Saturday, June 30, 2012

White Ibis - St. Clair County

I headed to see the White Ibis that has been reported in St. Clair County in the last couple of days... I am not a state lister and I don't keep county lists(other than yearly list for my County)... This bird is so common in the area that we vacation at in Florida, they are like Killdeers here in Michigan.... However, this species has not had very many visits to our state, nor do I think that It is likely to visit again anytime soon.... So out the door I headed.... I got to the location and Darlene Friedman was also driving down the road (Meldrum, North of 26 mi)... It was nice to meet her... she stated that she had been there since 5am looking for the bird... I admit, I was impatient and after an hour of looking for it I left.... I talked to Kevin Rysiewski who was just leaving Wetzel and he told me he was headed that way to look for it.... Sure enough, I get a call from him and he and Darlene were watching it.... Arrghhhh!!!  Figures.... I head back that way and as soon as I pull up, it takes off.... never saw it..... I stuck around with Kevin and we patiently waited for its return.... Alan Ryff joined us and we conversed on a number of topics... and waited.... Finally, from up the road in the distance a large bird was moving our way.... Yes!!  it flew right over our heads and off into the distance and landed in the middle of a wooded area.... No pictures, but I saw the bird.... My thanks to Kevin for loaning one of his pics to me for putting on my blog and as always, thanks to Kevin and Tom Heatley for the heads up when the bird was first seen....  

Link to video that kevin shot.... the heat waves distorted the video a little, but its still cool to watch it move about and feed...

Juvenile White Ibis

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Kirtland's Warbler - Mio Michigan

     I met my friend Mick Seymour in Mio on Wednsday to chase after Kirtland's Warblers... Its been years since I have seen one and now that I have the blog and the photography bug, I figured that it was time I revisit one of the coolest birds in Michigan... If not the USA.... So the alarm went off at 0330 on Wed and I headed out the door 15 minutes later.... After 3 hours on the road, I met Mick at the "deluxe" Motor Lodge we were going to be staying at, and we headed out to the two tracks....
     We turned onto Oscoda County Rd 604, with the windows down listening for any warblers or birds we might hear.... It didn't take long to hear something interesting.... We found a Vesper Sparrow calling from a tree... one of the three we would see in a twelve hour period.... another half mile down the road I heard another call... It took me a minute to realize what I was listening too, but sure enough it was a Lincoln's Sparrow.... It was early and the sun was just rising, but I managed a snapshot of the bird singing in the top of a small tree....  We eventually came to a point on 604 where the Jack Pines looked very young, and they were very thick all over a large field.... we turned left onto the two-track and right away noticed the sign stating that this was a Kirtland's Warbler area and no one was allowed to enter the field.... We stopped and listened, but still did not hear one calling... We drove another half a mile down the road and sure enough, we heard our first Male.... it was one of three that we would hear calling in the area that we were in, but the only one that was close enough to the road where we were able to get a few photos.... We also heard a Clay-colored Sparrow in the same area.... Thrilled that we had found Kirtland's Warblers within the first hour we were on the road, we continued on birding as we went.... Listening and stopping when we would hear something interesting.... We found a flock of Dark-eyed Juncos and I was surprised to see them so late in the season..
    Mick and I headed back toward town and made the decision to head down Mckinley Rd, north of town.... I used to hunt in the area off of Old State Rd, so I was familiar with the area.... We took another two track thru the State Forest and managed to come across a Chestnut-Sided Warbler and a Northern Waterthrush.... as we headed down Lebay Road I decided to go down a little two track that bordered another field of young Jack Pines.... There was no sign designating it as a Kirtland Warbler area, but the habitat looked perfect.... we were about to leave the area when we heard one call right off the side of the two track.... we parked and grabbed our cameras, and within a few yards of the road there was a beautiful Kirtland's Warbler that was sitting in a small Jack Pine... he darted from the tree and then he would return.... We snapped a few photos and then left quickly.... not wanting to agitate him anymore..... being able to photograph 2 Kirtland's Warblers, that were on the opposite ends of town, in the same day, was pretty exciting.... In addition to the Kirtland's Warblers, Mick and I saw 62 Species for the day (not too bad for the beginning of summer)... Highlights include Lincoln Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Clay-colored Sparrow, American Redstart, Black-throated Green Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Bobolink, Scarlet Tanager, Black-billed Cuckoo and Yellow-billed Cuckoo.... It was a 9 species Sparrow day!!  we struck out on Grasshopper Sparrow..... only 24 hours, but a great trip... click on photos to enlarge....

