port Huron - quick look

I was working in Port Huron today and took a quick run to the river... Not much underneath the bridge, so I ventured over to lakeside Park... A large group of gulls north of the park... Ring-billed, Herring and 8 Great Black-backed Gulls.... Long-tailed Ducks could be seen out in the lake... No Scoters... I didn't spend a ton of time there and the gulls were out of range of my lens....

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Snowy day at Stoney Creek Metropark

Most of the lake at Stoney Creek is frozen over as of this afternoon... there are a couple of open areas in the middle of the lake and all the gulls and waterfowl were enjoying this small area together.... It is too far for binoculars so I got out the scope... There were a couple dozen Common Mergansers, 6 Common Goldeneye, 4 Buffleheads, 2 Hooded Mergansers, Ring-billed and Herring Gulls, 6 Gadwall and a large group of Canada Geese.. I could not find any Bald Eagles today.... I also drove the farm land north of 26 mile road east of M53 and could not locate any Snow Buntings...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Birding Macomb County 2012...

I have never been much of a "lister" when it came to birding... I love birding and I enjoy seeing a wide assortment of species, but I am not one to chase them all over the state or country to achieve the next checkmark on my Life List.... However, I have tremendous respect for those who do... there are some great birders that I run into in the field that have amazing lists...

I have decided that for 2012 I am going to work on a Macomb County List for the first time and blog on what birds I see and where I see them.... Now that my children are older, I find that I now have more time to be in the field and I really am enjoying it.... So.... as Midnight hits on Jan 1, 2012.... I began my year long journey into becoming a lister for the first time..... it should be fun.....

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Bird Count

I couldnt make it to the tally of the Macomb Audobon Christmas Bird Count, but I spent the day birding... I went Owling with Barb Baldinger and we managed only one Great Horned Owl... In the am, I birded the 230 acres behind my house... Highlights included a Belted Kingfisher and a Northern Flicker... There were a good amount of Tree Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos and Am Goldfinches around... Only hawks were to Am Kestrels. The afternoon was spent driving around with Barb and Nancy in an area encompassing Macomb Twp... Birding was slow... We came upon one good pocket of Juncos, Tree Sparrows, Cowbirds, House Finches... in an Industrial complex... go figure.. 10 Red-tailed Hawks...  All in all a fun day, just not a ton of birds...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tons of cowbirds.... Not big news... But interesting..

Driving to East China today. As I was heading down 26mi RD, I saw a flock of Cowbirds numbering approx 500 birds.. I have never seen so many in the winter.....

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Bird Count - Macomb Audubon next weekend

I look forward to helping the Macomb chapter of the Audubon Society with their Christmas Bird count next weekend.. I did the count last year and had a really good time... My area will be a little different this time as I cover the area south of my home in Macomb township.... I will be out scouting this week, seeing what is around... I still have not seen any Snow Buntings in the farm fields surrounding my area... Last year there were a ton of buntings around... I even had them in my yard.... I usually set a remote camera up to scan my bird feeders for birds.... then I count them when it gets dark.... hopefully the weather cooperates....

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A day late - Stoney Creek update

At Stoney Creek Metropark yesterday there was a large amount of Hooded Mergansers near Baypointe beach... The Bald eagle could be seen sitting in a tree near the canoe rental.. a dozen Common Mergansers were on the water and of course the million coots are still present... Absent were the Ruddy Ducks that have been hanging out.... The Tundra and Trumpeter Swans were still present near Eastwood beach....    No time for pulling the ole camera out..... too bad, because the Hooded Mergansers were right by the shore.....

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tundra Swans - Stoney Creek Metropark

Took a drive around the lake today and found a dozen Tundra Swans at Eastwood Beach in the little bay there... They were fairly close to shore... I got a couple of photos... In addition there was a large flock of Canada Geese on the lawn in various sizes (for those who want to pick out a Cackling Goose)... Ring-billed Gulls and a few Herring Gulls near the beach.... 6 Common Goldeneye were out in the middle of the lake.. The Imm Bald Eagle that I photographed earlier in November was sitting on a nice perch near the south bridge.... I had one Belted Kingfisher at Winter Cove... click to enlarge

Correction: another birder pointed out to me in an email that the swans flying with the Mutes were actually Trumpeter Swans... I didn't pay close enough to the bills... I have included a side x side shot of two of the different species to point out what was pointed out to me... Thanks Cody!!
Tundra and Trumpeter swan

Imm Tundra with Adult

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Snowy Owls - Harrison Twp

After reading the reports on-line yesterday that two Snowy Owls were seen in Harrison Twp yesterday, I braved the rain and headed that way this morning... It did not take long to find them... I saw the two together across the Marina near Rays and the DNR station on the point... They were heading toward North River Rd... I headed that way and found one of the owls perched on an apartment roof near Selfridge Air force Base Golf Course entrance.... It was fairly approachable and I was able to get a couple of pics before the rain picked up to heavy to sit out there with my Camera..... to enlarge...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ruddy Ducks

This morning at daybreak there were about 3 Dozen Ruddy Ducks at Stoney Creek Metropark near the Mt. Vernon Picnic area.... I always forget how small these little guys are... Even the coots looked big compared to them... Large amounts of Canada Geese were present.... Scoped the lake for Loons and Grebes and none were present.....

