Sunday, October 8, 2017

They Have Returned - 08 Oct 2017


Clouds gave way to clearing skies and warm temperatures today. I took a walk around Crosswinds Marsh in Wayne Co. this morning to look for returning sparrows. A flock of White-crowned Sparrows were the first birds I saw. White-throated Sparrows also made appearances, as did Dark-eyed Juncos. I was forced to digiscope them from long distance as they were less than cooperative subjects.




Yellow-rumped Warblers were foraging along the fence line near the towers next to the horse trail.


A pair of Ruby-crowned Kinglets made a quick appearance. I was able to get a couple of digiscoped keepers before they disappeared.



An Eastern Wood-Pewee landed for about 10 seconds before taking off again.

I would also see an Eastern Towhee through the brush, but not get any pics. Luckily, a Song Sparrow was a bit more cooperative.

While hiking through the field under the towers I came upon a cooperative Sulfur butterfly.

I wouldn't see any more birds during the walk, so I took a few pics of the trails.




As I was leaving a flock of Northern Rough-winged Swallows were roosting on the overhead wires. Among them was a single Tree Swallow!









Saturday, October 7, 2017

Northern Watersnake - 07 Oct 2017


Thanks to Tom Kemp and the Toledo Naturalist Association for allowing me to tag along at their Sparrow Search at Metzger Marsh and at Krause & Stange Rd. We managed to see a couple of Lincoln's Sparrows, tons of White-throated Sparrows, a  female Indigo Bunting, White-crowned Sparrow, Song Sparrow, and Swamp Sparrow. A Blackpoll Warbler and Magnolia Warbler was a nice addition.  Our best looks of the day came when a pair of Northern Watersnakes were found along the canal just north of the Krause / Stange Rd. intersection. This one was pointing directly at us, while the other had its tail to us.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Like Trying to Photograph a Knuckleball - 13 Sep 2017


Robin and I were returning from dinner just a little before 6 pm when we approached the entrance to Del Webb's Bridgewater community here in Brownton (Ha, auto-correct just corrected "Brownstown"  because it thought I was going to mention my home here at Brownton Abbey!). Anyways, I saw a flock of swirling birds that I initially thought were swallows, then I realized that they were pretty large. Purple Martins? It took my head a few seconds to recalibrate and realize that I was seeing a flock of low-flying Common Night Hawks! They were flying over the ponds and feeding on insect swarms in the late afternoon sun!

I dropped Robin off (at Brownton) and grabbed the camera and headed back to spend the next 20 minutes or so shooting off ~2000 frames trying to capture these nightjars while they dodged photons coming from my camera. My arms were tired trying to track them while maintaining focus. It felt like someone was throwing a knuckleball not knowing which way it'll dip.




But, I managed a few keepers, including some with their mouths wide open and ready to snatch flying insects.


A nice way to come home. I took Asia out in the yard a while later and saw the flock return right over the house. This time they were much higher, but I was able to count 60 birds!

I love this place.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Detroit River Hawk Watch - 10 Sep 2017


Yesterday's hawk count netted 1500+ Broad-winged Hawks, so I decided to run down and spend a few hours with Kevin Georg, Andy Sturgess, and Raburn Howland. Glad I did!

The first birds of the morning were a few Sharp-shinned Hawks, but by 10 am the Broad-winged Hawks started coming through in distant kettles. Most birds were streaming northward toward the stacks and crossing over near the canals to the north, but by 11 am they were starting to cross over almost on top of us. Between 10 - 11 am (9 - 10 am hawk time) we counted 2000+ Broad-winged Hawks alone!


I had to leave at 11:30 am so I'll be curious to see what the total was for the day.

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