Saturday, January 20, 2018

Pine Siskin - 20 Jan 2018

Finally, the first Pine Siskin of the winter has arrived here at Brownton Abbey. My bird-dar went off and sent me to the back window where I saw what I thought was a pair of House Finches. The male popped bright red in the back bushes while the duller brown bird was presumed to the female. But, when I put the scope on her she turned out to have green-gold wing bars and the tiny siskin-y bill!

A Few Pics from this Week - 19 Jan 2017

Ice flows on the Detroit River have scattered the ducks, so I was just looking for something to photograph while at the foot of Ecorse Road. Common Mergansers, Ring-billed Gulls and Mallard were the only subjects.

A 4-Snowy Owl Day - 14 Jan 2017

Phil Van Daele reported an all-white Snowy Owl just east of Britton, MI in Lenawee Co. yesterday. Since it was too cold for an outside bird trip Robin and I decided to take a drive to look for it. A swing through Willow Run Airport on the way gave us our best looks at a Snowy Owl; it was perched on the fence along the south end service drive. It flew off as we were pulling up behind another photographer who was out photographing it from across the road.

We continued on past the entrance to the airport buildings and found another Snowy Owl perched on the roof of a building just on the other side of the fence. I digiscoped it from 50-70 yards away.

We then headed down US-23 to M-50 and headed west past Cabelas to 1.8 miles just east of Britton when I spotted this Snowy Owl way out in a field next to a pair of marking stakes. I digiscoped it from about 100 yds at full power on the scope.

We failed to find the all-white Snowy Owl, so we headed back to Cabelas to have lunch at the Great Lakes Eatery and Bar. There, we ran into Bruce Smith and Sue Kuroda and they told us where to look: Hoagland Hwy just south of M-50, then turn right on Centennial Drive. The bird was about 200 yds out in the middle of a plowed field. I was able to digiscope it again at full power on the scope. Video was necessary due to wind, heat shimmer and snow. A record frame was all I could muster.

Along the way to see the Snowy Owl(s) we had flushed a dark-morph Rough-legged Hawk from the ditch next to the road. On the way back to Cabelas we spotted it soaring to the north of M-50, so I turned down the closed road and grabbed a quick photo before it disappeared into the next fields.

Great day!

Common Mergansers - 08 Jan 2017

A quick drive to the Detroit River here in Wyandotte failed to relocate the Harlequin Duck from 2 days ago. It appeared to be a one-day wonder. So, I spent a minute or two digiscoping a group of female Common Mergansers resting on the ice at the Silver Shores Catering parking lot.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Harlequin Duck! - 06 Jan 2018

Scott Jennex reported a Harlequin Duck at Wyandotte Municipal Boat Launch yesterday afternoon. This on the heals of Andy Dettling reporting a pair of Long-tailed Ducks nearby had me out the door at 4 pm. I arrived just as Scott was getting ready to leave. He and Matthew Gasperoni were looking for the male Harlequin that had just moved south of the boat launch.

We drove over to Perry Pl and Scott found the Harlequin Duck among a group of female Common Mergansers that I was scoping. I was able to get a couple videos of the duck as it swam and bathed in the frigid temperatures (9F, windchill near 0F).

A bonus bird was this Glaucous Gull that took off among a flock of Great Black-backed and Herring Gulls on the ice flowing past us.

Out in the middle of the river ~2000 Canvasback / Redhead were crowded into a tight raft in open water near Mud Island. Groups of 20-50 birds were flying past in the low light and afforded a few flight pics.


Common Merganser, female
Seaway Boat Club, Wyandotte, Wayne, Michigan, US
Jan 6, 2018 4:15 PM - 4:50 PM
Protocol: Stationary
Comments:     Scott Jennex and me.
9 species

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)  2
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  4
Canvasback (Aythya valisineria)  1000     mixed flock w/ Redhead. Estimate is conservative
Redhead (Aythya americana)  1000     mixed flock w/ Canvasbacks just in open water of ice-filled Detroit River. Estimate is considered conservative.
Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus)  1     Male. First reported by Scott Jennex at the Wyandotte Municipal Boat Ramp. Digiscoped video taken of male duck swimming among female mergansers just north of Perry Pl. St.
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  20
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)  30
Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperborean)  1     All-white gull in flight w/ large bill.
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)  8

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

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