Males were out aways from shore.. heavily cropped

Port Huron - Lighthouse Park and Lakeside Park

After reports surfaced of all three Scoter species and the little Gull in Port Huron I decided to take a trip to the river... I was working in Port Huron yesterday, so when my day ended I headed over to the water... I ran into a a fellow birder Jeremy that I met for the first time and we scoped the water off of the short of Lakeside Park... There is a Large group of Gulls there, although I did not locate the Little Gull... a few White-winged Scoters were scoped off of shore. There were some Common Mergansers and Bufflehead around... Large rafts of Long-tailed Ducks can be seen from the shore of Lighthouse Park...  While standing there scoping the ducks a huge flock 150+ of Snow Buntings came a shore and moved along the beach right in front of me... Very cool...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Stoney Creek... First Goldeneyes of the year..

Took a run around the lake today... First Goldeneyes of the year.... about 2 dozen of them on the lake... also a large flock of Hooded Mergansers near the north damn.... There was a large movement of Robins today... I would estimate at least 200 of them moving thru the park.... Noticeably absent were the Canada Geese...Not one to be seen in the park... There was also half a dozen bufflehead near the North Damn....

Friday, November 11, 2011

Feeders up and running at full capacity... Suprise!!! Hawks are coming around...

Immature Red-tailed Hawk has been sitting behind my feeders for about a week... I am not sure why since they dont normally chase after birds and I have no squirrels... I do have a ton of mice in the field and they are attracted to the fallen seed in my feeder station... who knows...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sandhill Crane - Stoney Creek

Two Sandhill Crane have been hanging at Stoney Creek for the last couple of days... I saw them on Wed night and they got spooked by a guy walking his dog and took off toward the golf course... Early morning today they were at Mt. Vernon Picnic Area near the canoe rental.... Very vocal.....

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

its getting Windy... if you dont believe me, ask this guy!!

Red-tailed Hawk near my subdivision today... he had his wings out and was facing into the wind... I stopped and shot a photo of him out my passenger side window....

Stoney Creek - Bald Eagle

Quick run to stoney creek. Bald Eagle across from Baypoint beach.. Watching over a flock of coots... 2 Common Loons on the lake. Canvasbacks and a couple of Ring-necked Ducks near south dam. 8 green winged teals at eastpointe beach. Snow Buntings +20 near road by Winter Cove.
Imm Bald Eagle

Monday, November 7, 2011

Merlin - Almost drove right by you!!

Took a run this morning to Metrobeach Metropark in Harrison Twp.. I was hoping to find the Northern Shrike that was seen a day earlier... I saw Tom Heatly at the North Marsh and he informed me that I had just missed the Shrike... Arrhgghh!!  I grabbed the camera and went looking for it with no luck... I decided to head over to the Day Sail and see what was on the water... As I drove along the road in front of the Nature Center, near the Restrooms, I glanced up into the tree and saw a bird sitting there... I slammed on my brakes as I nearly passed it and grabbed my binoculars... I thought it was a kestrel at first until I put my glass on it.... Low and behold it was a Merlin.... It sat on the branch and was preening itself... I took a couple of pics from the middle of the road until I figured out I was going to get a ticket... I slowly drove past it and parked... I managed to sneak around in front of the hawk and snapped a couple of pics before it headed toward the golf course.... Sweet!!  it made up for missing the Shrike... I worked in Port Huron today and headed over to the river to see what was  floating... Besides the many Bonaparte Gulls, I found a couple decent size flocks of Long-tailed Ducks North of the bridge...


Merlin (we were in a stare down contest)

I won

Shot from my car window in center of road
Bonaparte Gull

Long-tailed Duck (severely out of range for my lens)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pied-billed Grebe.... what was that?

Kinda of an uneventful day birding.... Took a run over to Stoney Creek Metropark... Didn't see much on the lake... A bunch of coots and a big flock of Canada Geese at Eastwood beach.... Some smaller geese, but I didn't feel comfortable calling any of them Cackling Goose.... While scoping the Geese, a pair of Pied-billed Grebes came close to shore and each one started flapping there wings rapidly... one at a time... then they swam away... Not sure what that was about but it was interesting to watch..... Feeders in my yard were going crazy today... Mostly Goldfinches, House Finches and Juncos.... Saw a few Tree Sparrows, but none ventured into the feeders...

Pied-billed Grebes

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Red-necked Grebe

I saw the reported Red-necked Grebe at Metrobeach today off of the day sail.... you will need a scope to see it well.... It dives frequently so patience is a must.... very cool bird!!  Too far for pictures.... :(

Snow Buntings - early arrival to Macomb County.... Oh oh, hope this isn't a sign of a bad winter!!

