Monday, January 30, 2012

Red-breasted Nuthatch.... on the lookout...

I saw Brian McGee and his daughter at Stoney Creek Nature Ctr on Saturday... I was looking for a Pine Siskin... We parted ways and later on I got an email from Brian telling me that his daughter and he found Red-breasted Nuthatches on the Nature Ctr Rd by the bridge near before the Osprey trail parking lot... so today I took a quick run by there because I did not have a Red-breasted Nuthatch on my County list for the year yet.. As I drove near the pines beyond the bridge I had my windows down... I did not hear one calling, but I spied a little guy sitting on the very top of a tall pine... I grabbed my binoculars thinking that it was probably a Goldfinch or some other small bird, and then I realized it was the Red-breasted Nuthatch (68) I was looking for... got a quick shot with the camera before the RBNU took off... photo is fuzzy but it made me laugh to think what this Nuthatch was looking at...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Finally a Pine Siskin.....

Birded at Stoney Creek Metropark today... My plan was to start at the Nature Ctr and look for Pine Siskins (66) in the feeder... they have been seen there on a regualar basis, but I have missed them... Not today... it took about 10 minutes and they showed up.... I shot a photo thru the Glass....
next I headed for the East lake trails.. these go behind the Osprey trails... years ago it was called the "special nature study area".... I love this area... not birded often, but really great habitat with a mix of pine, hardwood and thick scrubby area.... This has been the best place in Macomb County IMO to find Ruffed Grouse.... I headed down the ABCD trail... it forks and if you follow the thinner trail to the right that will eventually lead you up into the pines bordering the lake, you may flush a grouse.... before the trail begins to climb there is a thick nasty area... reminds me of Northern Michigan... I walked along the path, and listened for drumming or any other call notes... nothing... after 20 minutes I played a grouse distress call and boom!! a Ruffed Grouse (67) flushed!! I love the sound of a grouse flushing in the woods... There are not many in the park, but they can be found with patience..... all other birds seen were the usuals, although I found 3 Northern Flickers.... thats 6 Flickers since Jan 1.... with the mild winter, they have really been hanging around.....

Thursday, January 26, 2012

White-Winged Crossbills at Indian Springs Metropark

I worked in Waterford today, and I got to the office 20 minutes early... so I took the opportunity to take a run over to Indian Springs Metropark to see if the White-Winged Crossbills were hanging around in the Tamarack pines behind the park office... and sure enough they were there.... I only had time to take a few snap shots and jump back into the car... Unfortunatly shooting at birds against a gray sky is not the best for clarity and color, but it was still very cool seeing the birds... as the photos show, they are feeding on the cones in the Tamarack, and they were not shy...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Merlin.... having some lunch...

While driving down Schoenherr today south of 28 mile rd I noticed a hawk sitting on a pole eating some lunch... stopped, pulled out the camera and shot a couple of pics from the car window.... A nice Merlin!!  it never budged and I had to get going, so I posted a couple of the photos from my car window....

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Early Morning before work....

Took a quick run to Stoney Creek Metropark at day break for a trip around the lake... Most of it is frozen but the open area near the North Dam had a few Mute Swans, 20 Mallards and 4 Ring-necked Duck (64)... They were weary of me and never got too close for a good photo... While I was standing there a Bald Eagle flew over... its very cool that there presence on the lake is "no big deal" anymore (the eagles)... I see them on a regular basis during the winter.... At the nature center I took a quick look at the feeders... still don't have Pine Sisken for the year.... as I was leaving a Pileated Woodpecker (65) called loudly from the Habitat trail... I could hear him hammering away on a tree.... I didn't have time to photograph him.... work was calling so I took off.... Another day, another time...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron (63) flew behind my house today..... no time to bird, but I looked out and it was heading to the pond.....

