Saturday, October 20, 2018

Late (?) Migration - 17 Oct 2018

While driving south along US Turnpike toward Monroe I followed a large flock of Turkey Vultures (200-300 birds) moving in a steady stream beside me. When I say late migration I mean late in the day. It was 6:30 pm and the sun was about to disappear for the night, yet these birds were actively kettling and streaming. Made for some nice pics!

I wasn't surprised, though, since the past 2 days have seen strong WSW winds and a cold front was now moving in as of late this afternoon, so the birds were taking advantage of favorable winds.

Prior to this I had a few other sightings.

My Ruby-throated Hummingbird made another appearance at the feeder this afternoon. It would be the last time I'd see it.

While driving through Pt. Mouillee SGA I came upon a large flock of European Starlings. I decided to try some hand-held digiscoping from inside the car.

Same with this Red-winged Blackbird and American Robin.

An Eastern Phoebe was a nice find. I'd see a flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers working the hedges along Campau Rd., but they were uncooperative.

Stragglers - 16 Oct 2018

I could not help but notice how cloudy the hummingbird feeder looked this afternoon. After all, it contained the bodies of a dozen wasps that had crawled inside and drowned. I emptied the feeder, cleaned it, and refilled it with fresh nectar (20% sugar water). Not 5 minutes after I rehung it in the yard did I see a hummingbird on it!

I've had as many as 3 juvenile/female-type Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the yard this fall but had not seen any in the last week or so. eBird has them tagged as "Rare" this time of year in the State, so it was a nice sighting.

It appears to be a juvenile male from the green gorget feathers visible on the throat.

Yard Treats - 14 Oct 2018

Having just returned home from the 2018 HMANA Conference I hadn't even taken my coat off when I spotted a Brown Thrasher foraging below the feeders. It only stayed a few moments before ducking back into the brush.

A Dark-eyed Junco appeared, as well. I had seen one earlier in the month, but this one just came in with the wave of birds that arrived overnight. Junco sightings were being reported all over SE Michigan this morning.

The capper came late in the afternoon when I spotted an old friend poking his head outside the box way out back. Eastern Screech Owl. Lighting was poor, but I managed a frame from a 5-minute video I took of it. As of 10/20/18 I've not seen it again. But, I'm constantly looking for it, so hopefully it'll return this winter.

Turkey Vultures - 09 Oct 2018

This evening a flock of 200 Turkey Vultures migrated through the neighborhood. The came out of the northeast, floated over the house, and circled in several large kettles.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Excitement in the Yard - 07 Oct 2018

Heavy rains the past two days have not discouraged the visiting White-crowned and White-throated Sparrows from visiting the feeders. Despite low light conditions (1/60 sec at ISO 3200) I tried to digiscope the Chipmunks, Mourning Doves, and White-crowned Sparrows from inside the house.

When everything abruptly scattered it was only a fraction of a second before an immature Cooper's Hawk blasted through the yard. It landed in the low shrubs next door and stayed long enough to get a few digiscoped images. Needless to say it would be a quite a long time before the critters would return.

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