Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wilson's Phalarope and White-rumped Sandpiper

Lake St. Clair Metropark was the place to be today for shorebirds.... Ok, it aint Pointe Mouillee, but in Macomb County we take what we can get.... I got a call from Tom Heatley in the morning telling me about the Wilson's Phalarope (206) on the beach.... I headed out there before work and was able to see it, but unable to get a photo as it took off with a few Dunlin as I approached... I was not able to relocate it, but Wayne Hoch was kind enough to send me a couple of photos of it for the blog.... In addition to the Phalarope there were Semipalmated Sandpipers, Semipalmated Plover, Dunlin and later in the day a White-rumped Sandpiper (207) working the beach.... I was able to stop by after work and see the White-rumped Sandpiper.... a friendly little guy....  click to enlarge...
Wilson's Phalarope

White-rumped Sandpiper

White-rumped Sandpiper

White-rumped Sandpiper

White-rumped Sandpiper

Bonaparte Gull

Dunlin and Semipalmated Sandpiper


I will miss Spring migration.... it was kind of a weird year.... birds came at strange times... in strange numbers.... The early warm weather made for some challenging birding with the thick leaf cover... Now its onward to look for breeding birds in the area.... Its also gonna be a great year for Butterflies and Dragonflies, so they are gonna be a focus for me.... I spent the summer of 2010 chasing insects around putting together an album on   this was pre blog days....

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Grasshoppers revisited...

Went back to see the Grasshopper Sparrows today.... I was with a few people yesterday and could not get close for any shots.... I went by myself and counted 3 individuals.... Still unable to get real close, but my shots were a little better.... cloudy weather doesn't make for bright shots, but I still had fun sneaking up on them and trying not to spook them out of the area....   Now, I need to find some Henslow's Sparrows in Macomb Twp...... click to enlarge

Monday, May 28, 2012

Grasshopper Sparrow and Yellow-billed Cuckoo... not a bad holiday

Got a call from Kevin this morning... I was still sleeping... Will Mchale (if your name is spelled wrong, I apologize) called him and told him that he found Grasshopper Sparrows (204) calling near Wolcott Metropark in the fields near the airstrip.... I headed that way and along with Will, Kevin, Barb Baldinger and Tom Heatley, we were all able to hear and see them.... very cool...

I got home and was barely there for 10 minutes when Kevin called and Tom and Barb had found a Yellow-Billed Cuckoo (205) at 28 and Teller.... It took awhile for Kevin and I to find it, but we  did and snapped a couple of photos..... Very cool bird....
Grasshoppper Sparrow

Grasshopper sparrow

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Wetzel - search for Olive-sided Flycatcher

Got a call from Kevin this morning that he had found an Olive-sided Flycatcher at Wetzel State Park at daybreak.... He was able to photograph the bird.... I headed there after work and found Tom Heatley also looking for the bird.... We looked hard, but no luck.... When I first pulled up in the parking lot off of 27 mi Rd, an Alder Flycatcher (203) was calling loudly nearby....  Willow Flycatchers are abundant throughout the park.... Fitz bew.... at every turn.... I also found a male Orchard Oriole at the parking lot woods.... I have seen more Orchard Orioles in Macomb County this year than any previous year.... at 5 different locations....  It is going to be a strong year for Butterfly enthusiasts.... I saw several Giant Swallowtails as well as several Eastern Comma and a Question Mark in the parking lot.... Dragonflies were plentiful as well.....

Tonite Kevin call me with a sighting of a Black-crowned Night Heron in Sterling Heights.... I headed to his location with no luck.... Yikes,  I need to start wearing my Rabbits foot.... click on photos to enlarge...

