Monday, April 13, 2015

Still Hanging Around! - 12 Apr 2015

The Fox Sparrow is still hanging around the yard two days after first seeing it! This morning I saw it out the back window foraging just 10 feet away!



Sunday, April 12, 2015

First Shorebirds - 11 Apr 2015

They've been around, but I haven't, so it was nice to finally see my first Greater Yellowlegs of the season this morning at Pt. Mouillee. The Noisy Lapwings (Killdeer) have been around and its still 'fun' to see them, but in another week or so...

Waterfowl were numerous in all of the interior units of Pt. Mouillee. American Coot by the thousands were in the Humphries Unit while Northern Shovelers were dominating the Long Pond Unit. Ring-necked Ducks were found in the Lautenschlager Unit, and Green-winged Teal by the dozens filled Cell 3 of the Banana Unit. Blue-winged Teal were most numerous along the Mouillee Creek.

I was unable to get close to any of the birds, but a few fly-by Lesser Scaup coming in off of Lake Erie passed close enough for a flight pic or two.

Bufflehead were actively courting along the east shoreline of the Humphries Unit and flushed as I rode by on the bike.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Fox Sparrow! - 09 Apr 2015

I came home at noon today for lunch and noticed a rufous-tailed sparrow flush from the fence line in the back yard. It was raining and the bird flew over Michelle's fence. I suspected Fox Sparrow but needed confirmation so I camped in the window while I ate my hummus (hopefully not recalled-for-Listeria-hummus).

As the rain poured I finally spotted the bird near the back feeder but moving toward the window. It was soaked and looking less-than-foxy...




Still, a very nice bird for Wyandotte. It would reappear briefly after work before heavy rains returned.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Finally! - 22 Mar 2015

It took the end of March for me to finally see a Common Redpoll in Wyandotte! This morning I looked out at the feeders and spotted a single redpoll perched in the tree above the feeders. It took a few moments but the bird flew down and started feeding. It would remain in the yard for the better part of the day, but not be seen afterward.







All of my photos were taken through the back window, so I'm not overly disappointed with the detail I was able to get from the Nikon D7100 and 300 / 2.8 VRII. I was even able to get some digiscoping from point blank range from the back room.

Jean Iron has a wonderful writeup identifying subspecies of Common Redpoll. This bird appears to be an Acanthis flammea flamea. Of interest was the amount of white in the rump! A close look reveals a tinge of rosy pink, but in proper lighting one might be inclined to consider a Hoary Redpoll...



A wonderful visitor! Will this be the last great yard bird for me?

Addendum 3/29/2015 - Common Redpoll seen at the feeder again today. First time in a week!

3/30/2015 - Common Redpoll seen again during lunch.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Lapland Longspur - 22 Mar 2015

This Lapland Longspur popped out from the side of Haggerman Rd. and flew a short distance before landing among the stubble. I was able to get a few pics from the car before it flew farther away! Otherwise, the only action on the road were the scattered Horned Larks and their 'tinkling' calls in the fields.


Although signs of spring have emerged for the past week or two (Red-winged Blackbirds, Skunk Cabbage, temps above freezing) winter is slowly loosing its grip on the ponds at Pt. Mouillee SGA. As I rode my bike from the Roberts Road entrance around Cell 1 of the Banana Unit I could see that only patches of the Humphries Unit held open water. Lake Erie was open, but ice shelves up to 3' thick were piled along the shoreline. American Coot, Ring-necked Ducks, and Canvasback were staging in shallows of Lake Erie waiting for the ponds to open.

I left the bike and hiked back into Cell 1 where recent construction equipment had left a 'road' of shredded  bark. A large expanse of open water could be seen in the middle of the cell, and when I rode back around toward Cell 2, I could see that a large dike had been constructed. A large swath of phragmites had been cleared on either side of the canal.  A road has also been constructed between Cells 1 and 2? I had hoped to see some lurking Snowy Owls but only found a flock of 8 Killdeer.

A portion of Cell 3 had open water and a large group of Ring-billed Gulls sporting their breeding whites were congregating along the shoreline. Check out Paul Poronto's latest post to see what I mean.  No white-winged gulls were among them.

As I returned to the car I heard, then saw, a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the SW corner of the Humphries Unit.

A quick drive over to Pt. Mouillee HQ yielded a handful of Northern Cardinals by the fence. I took a few photos of them from the car using the Nikon V3 attached to the 300/2.8 VRII and 1.7TCII.


On the way home I found a Red-tailed Hawk on the roadside and grabbed a few hand-held shots through the car window (closed) before it flew off. They were fuzzy enough so I converted the image at left using a Watercolor filter in Photoshop.

In another week or so the ice should be completely gone and the ducks will be packing the inland units of Pt. Mouillee!

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