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Trek behind the house.... love fresh snow

It snowed about 3 inches in my area of Macomb County last night... I took the opportunity to take a hike in the area behind my house. As some of you who follow my blog know, this area used to be a golf course... with the bad economy the property went back to the bank and it is up for sale.... its a nice mixture of small ponds, a river (branch of the clinton river) 90 percent fields and strips of trees and pines... I found the largest flock of Tree Sparrows I have seen in awhile.... I would estimate 75 to 100 of them... it was really interesting because I played the song of the Common Redpoll on my phone... I was just reviewing the call notes in case I came in contact with them.... The Tree Sparrows flew out of the Marsh and into the trees around me... they were all calling and were very interested in my behavior... really interesting... Nothing more to see except 3 Red-tailed Hawks, 50 Juncos, Downy Woodpecker and a dozen Goldfinch... I heard a Coopers Hawk call and Blue Jays were chaising him as he darted thru the woods... Found a couple sets of Fox tracks... just no fox.... I looked for one, but I guess you could say I was out foxed....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snowy Owl... boring....

I saw one of the Snowy Owls today on top of Lands End Marina in Harrison Township near the DNR station on South River Road... I had to laugh because when I saw it I was thinking to myself, big deal.... How spoiled we have all been this winter that so many Owls have decided to make Michigan their winter home... It is a special year.... I looked for the American Pipit on the beach at Metro, but it was not there... I had heard that the Purple Sandpipers were spotted in the AM, but I did not see them nor did the other birders that were out at Huron Pointe.... Waterfowl were plentiful in the lake and I added  my 62 specie on my county list for the year with a Ruddy Duck... Snow Buntings were still present on the beach and there was a big flock of Tree Sparrows near the day sail.... 5 Tundra Swans were off the day sail and surprisingly very vocal early in the morning.... It was a "long Johns" kind of a morning.... super cold, but no wind....
Snowy Owl

Tree Sparrow

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Purple Sandpipers Metrobeach

Stopped at Metrobeach today. I only had 30 minutes, but I found the Pair of Purple Sandpipers quickly. This is a lifer for me and number 61 on my county list for the year.. I still need to find the American Pipit that was seen a couple days ago... Thick fog so unfortunatly no photos....

Monday, January 16, 2012

Macomb County List.... need a few over the next couple of months

I was going over my list of birds that I must see over the next couple of months for my county list... Rough-legged Hawk, Common Redpoll, Pine Sisken and White-winged Crossbill to to name a few... oh, and why we are at it, Bohemian Waxwings, Pine Grosbeak and a scoter or two would be nice..... LOL!! 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Purple Sandpiper NO, Lapland Longspur and Snow Bunting Yes

Went to Metrobeach today to look for the Purple Sandpiper that was seen this morning.. No luck.... There were plenty of Scaup, Bufflehead, Canvasback, and one Red-breasted Merganser(new 2012) near the point... and down the canal... I did get lucky on the way back to my car and intercept a flock of Snow Buntings(new 2012) and Lapland Longspurs (new 2012) as they were coming in from over the lake to the beach... They landed in a tree in the grassy area next to the beach and took turns flying to the grass below the tree and feeding.... Kinda of odd because I don't usually see them sitting in a tree... Not the best lighting for pictures, but I was glad to get a few.... click to enlarge..  MC list at 60

Red-breasted Merganser

Lesser Scaup

Mr and Mrs Scaup
Lapland Longspurs and Snow Buntings

Lapland Longspur and Snow Buntings

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Nice day, but didn't see much - Wolcott Mills

Took an hour long walk at Wolcott this evening as the sun was sinking fast... I can't believe how early it gets dark... No Pileated Woodpecker seen or heard... other than a ton of Eastern Bluebirds feeding on the Sumac, there wasn't much around... In the tall pines near the parking lot and the power lines, a flock of Brown Creepers were feeding... the weird part was that many times I see them in mixed flocks with Black-capped Chickadees and Nuthatches, but these were all by themselves... I managed to snap one picture before it got too dark...