Giant Swallowtail

Question Mark

Question Mark

Widow Skimmer

Northern Flicker

Great Egret

Orchard Oriole

Friday, May 25, 2012

202 Species.... Goal met for year.. wait, plenty of year left!!

     A few days ago I saw a couple of Semipalmated Sandpipers (200) at the wetland area behind Wallmart on Hall Rd.... I realized after I came home today and looked thru my ebird that I had forgot to include the Willow Flycatcher that I had photographed on May 19th to my Ebird sightings... So that means that the Semipalmated Sandpipers that I thought were my 199th species were actually my 200th.... Ooops.... Today at Lake St. Clair Metropark I got my 201st of the year with a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher on the Meadow loop trail.... Kevin Rysiewski called me and told me that a couple of them had been seen in the park.... I got there this afternoon and Kevin was waiting for me.... He took me to the location  where he had seen it, and sure enough it was moving thru the trees near the entrance to the meadow... Sweet!!!  We then looked for the Yellow-breasted Chat that had been seen earlier in the day with  no luck.... On to the Service Rd where Kevin had seen a male Connecticut Warbler... We had no luck but we did manage to see a Canada Warbler and hear a Mourning Warbler call from the thickets near the end of the road... Above us I heard a Vireo calling.... Sweet!! A Philadelphia Vireo (202) calling from the tree tops.... He moved back and forth in the cottonwoods and finally bolted out of sight.....  On the way out, we tried again for the Chat, except this time Tom was with us.... no luck again.... it was getting very hot... As the three of us discussed our goal of 200 birds for Macomb County, I found it very cool that Kevin, Tom and I had already achieved our goal for 200 species for the county so early in the year..  I was also reminded that I had told my fellow birding compadres that when we all reached 200 the beer was on me..... 30 minutes later, we were all enjoying a nice cold one.... and planning the rest of the year.... the next 20 birds are gonna be challenging..... 220 sounds like a nice number!!!!!!

My should get list for the rest of the year...
Acadian Flycatcher
Common Nighthawk
Common Tern
Northern Pintail
Snow Goose
Black-crowned Night Heron

Highly Probable
Alder Flycatcher
White-rumped Sandpiper
American Bittern
Grasshopper Sparrow
Rough-legged Hawk
Short and Long Billed Dowitcher
Ruddy Turnstone
Western Sandpiper
Yellow-billed Cuckooo
Whip poor Will

My thanks to Tom Heatley, Kevin Rysiewski and Brian Mcgee for helping me get to this number.... rest of the year should be fun....

Monday, May 21, 2012

Black-bellied Plover

Got a message this morning that a Black-bellied Plover (199) was on the beach at Lk St. Clair Metropark... Headed out the door by 0715 and headed that way where I met Tom and Kevin on the beach.... Very nice looking bird....   Tom saw some Semipalmated Sandpipers but they were gone by the time I got there... They headed for the woods, I headed to work....

On the way home from work I drove down 28 mi rd.... I have been stopping and listening for Grasshopper Sparrows.... No luck but I did come across two Male Orchard Orioles fighting over a female on Teller Rd near 27 mi rd.... As I listened for Grasshopper Sparrows I heard a Vesper Sparrow calling from a tree next to the field.... I made my way over there and managed a couple of pics before it took off.....   

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Not too bad of a day since migration is winding down

I hit Lk. St. Clair Metropark this morning... I birded with Kevin Rysiewski for most of the morning... There were a few Dunlin and Least Sandpipers on the beach... a flyover of a Green Heron... The woods were surprisingly active... we had 15 Warbler species with highlight being a Mourning Warbler behind the Nature Center... we also found a Black-billed Cuckoo on the meadow loop trail which was approachable... The leaf cover is very thick, so patience is needed....  Canada, N Parula, Am Redstart, Chestnut-sided, Black-thr Green, Black and White, Yellow, Wilson's and Blackburnian are some of the other Warblers... Eastern Wood Pewees and Great Crested Flycatchers called from overhead and there were a good number of Swainson's Thrush... I also visited Macomb Corners Park yesterday evening and there were Semipalmated Plovers, Least Sandpipers, Solitary Sandpipers and Least and Willow Flycatchers (198) calling around the marsh/pond.... click on photos to enlarge.
Black-Billed Cuckoo

Lincoln Sparrow

Lincoln Sparrow

American Redstart

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow

Willow Flycatcher

Willow Flycatcher

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Couple New FOY's

Stopped by Lk. St. Clair Metropark today after work.... figured I would look for a couple of Warblers I am missing on my county list for the year... I found the two I was looking for...Wilson's Warbler(196) and Bay-breasted Warbler(197).... both found on the meadow loop trail... the woods were also very active with a ton of American Redstarts and Yellow Warblers... I also found a Canada Warbler on the trail behind the Nature Ctr... Tennessee and Blackpoll warblers were also heard... I found 2 female Black-throated Blue Warblers.... I had a close encounter with a Least Bittern... calling in the South marsh near the small pond right near the trail.... I could hear it from about 10 feet away and although I tried to lure it out of the reeds, no luck.... No shorebirds on the beach, but I did have a flyover of a Green Heron....

