Monday, April 28, 2008

Lesser Yellowlegs & Dunlin - Pt. Mouillee 25 Apr 2008

Sunday morning brought clear skies, cool temps, and a mild breeze. Parking at Siegler Rd. a Wilson's Snipe flushed from the ditch just a few feet away. Riding the bike along the North Causeway I came across a flock of shorebirds in the muddy shallows of the Long Pond Unit. Dozens of Dunlin in partial molt and breeding plumaged Lesser Yellowlegs were actively feeding and chattering. Small flocks of a dozen or so birds would flush every few minutes and provide some challenging flight shots. As I scoped the Dunlin I found a single Least Sandpiper and a Pectoral Sandpiper. No Dowitchers or Greater Yellowlegs were to be found.

Continuing on I came across several pairs of Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead and Mallard in the Vermet Unit. Cell 5 was quiet save for a few Great Blue Heron and a single Black-crowned Night Heron. Along the back side of the cell I heard the first Yellow Warbler and Common Yellowthroat of the year. A Carolina Wren was also singing in the woods. A scraggly immature Bald Eagle was perched atop a dead snag near the junction of Vermet and Cell 4.

At Cell 3 a flock of Caspian and Forster's Terns were roosting amid the trash dumped along the shoreline. A flock of Dunlin were also feeding along the shoreline, and as they flushed I took several flight shots as they bobbed and weaved through the air. It wasn't until I reviewed my pics that I realized that a Ruddy Turnstone was among them. Notice the white stripe down the back that is lacking in the rest of the birds.

Heading back down the Middle Causeway I didn't notice the Northern Harrier that flushed in front of me, so it was too far away before I could get any pics. A pair of Osprey were atop the platform in the middle of the Lead Unit - I was unable to see any bands.

Out in the Vermet Unit another dozen Caspian Terns and Forster's Terns were roosting on the sand spit that runs into the middle of the Unit. I took several digiscoped images of both terns and watched with amusement as a pair of males courted a female with fish. She seemed to be unimpressed with either suitor and then surprised when they both left her!
Heading back toward the car I spotted several Blue-winged Teal in the shallow backwaters of the Bloody Run Unit and managed a couple nice digiscoped images of a female. More Lesser Yellowlegs were feeding along the near shore and made for some nice pics. One bird appeared to be a nervous flyer! A pair of Marsh Wrens were singing in the phragmites across the ditch and a Sora could be heard farther out.

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