Next goal.... Pileated Woodpecker

my quest for my county list will next put me on the hunt for this awesomest of woodpeckers.... I actually know a couple of areas that I have seen them, but the money spot is just over the boarder in Oakland County.... I am thinking of walking after work today at Wolcott Mill Metropark.... I have seen them along the creek bottom and in the woods near the Mill...... Wolcott also has one of the largest populations of Eastern Towhee around, and I am thinking that maybe one of those guys are still hanging around with the mild start to winter.... so its on to Wolcott next.... MC list stuck at 55

Monday, January 9, 2012

Great Gray Owl - so tame I'm not sure its not someone's pet!! :)

Had to be in Windsor early for some business and figured I would run up the road and see this Great Gray Owl that everyone is talking about... This is a lifer for me and I was pretty excited to see it... It was no longer on Mccain Side Rd but rather off of 2 rd.. near the corner... only about 40 people were there to see the owl... it was right off of the Side of the Road and could have cared less who was watching it... people were respectful and surprisingly quiet... all except the Police who were yelling at people to get out of the way of traffic.... Any ways, great bird.... incredible actually!!!!! click to enlarge

10 seconds after this photo police asked over loud speaker to get off road

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunny Day and Good Birding.... Northern Shrike at Wetzel State Park

I decided to take a long walk today and burn off some of those holiday lbs... I got ready to leave to head to Wetzel State Park and looked out in the yard... The birds have been hammering away at the feeders and I noticed that they were low.... when all of a sudden, whoosh, the birds are gone.... There is usually about a 30 second delay before Mr. Cooper shows up..... as you can see by the photo, he doesn't use a very complicated approach when looking for lunch.... he patiently waits, and is usually rewarded when one of the impatient birds shows up in the brush pile behind the feeder.... click on photos to enlarge

Shot the picture thru the window

After taking care of the feeders, I headed to Wetzel State Park which is located in New Haven, Macomb County.

The hiking was wet and muddy but worth it... after a slow start I was standing almost knee deep in water in some cattails when I see a hawk leave its perch and take off.... at first I thought maybe I will be lucky and it will be a Northern Harrier... as I got my binoculars up, I realized that it was a Red-shouldered Hawk... cool bird.. After fuddling around with dropping binoculars and trying to get camera up and move to an open area so I could photograph the hawk, it was already high up and soaring... I managed a couple of pics at a very long distance.... these are majorally cropped....

I decided to head in the direction of the Red-shouldered Hawk so I could get some better photos... However, that got side lined by my next bird.... as I moved around the frozen Pond, and was trying to get thru the wet grass, I spied a bird sitting high up in a tree..... I knew immediately that I had a Northern Shrike... I lucked out and had one in my yard last winter and photographed it in my feeder, but this one made me happy because I worked hard for it. It was pretty tame as I slowly walked toward it and snapped a few photos before it flew off.... In addition to the Shrike and the Red-Shouldered Hawk I had a Northern Flicker, Tree Sparrows and a Song Sparrow... MC list at 55...

Stoney Creek Eastwood Beach

Large group of Gulls on the ice in ctr of the lake... most of them are Herring and Ring-billed... However, today there were 8 Great Black-backed Gulls(new to county list 2012) in with the group..  In the open water near Baypoint Beach there was Trumpeter Swans, Mute Swans, large flock of Canada Geese, and half dozen Common Goldeneyes and 2 Redhead (new to county list 2012).... Thats all I had time for... on way home I checked out the farm fields along 27 and 28 mile rd and no buntings or larks were spotted, but I did find one Red-tailed Hawk and 1 American Kestrel... MC list 52

Friday, January 6, 2012

Green-winged Teal Stoney Creek

Found a pair of Green-winged Teal at Stoney Creek today in the open water... there were also a couple dozen common mergansers, tons of Canada Geese and 2 Cackling Geese and a bunch of Ring-billed and Herring Gulls... Someone reported 2 Great Black-backed Gulls but I did not see them.... I found a Horned Lark on the Beach.. The Osprey Trail was quiet but I did manage to find a Brown Creeper..... MC list 50.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Northern Flicker and Bald Eagles

