Monday, May 23, 2011

Eastern Bluebird recovering from the Storm...

Thundershowers moved through the area today.... I was home doing some office work and looked outside to see this Eastern Bluebird recovering from the high wind and rain that had just hit.... he stayed on the Playscape until he dried off a bit and he was off..... click to enlarge...

Cool looking Frog...

This little Gray Tree Frog visited my neighbors house yesterday.... Just sat around and we all got a good look at him before he jumped and was gone.... click to enlarge....

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Why I shoot Raw instead of JPEG

Two photos.. first photo is an untouched raw image... just as it came off of my memory card and coverted to jpeg without any tweeking... the second is a raw image with some minor sharpening, noise reduction and light adjusting....

raw digital negative
raw image with small corrections with sharpening and noise reduction and lighting

Migration slowing down

This was probably my last weekend I will spend looking for Neomigrants... I dont like it at the end of May when the leaves are out and I cant see anything... its time to switch over to butterfly's and dragonflies... I am currently building a butterfly garden.... I moved 10 yards of top soil yesterday.... luckily I got out to metro first and got lucky and photographed a Lincoln's sparrow.... cool little sparrows that skulk around.... 10 species of Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Hermit, Swainsons Thrush and one Veery.... Nothing spectacular....

Lincoln Sparrow
Magnolia Warbler
Rough-winged Swallow

Green Frog

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Stoney Creek - Pileated Woodpecker and Struttin Turkeys

On 26 mile Rd today I noticed a Truck pulled over and the driver staring at something on the side of the road.... As I drove nearer, I see this big Tom Wild Turkey in full display.... He was funny... He couldn't care less who was watching him.... He kept turning his back side to me and showing me his feathers.... a couple of Hens stood by.....

I also found a Pileated Woodpecker on the West Branch Trail of Stoney Creek Metropark... First time I have seen them in the park.... He was at the base of tree and pounding so loud it sounded like someone taking a sludge hammer to wood.... I slowly sneaked up on him in the rain and was able to snap a couple of picks through the underbrush until he noticed me sliding down the ravine.... I also walked on the trail where I know Acadian Flycatchers nest.... It didn't take long before the familiar PitSee!! could be heard.... I found him after a few minutes and with some quiet stalking got near enough to snap a couple of picks.... Wish I had better ones of his belly, but I like the wingbars.... A Scarlet Tanager foraged nearby and was eating insects on a log as well as a few other migrants....

Tom - Wild Turkey

Scarlet Tanager eating Beatle

Scarlet Tanager
Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker
Acadian Flycatcher

Great Crested Flycatcher

Swainsons Thrush

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Indigo Buntings finally arrive in numbers

I have been wondering where my Indigo Buntings are... They are a little late arriving this year.. They typically signal the peak of migration in my area and thus, its peaking... I still expect this weekend to be full of migrants at Metrobeach... Got a couple of pics tonite including a nice Catbird posing for me and a little Nashville Warber who would not sit still and thus I have a soft photo, but a photo none the less....

Saturday, May 14, 2011

48hr Birdathon - Final checklist 147 species

Blue-headed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Philadelphia Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Horned Lark
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Sedge Wren
Marsh Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Swainson's thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Blue-winged Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Black-Thr Blue Warbler
Yellow-Rumped Warbler
Black Thr Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Pine Warbler
Palm Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
Black and White Warbler
American Redstart
Prothonotary Warbler
Connecticut Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
Wilsons Warbler
Canada Warbler
Summer Tanager
Scarlet Tanager
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White Thr Sparrow
White Crowned Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Blue Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
House finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow
Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Trumpeter Swan
Wood Duck
American Wigeon
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Green-winged Teal
Greater Scaup
Ruddy Duck
Ring necked Pheasant
Wild Turkey
Pied-billed Grebe
American White Pelican
Double crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Virginia Rail
Common Morehen
American Coot
Semipalmated Plover
Spotted Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Pectoral Sanpiper
Long-billed Dowitcher
American Woodcock
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Caspian Tern
Black tern
Foresters Tern
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Eastern Screech Owl
Great Horned Owl
Common Nighthawk
Chimney Swift
Belted Kingfisher
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood Pewee
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Pheobe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird

48hr Birdathon - Magee Marsh/Crane Creek/Ottawa/Mertzer and surrounding area

Our plan was to spend the afternoon birding this area, go owling in the evening and then spend the morning cleaning up the list for what we didn't find.... Unfortunately, the plan did not go as well as expected. I got a call from the Mrs. and was informed that our daughter was in the hospital and going to need emergency surgery. So at 330am I got in my car and left so I missed this morning of birding. Only 3 more species were found that we didn't have so I was not that upset, and it is my daughter... so no big deal.