Kirtland's Warbler


Lincoln's Sparrow

Black-billed Cuckoo

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day..... Not much to report

Its been kinda slow around here from the birding aspect.... My resident Willow Flycatcher is still calling daily... We bought a bird bath for our Butterfly Garden and the birds are going nuts.... They take turns bathing and drinking in it.... My wife doesn't exactly like the cleaning it part, but otherwise it would look gross in a hurry.... Heading up north this coming midweek to hopefully photograph some Kirtland Warblers and whatever else is around Mio.... Looking forward to that.... The Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird that has been frequenting our feeder has disappeared and only the female is coming daily..... I am discovering as I watch them that I know very little about there habits...

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Dickcissel - Inwood Rd Macomb County

I got a tip from Mike Mencotti this morning that he had found a Dickcissel off of Inwood Rd West of Mound.... This is a lifer for me.... Not because they are rare, although they are very uncommon in Macomb County.... But, because I never want to chase after it.... I figured one would show up near my home at some point.... of course it took years.... LOL!!   I found the bird quite easily sitting up on the wire in the exact location Mike had given me... It was very approachable and offered some great views... Singing Constantly.... Kevin Rysiewski had arrived shortly before me and we enjoyed watching this little guy sing his heart out.... Kevin called me right after I left and he found a second one near the first.... Hope this is a sign they are on Territory....  I really, really appreciated the call from Mike!!!!  Thanks Again!!!!!  click photos to enlarge

Friday, June 8, 2012

Yellow-Crowned Night Heron - Ford House

I got a call from Kevin Rysiewski today.... He had just heard from Wayne Hoch that a Yellow-crowned Night Heron (211) was found this morning at the Ford House on Jefferson.... Wayne was headed that way and would let us know if he found it.... Sure enough, he located the bird where he was told it would be and Kevin and I both joined him a short time later..... Beautiful bird just perched up in a tree near the Ford house and the Pool area.... click to enlarge

Hummers in the Morning Light

Waited for the Sun to rise behind my house so that i could shoot some Pics of the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in a better light.... It was worth it.... lots of fun... It looks like I have two separate Males coming to the feeder. The female did not show up this morning.... I will shoot her more on the weekend.

Strange looking Hummingbird? LOLOL!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I've learned a few things about Hummingbirds...

Ok, I have learned in the last few days since my Hummingbirds showed up.  Red Dye is bad... I will change that shortly and that its not good to leave the nectar out for too long... Guess I need to buy a Sam's Club bag of Sugar..... Look forward to the weekend when I can shoot some photos in the Morning light... I sat in a chair next to the feeders this afternoon and they could have cared less... very cool.... click to enlarge

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Acadian Flycatcher - Finally

I have seen Willow, Alder, Least and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers this spring.... I seem to be the only one in my birding circles not to have seen an Acadian.... No worry, I knew exactly where I would find one... They have bred at Stoney Creek on the trails at West Branch picnic area for the last few years.... I always find them there in June.... I am working on a Macomb County list this year, so West Branch is out because it falls on the Oakland County side of the park.... The Habitat Trail behind the Nature Ctr at Stoney has some habitat that looks perfect for Acadian Flycatchers (210)... So I had planned to walk the 2.4 mile trail this month and hopefully find one..... As I was walking thru an area of mature woods with a little bit of a boggy area, I was hoping to hear one calling... It was quiet and the canopy was so thick that it looked like sunset at 6pm.... As the trail was about to lead me out of the woods, I hear the familiar Pit-see!!!   It took a couple of minutes to locate the bird, but I found the Acadian Flycatcher sitting on a branch.... he was there long enough for me to snap a quick photo and then he was gone.... very cool......  I also found a Yellow-throated Vireo behind the nature center along the trail that connects the beginning and the end of the habitat trail.... It was a nice walk with multiple Red-eyed Vireos, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Scarlet Tanager, Warbling Vireo, Pileated Woodpecker, Indigo Buntings and several Eastern Bluebirds.... Great-crested Flycatchers and Eastern Wood Pewees were calling overhead.... on the way out of the park, I came across a flock of Wild Turkeys at their usual spot near the park headquarters.....