I had a Northern Flicker on the way to Stoney Creek today at 27 mi rd and Tiller... At stoney the lake was mostly frozen over... the only open spot in the middle had a large flock of Canada Geese and over a dozen swans... I scoped the swans and could not tell from the long distance with certainty that they were all Trumpeters and Mutes... a pair of Bald Eagles could be seen sitting on a dead tree across the water/ice from Eastwood beach... They were a long way off but could easily be found with a scope..... MC list 47

Big Bird that flew over

Wasn't kidding when I said a scope was needed

only open water on lake

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tree Sparrows

Large flock of tree sparrows behind the house today... approx 20.... I heard that there was a Northern Shrike at Stoney Creek Nature Ctr.... I will be looking for that this week.... MC list 46

Monday, January 2, 2012

Stoney today....

Today I chose Stoney as my birding spot... on the way there I spotted a Sharp-shinned hawk munching on a sparrow on 28mi rd near Wolcott Rd... There also was a large flock of Wild Turkeys at Kuntsman and 29 mi on the Air Strip.... Stoney had a large raft of Common Mergansers... I would estimate 2000... there were also Common Goldeneye and a couple of Hooded Mergansers... I also saw Tundra and Trumpeter swans near the Baypointe beach side... An Imm Bald Eagle soared above the lake near the North Bridge where a group of 8 Hooded Mergansers floated by... The cool bird of the day was a Red-headed Woodpecker that flew right in front of my Jeep on the road to the Nature Center, near the Osprey Trail.... I found that the best place to scope the waterfowl today was at the Southdale Picnic Area.....climb down the hill and right on the shoreline I was directly across from most of the ducks.... The feeders were active at the nature center with many Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Dark-eyed Juncos, White-breasted Nuthatch and one Hairy Woodpecker....   MC list at 45....

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Great Start for 2012

My Macomb County list got off to a great start today.... I left my house at 10am and headed toward Metrobeach (sorry, Lake St. Clair park... yuck).. along the way I glassed the fields from my house, along 25 mile rd to hall Rd, down I94 to Metroparkway and then headed toward the park...

First on my agenda was to find one of the Snowy Owls... This was fairly easy as it was already found by other birders at the DNR station on South River Rd... It was sitting along the rock out-cropping near the Marina... I hopped out of my car, looked thru their scope and there it was... a Juvenile Snowy Owl...  I bumped into Tom Heatly there and we scoped the lake near the station... There was a large raft of waterfowl... Common Mergansers, Canvasbacks, Lesser Scaups, Buffleheads and Common Goldeneyes were plentiful...  In addition to those were a single coot, a Red-breasted Merganser and a few Gadwall...  while walking back to our vehicles a Coopers Hawk soared by... a nice looking Adult...

I headed over to Metrobeach from there. Tom and I were going to walk to the point and scope Lake St. Clair... Tom had seen a Merlin a day or two before in some trees near the parking lot, and when we got out, he scoped them from a distance, and the Merlin was sitting right there... waiting for us... its probably the same bird that I photographed a few weeks earlier, as it has been seen by several people since then.  The wind was picking up but we decided to keep walking... once we reached the lake we saw a group of 4 small gulls fly by... Bonaparte Gulls... sweet.... as we neared the tip, 3 Long-tailed Ducks came flying in and landed in the lake, only 20 yards from shore...  by this time it was nearly 1PM and the wind was really picking up... so I headed for the car.... Thinking I was done for the day, I headed for the exit.... Nope, one last good bird to see... Over the North Marsh an Adult Bald Eagle came soaring by..... what a great way to end my first day of birding for 2012....  32 Species on the day... a nice start to my Macomb County list for 2012...