Looking for Ducks and the reported Sandhill Cranes at Stoney Creek Metropark today when I came upon 5 little Snow Buntings in the Mt. Vernon Picnic Area.... I could barely get out of the car with the camera when they took off flying toward the Winter Grove Picnic Area. only managed this one quick shot.... This is the earliest that I have seen them near my home in Macomb County in the fall, although I saw them in Northern Michigan a couple of weeks ago.... A pair of Horned Grebes were diving on the lake as well as a few Hooded Mergansers... Lots of Geese around..

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Stopped by Metro Beach this am right after sunrise

On my way to Wyandotte this AM I stopped at Metrobeach to scope the north marsh and check out the day sail.... a ton of coots in the North Marsh as well as N. Shoveler, 2 Wood Ducks, 3 Black Ducks, 4 Gadwalls and a couple of Mallards..   a huge flock of Bonaparte Gulls were at the day sail.... approx 40 birds could be seen off shore.....

Bird Feeders

The birds feeders are up and running... The Bushy pile of cottonwood trees and other assorted branches is rebuilt behind the feeder to provide some cover from the diving hawks.... Last year was quite entertaining as an immature Sharp-shinned hawk dive bombed the feeders in Nov and Dec, while the Coopers took over for the rest of the winter..... Hoping to get more than one Redpoll and one Pine Sisken this year....   I have been hearing and seeing an occasional Cardinal behind the house... Not much in the way of woods back there, but the cottonwoods along the drainage dish grew another 8ft since last year and they have been visiting. I would love to see some new color....

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Snow Geese - Stoney Creek Metropark

Took a quick drive around Stoney Creek Metropark this late afternoon after work.... Pulled into to Eastwood Beach and was looking at a group of Canada Goose and a Great Blue Heron working the shoreline.... was just getting ready to pull out when a group of 4 Snow Geese came in for a landing... It started to rain and they got out of the water with the Canada Geese.... I snuck up to them and got some photos before they figured out I was stalking them and they all flew back into the water..... I was glad to see the Juveniles as well as the Adults... Tried for a minute to turn them into Ross's Goose, but I couldn't.... Oh, well...... click to enlarge
Snow Goose x 4

I was spotted... fly away

bobbing in the bay

Monday, October 17, 2011

Common Mergansers... dont get to see them beached that often....

I was up north near Tawas this week... I was in pursuit of the elusive White-tailed Deer... (relax anti-hunters, I did not score... they are safe)... The guys and myself stayed in my Brothers cabin on Sand lake... I was not up north to bird, but I couldn't help myself to a couple of snapshots of a group of Common Mergansers that landed and rested for the day.... they took advantage of this small peninsula of sand until they got chased off by a flock of Canada Geese... I was intrigued by a few of them that had yellowish bellies... I usually see them in the water so I dont get to see them on land.... There also were a few Buffleheads that hung out in the bay for the week... It was a full moon and I managed a snapshot of a cool looking harvest moon.... Large flock of Juncos in one of the fields that I hunted... Winter is on the way!!! click to enlarge


Common Merganser

Common Merganser

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Getting the feeders ready for winter.... suprise Lincolns Sparrow visit

Getting my bird feeding station ready for winter yesterday.... I pulled up the annuals surrounding the feeder, put out my tray feeder... Plucked the heads from the few sunflowers I had and put them in the tray.... I back up to fields, so I always take some dead branches and small trees and make a makeshift  shelter for the birds to avoid diving hawks.... It took about 12 hours and my feeders were very active this morning and I dont even have them all out.... White-crowned Sparrows are moving thru the area as well as a few White-throated Sparrows.... Flocks of Redwinged Blackbirds are out in the fields surrounding the marshy areas and a couple of them came to visit the feeder.... I heard this low sounding singing coming from the island surrounding the feeders... I sat there quietly at the window and watched when a Lincoln Sparrow appeared below the tray feeder... He was quite the skalker and wasn't giving me many looks.... he kept following around a Song Sparrow, like they were buddies.... Never did get a high quality picture of him... I will try later... cool seeing one in migration...

Lincolns Sparrow and Song Sparrow

Lincoln Sparrow

White-Crowned Sparrow

White-Crowned Sparrow
Redwinged Blackbird

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Marsh Wren - doing the splits....

Took a quick run to Metrobeach to see what I could see along the beach... there is an area near the point where they have allowed the reeds and weeds to grow to form a barrier between the lake and the grass... its near the rocks.... I found a group of Marsh Wrens that were hanging out and resting as I am sure they were migrating... they were extremely curious and popped up to take a look at me.... I also spotted a Palm Warbler in the same area...... only shorebirds spotted were a Spotted Sandpiper... yes, I typed spotted a spotted sandpiper... I thought it was funny... :)      click on photo to enlarge
Marsh Wren

Marsh Wren

Marsh Wren

Marsh Wren

Palm Warbler
View from Metrobeach of Detroit