I also got a chance to meet Dr. Bob and his wife tonight at the Osprey Trail.... They were there in the parking lot with Kevin Rysiewski.... I stopped and chatted for a minute.... Its so nice to put a face with a name..... click on photos to enlarge
Acadian Flycatcher

Yellow-throated Vireo

Eastern Bluebird

Monday, June 4, 2012

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds - first of the year in my yard

My wife came home with a new Hummingbird feeder last week..... its the deluxe glass model with ant trap.... I was surprised because she can be.... lets just say frugal.... She loves hummingbirds and we have never really had them in our yard.... we back up to fields and up until this year, the trees were not very high....  I came home from work, looked out into the yard and there was a Male Ruby in the feeder.... Of course my camera was in the car... I ran and got it, but he was gone.... 5 minutes later a female shows up.... she came about 3 more times in about 30 minutes.... I had to leave and take my son to the library... when we came home, the sun was setting... the back of my house faces west, so we are blinded every night... Not the best lighting condition for shooting at the feeder, but I wanted to document the first day of Hummers... So I got some shots, not the best.... but hey, if they stick around like I think they will, I plan on getting some great shots.... in the morning light.... click to enlarge..

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A few recent photos that my friend sent me!! check em out!!

Tom Heatley sent me 3 photos that he took recently.... One of the Peregrine Falcon in Port Huron I believe, one of the Wilson's Phalarope that was on the beach at Lake St. Clair Metropark this week and then the last one of the White-rumped Sandpiper..... Very nice photos.... I thought they deserved there own page!!
Wilson's Phalarope

Peregrine Falcon

White-rumped Sandpiper

Saturday, June 2, 2012

shoot, no sleeping in for me today.... :)

When I received a call from Kevin this morning letting me know that he had just received a call from Tom Heatley that there were Sanderlings (209) and an assortment of Sandpipers on the beach at Lake St. Clair Metropark, I got up...... I had planned to sleep in but something about chasing a bunch of Sandpipers around on a beach sounded more fun to me.... So I made my way there and birded the morning with Kevin, Tom, Alan Ryff and Mike Mencotti.... we were later joined by Brian Mcgee and his daughter.... There was a good number of Sanderlings, Semipalmated Sandpipers and Plover and one White-rumped Sandpiper.... It was a breezy morning that made photographing a challenge, but I gave it a shot...... click on photos to enlarge


Sanderling and Semipalmated Sandpiper

mix of shorebirds

Semipalmated Plover

White-rumped Sandpiper

Friday, June 1, 2012

Ruddy Turnstone - Stoney Creek Metropark

I got a call from Mr. Stoney Creek (aka Kevin Rysiewski) that a Ruddy Turnstone (208) was on the Mudflats on the Osprey Trail at Stoney.... I missed this bird when it was there a couple of weeks ago, so no matter what the weather was I headed that way.... I love this Sandpiper... Its always been one of my favorites, so I put on the Poncho and the Rubber boots, covered the camera in plastic and headed down the trail..... When I got there I found Wayne Hoch standing next to the water observing the bird.... We both got some close up opportunities for photos and then I headed for the car before the rain got to heavy..... We also heard and observed Brown Thrashers, Indigo Bunting, Field Sparrow, Eastern Kingbird, Great-crested Flycatcher and quite a few other common birds for the area.... click on photos to enlarge...