Our arrival at crane creek on Friday was amazing. We walked to the entrance of the boardwalk and were immediately engulfed by a storm of Warblers. They were everywhere... It was so cool... and this was at 4pm... yes, 4pm..... We added Bay-Breasted, Prothonotary, Connecticut, Mourning, and Cerulean to our already impressive list of Warblers. A Canada Warbler was found on a thicket near the beach.

At Ottawa we found a pair of Trumpeter Swans. In a field near Metzger Marsh there was a large group of Sandpipers. Semipalmated Plover, Long-billed Dowitcher, Least Sandpiper and Dunlin made up this large group. In the evening we headed into Magee when it was dark and called in an Eastern Screech Owl. Also found a Carolina Wren on a side road calling... last bird of the day for me was a Common Nighthawk, flying around town in the middle of the night.

48hr Birdathon - Oak Openings Preserve

I chose this sight as one of the designations for my count because of its unusual "plains" type of habitat and the species that breed there. Our target birds were Lark Sparrow, Summer Tanager and Blue Grosbeak... All were seen within the first 15min in the park. The Lark Sparrows are friendly and easily found foraging near the road. The Summer Tanagers were everywhere. One Blue Grosbeak was seen. Red-headed Woodpeckers were abundant..... we only spent about an hour at the park and then headed to Magee Marsh...

48 hr Birdathon Point Mouillee

This is the first year birding the Marsh at Pointe Mouillee SGA... Its an amazing place and its friggen huge... We had our Mountain Bikes and road about 12 miles as we covered 90 percent of the marsh... Highlights included Osprey, White Pelicans, Dunlin, Bald Eagle, Great Horned Owl, Virginia Rails, Black-crowned Night Herons, Common Morehen, Northern Harrier, multiple Marsh ducks and Teals, Pectoral Sandpiper, Caspian Terns and Bank Swallows...

It was a workout but worth it as our list grew over 100+ birds.  Next stop Oak Opening Preserve south of Toledo

48 hr Birdathon: Poronto's house

Target birds for this location were Solitary Sandpiper, Wilsons Snipe and Woodcock... No snipe was found, but one Solitary Sandpiper was flushed and at Dusk the Woodcock could be heard... Rough-winged Swallows and Barn Swallows were recorded near the river... Slow birding at the end of the day, but a total of 80 species had been recorded....

Tomorrow morning Pointe Mouillee.....

48 birdathon... Wetzel State Park

We arrived at Wetzel around 4pm... it was getting hot and muggy.. Our target species were Sedge Wren and Clay Colored Sparrows. We found the Clay Colored Sparrows right away... multiple birds buzzing south of the parking lot.. The Sedge wren was located not far from the Clay Colored Sparrow, in some tall grassy area... It sang several times... We birded the ponds and picked up our first Double-crested Cormorant, Wood Duck, Bufflehead and Pied-billed Grebe. Multiple Bobolinks were seen in the fields surrounding the ponds. Yellow warblers were everywhere and 1 Palm Warbler was found near the parking lot...

Finished here, off to area behind my home...

48 hr birdathon begins... first stop... Port Huron SGA

Team Poronto (ok, another birder and I) began our birding count on Thursday at 1pm... Port Huron SGA.. not too far off of I-69... Great start... I love this location. reminds me of up north... a river winding thru the woods with hilly ridges and pines and wet thickets... Perfect..

We saw Blue-winged Warblers, Pine Warblers, Hooded Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Wilson Warbler, Wood Thrush, Great Crested Flycatchers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks... a great start...

Before heading to Port Huron we stopped at the Macomb Twp Recreation Center where a huge colony 200+ Cliff Swallows are nesting....

Done at this location it was onto our next spot.... Wetzel State Park in New Haven.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

48hr Birdathon

It starts at noon today.... Michigan and Ohio.... Crane Creek, Pointe Mouillee, Oak Openings, Port Huron SGA and Wetzel.... goal: 135 species....... will update...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Visit from some Bobolinks

While I was getting my youngest child ready for school, I heard a familiar metallic sounding song... Every Spring I get a few Bobolinks moving thru.... they never nest near the house, but just stop to refuel on there journey to whereever. I only saw them for 30 seconds and they did not pose for pics very well.... mostly walked in the long grass in the field on our property line.... still one of my favorite songs... I also got a visit to the feeders this morning by Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal.... They NEVER come to my feeders, (no habitat) so I was suprised to see them.....

