Saturday, August 27, 2016

Very Interesting Yard Day - 27 Aug 2016

Last night's rain left water all over the windows. So, after I squeegeed them off I could see a Skunk foraging under the feeder. Since I needed to change the hummingbird feeder I decided to head out, anyway. No issues, it skedaddled out of sight as I approached the first time, but decided to stand its grown the second time. Tail up, it looked fearsome (for a second) before running back into the underbrush. I went back into the house and watched it for a bit when it came back. It would feed, then have a tail-up standoff w/ an unseen enemy, make several short charges forward, then run off. Really, very cute to watch.

Once the sun came up and the skunk headed out, the birds came in. At one point I had 8 Baltimore Orioles at the jelly feeder, including 4 brightly-colored males.

I spotted a juvenile Eastern Towhee on the ground and got some great digiscoped images. I just forgot to put a card in the camera. It was gone by the time I corrected my mistake.

A 1st-year female American Redstart made a brief appearance in the yard! It was a difficult ID to make, but luckily I was able to see it black-tipped undertail spots. Otherwise, I would've thought it was a juvenile Magnolia Warbler.

The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have been hammering the feeder all day. I got a few digiscoped images as they fought the wasps for a place on the feeder. I would go out later and vacuum as many of the wasps as I could in order to protect the hummers from getting stung.





I decided to clear away the brush at end of the grass so I borrowed my brother's weed-trimmer. A trip to Lowe's to get string resulted in another 12 bags of mulch, and a dozen perennials to plant once I'm done. I weed-sacked mostly grass, some emerging buckthorn, and a few willow sprouts, and mulched around some dogwood, black-eyed susan, and a few queen-ann's lace that I decided to keep. I managed to get the mulch down just before a nasty thunderstorm hit mid-afternoon.

Once the storm passed I checked the feeders again, and found a Brown Thrasher (adult) foraging next door under the cover of shade. The Eastern Towhee also made another appearance, and this time I was able to get pics of the juvenile bird.



Song Sparrows have returned. They look like little chicken poults as they were all missing tails!

I managed a short digiscoped 4K video of one of the juvenile Ruby-throated Hummingbirds just before dark.

video

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sanderlings - 25 Aug 2016

Afternoon storms in the metro Detroit Area brought high winds to Pt Mouillee this evening. Water levels in the Humphries Unit was high enough to keep shorebirds away. Cell 3 is still dry, and only a flock of Ring-billed Gulls and Caspian Terns were making use of the open, bare ground.

Winds were blowing inshore, so waves were crashing against the shoreline as I rode along the dike from Roberts Rd to Cell 3. But a small patch of exposed sand held a dozen Sanderlings. The sun was shining so late afternoon / evening lighting was good enough to get some nice digiscoped images from about 50' away.


Monday, August 22, 2016

A Glorious Morning - 21 Aug 2016

Clear skies, mild temps, low humidity, and a slight breeze made for a perfect Sunday morning. Sipping a cup of coffee on the back deck and digiscoping the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and Baltimore Orioles in the yard. Simply wonderful!


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Friday Nite Flights - 19 Aug 2016

With several heavy storms earlier this week I was curious if Cell 3 at Pt. Mouillee might finally have some water in it. So, this evening I rode the Middle Causeway from Mouillee Creek entrance to check out birds.  A swing by the Antennae Farm on Haggerman Rd had only produced a single American Kestrel.

Out near the junction of the Walpatich and Nelson Units I spotted seven Sandhill Cranes flying over.

Great Egrets were spread out all over the Humphries Unit, which didn't appear to show as much exposed shoreline as last week. I did not see any Tricolored Herons that were reported last weekend.

Black Swallowtail butterflies were out in force along the Middle Causeway; as were Mourning Cloaks and Red Admirals.

As I reached the Vermet Unit I saw a squadron of fighter jets and a single bomber plane out over Lake Erie. It was the Breitling Jet Team doing some maneuvers over the lake! A B-17(?) was among them.

I caught up w/ John Monroe and his friend Chris Hardwick(?) near the Banana Unit scoping a flock of Bobolink in the NE corner of the Humphries Unit. About 4 dozen of the golden sparrows were flying among the phragmites. A large flock of blackbirds (mostly Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles and European Starlings) were flushing nearby; they had seen as many as 8 Yellow-headed Blackbirds among them.

I rode around the east side of Cell 3 and scoped a pair of Baird's Sandpipers out in the still-dry cell. Several Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers were present, as well. I would run into David Anomato and he would report a pair of Baird's, as well a a pair of Sanderlings along the Lake Erie shoreline.

Several Bobolink were calling from the vegetation along the south end of Cell 3. I would spot several Common Yellowthroat and Yellow Warblers among the trees. A single, juvenile Indigo Bunting made a brief appearance.

Riding back along the west side of Cell 3 I came across a baby Northern Water Snake. I took a few pics of it before hustling it back into the weeds along the side of the trail.

Meanwhile, a flock of American White Pelicans were swimming in the Humphries Unit, so I digiscoped a video from the dike.


As I rode back down the Middle Causeway I found several Yellow-headed Blackbirds among the still-present blackbird flock.

Back near the pump house I spotted a singing Indigo Bunting that allowed me some low-light digiscoping (ISO 3200) images from 30' away.











Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Gearing Up! - 17 Aug 2016

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have been making their presence known the past few days. A pair of adults, and two juvenile birds have been emptying the nectar feeder and generally making pests of themselves around the other birds. Just ask the American Goldfinches; apparently the color yellow sets the hummers off on a tear. The goldfinches are being chased all day long!

The juvenile birds don't seem to mind my presence, either. I can stand next to the feeder and photograph them as they come into feed. They'll hover, inspect, and proceed to feed. Its been fun getting their photos.






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