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Port Huron SGA

I had a morning appt in Port Huron today... So I headed out the door early to visit Port Huron SGA... This place is the best birding in the area the beginning of June... I figured that since migration seems to have flown right by, it might be hopping today... It did not disappoint.... I was there for only a short time but I saw 5 Hooded Warblers, American Redstarts, Pine Warblers, Blue-winged Warbler, Canada Warbler, Wood Thrush, Ovenbird, Scarlet Tanager and Rose-breasted Grosbeak.... Highlight of the day for me was an Alder Flycatcher... They must nest at this spot because this is the third year in a row that I have found one singing in the same area.... He was calling constantly the whole time I was there.... click to enlarge..
Alder Flycatcher

Alder Flycatcher

Alder Flycatcher

Cedar Waxwing

Hooded Warbler

Hooded Warbler

Hooded Warbler

Golden-winged Warbler - Macomb Corners Park

Yesterday I went and looked a small group of Least Sandpipers(194) at Macomb Corners Park... While making my way around the wood area surrounding the pond, I hear a Buzz beez beez beez... I got pretty excited knowing that this could only be one bird.... I circled around to the front of the wooded plot and sure enough in a bush about 8 feet off of the ground was a Golden-Winged Warbler(195).... I fiddled with my camera and tried to get ready to shoot, but he jumped into the deeper thicket... I followed him for 40 minutes hoping he would come out in the open, hold still and let me take his photo.... no luck.... occasional glimpses and getting to hear his song was all I got..... Also had 2 Lesser Yellowlegs, least Flycather, Kingbirds, Warbling Vireo and Eastern Bluebirds in same location....

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Macomb County count

I was not able to join my friend Mick this year on our annual 2 day birdathon to either Pelee or Magee Marsh.... Feeling upset by this, I asked Kevin Rysiewski if he would join me in a local count for the day... Kevin agreed to give me a hand, and I am amazed at what a great birder Kevin has become ... We covered a big area in a small amount of time and I am tired...

We started the day at my house at 5am... First bird out of the gate was the Woodcock calling behind my home... from there we went to Lk St. Clair Metropark, Wetzel State Park, ponds near Hall Rd/I-94, Macomb Corners Park, Wolcott Mills Metropark, Stoney Creek Metropark, Holland Ponds and finished up at River Bends Park in Shelby Twp.... Our total species for the day was 116..  I was very disappointed in the amount of warblers we had today... Only 16 species... Although we got 3 Mourning Warblers at LSCMP.... Highlight of the day was a Gray-cheeked Thrush behind the Nature Ctr at LSCMP.... We also managed a couple of Black-billed Cuckoo's at Wetzel off an area near Omo Rd... Thanks to Tom Heatley for showing Kevin and I this location.... Its not an easy area to access, but very good... click to enlarge photo

Misses on the day included Green Heron, Barred Owl, Osprey, Orchard Oriole.... New for my county list were Swainsons Thrush(191), Gray-cheeked Thrush(192) and Least Bittern(193)....

List for the day:
Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Comorant
Least Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Turkey Vulture
Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Trumpeter Swan
Wood Duck
American Wigeon
Blue-winged Teal
Lesser Scaup
Common Merganser
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Ring-necked Pheasant
American Coot
Lesser Yellowlegs
Spotted Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
American Woodcock
Ring-Billed Gull
Forster's Tern
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Wild Turkey
Black-billed Cuckoo
Great-horned Owl
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Willow Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Horned Lark
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Bank Swallow
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmous
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Sedge Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Swainsons Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
Cedar Waxwing
Blue-winged Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black and White Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Waterthrush
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Scarlet Tanager
Eastern Towhee
Clay-colored Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow
House Finch

Friday, May 11, 2012

Black-billed Cuckoo

Got a tip from Kevin and Tom today about Black-billed Cuckoo (190) at Wetzel State Park.... I followed there directions and found one near the airfield... very cool bird.... It dived in the bushes and my photo of it is not worth posting, but it was cool seeing it and hearing it call from the dense thicket it was hiding in...

While I was there I took a quick walk around the pond south of 27 mile rd... A Marsh Wren popped up out of the cattails to yell at me and I also saw a Green Heron.... In the distance I could hear a Bobolink...

Near Wolcott Mills today I heard the familiar song of an Orchard Oriole.... I found it quickly and was able to get some photos before it moved on....

Orchard Oriole

Marsh Wren
Marsh Wren