No time for birding today, very busy.... Look forward to this weekend when I will be birding almost 3 days straight.....

Bobolink (looking away of course)

Mr. and Mrs. Northern Cardinal

Sunrise this morning as the storm passed thru

Monday, May 9, 2011

Port Huron SGA

Took a quick run out to Port Huron SGA today... this gem of an area is in the middle of farm country.... Its best location in Southeastern michigan for breeding Hooded Warblers, Golden-winged Warblers and a few other cool species...

Its best in the first week of June when the mosquitoes are thick.... I still managed Pine Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Black thr Green Warbler, Ovenbird, Black and White Warbler, Canada Warbler, Ceurelean Warbler, Wood Thrush, Scarlet Tanager, Rose breasted Grosbeak and Veery..... All within an hour.... as Arnold once said, "I'll be back"........

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Clay Colored Sparrow

I went looking for the Clay Colored Sparrow that I had heard was nesting at Wetzel SGA in Macomb County... As I made my way up the trail, south of the parking lot off of 27 mile road, it didn't take long to hear them.. there call is very soft... and it does not carry long distances like a Savannah.... if you were talking you could miss it... they were pretty friendly, popped up on a bush to see who was sneaking thru their area, and then got bored of me and left... not before I snapped a pick.... also shot a few photos in the pond.... great lighting at day break... I was there at 0645.... click to enlarge

Clay Colored Sparrow

American Coot

Blue-winged Teal

Green Heron

Saturday, May 7, 2011

MetroBeach Spring count

I helped out today with Metrobeach spring bird count... Birded the area behind the Nature center for about 3 hours. 63 species. Migration has picked up and hopefully will peak on time next weekend. Highlights of day below.
Least Bittern
Northern Harrier
Lincolns Sparrow
Red-headed Woodpecker
Blue-headed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Palm Warbler
Black and White Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Waterthrush
Common Yellowthroat
Wilson's Warbler

Golden-winged Warbler and Yellow Breasted Chat were also seen by other observers. Least Bittern was calling in the South Marsh....

Now home and getting on that Honey Do list.... Poronto out!! 

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Black and White Warbler on the ground?

Great Blue Heron - didnt care that we were watching

American Redstart

White Crowned Sparrow

Friday, May 6, 2011

Migration is starting to kick in......

I noticed an influx of new birds today... I had Blue-winged Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Black Throated Green Warbler, Great Crested Flycatcher, Scarlet Tanager and Bobolink.... it rained all morning and I was working in Port Huron... by afternoon the sun began to peak and I was able to get into the woods at the end of the work day. I chose Wolcott Mills today.... I love this park... very cool habitat... very good place for Pileated Woodpeckers in Macomb County... I heard one today although I was unable to get any glass on it... the Bobolink calls from the field across from the entrance to the park. Eastern Meadowlarks can also be seen and heard from this location. I watched and photographed an awesome Scarlet Tanager on the trail near the Mill.... it was very curious and came down to peak at me as I whistled at it.... all in all a good day for a quick trip in the woods. I also managed to photograph a pair of Spring Azure butterflies hooked together.... they were everywhere on the trails.... headed to metro in the morning.... click to enlarge
Blue-winged Warbler

Scarlet Tanager

Spring Azure
Blue Gray Gnatcatcher

Oh Sam Pebody

Almost got caught in this storm... photo from my yard

Thursday, May 5, 2011

No time for serious birding... just a walk behind the house

Took a walk behind the house at 730pm tonight.... Still very wet.... ponds are more full than I have seen them in the last couple of years... I don't mind because by July 1st, most wet areas will be dried up and there will be no more shorebirds... I saw a couple of Solitary Sandpipers (they nest here), several Spotted Sandpipers (also a nester), a pair of Northern Shovelors, tons of Savannah Sparrows, a Wilsons Snipe and one Woodcock... Still slow for spring migrants....

The pair of Tree Swallows nesting in my Bluebird house are about to lay eggs... She has been building the nest for over a week and it is now lined with feathers...The Male stands guard over the house from the top of my children's play scape.... When I peaked in the box tonight, she was not to happy with me and almost pecked my head... then she sat right on top of the box at just over 6 feet away.... They are very protective.... Cowbirds have been hanging out near the box for several days and I will be curious if they try to take advantage of the nest and lay there own eggs... we will to enlarge..
Savannah Sparrow

Northern Shoveler

Solitary Sandpiper

Solitary Sandpiper

Mr. Tree Swallow

Mrs. Tree Swallow