Sunday, June 8, 2008

Pt. Mouillee SGA - 07 Jun 2008

I parked at Mouillee Creek and biked my way toward the Lautenshager Unit. A Willow Flycatcher greeted me at the parking lot, followed by Yellow Warblers and Common Yellowthroats. Swamp Sparrows were singing in the marsh, and a Sedge Wren could be heard across the creek. As I approached the large pond next next to the Bloody Run Unit I counted 33 Great Egrets and another half-dozen Great Blue Herons wading in the quickly-drying watershed. Red-winged Blackbirds were nesting nearby as I saw a female carrying nesting material and a male was chewing me out from the sign nearby. As I left the area I came across a very large Common Snapping Turtle in the middle of the road. Doing my good duty I carefully picked up the angry turtle, careful to avoid claws, snapping jaws, and musky urine (I managed the first two just fine....) I returned it to the water's edge. After finding four more turtles later in the morning way I realized that they were out to lay their eggs. Oops...

I moved up to the dike between the Bloody Run and Long Pond Units and made my way toward the North Causeway. Stopping along the way I managed a few fly-by pics of Great Egrets and Black-crowned Night Herons. Surprisingly there were no shorebirds to be found in either unit, except for a few Killdeer and Spotted Sandpiper.

I stopped along the North Causeway to photograph the rising sun above the storm clouds to the north. It was beginning to get hot and humid out here and the increasing winds brought little relief. Only a few scaup were far out in the bay.

Heading back toward the Middle Causeway between Vermet and Long Pond Units I spotted a few Black Terns in the Vermet Unit, but again no shorebirds. At the junction between the two units and the Middle Causeway I scoped the Vermet Unit and found only a handful of Mallard and Double-crested Cormorants.

At Cell 3 of the Banana Unit I scoped the mudflats and found a small flock of Semipalmated Sandpipers and a pair of White-rumped Sandpipers. As I approached them they flushed toward the Lead Unit. After a few minutes they returned, but with only a single White-rumped among them. I managed a few digiscoped images of it before it flew off again. A Least Sandpiper was also present, but it too flew off with the Semipalms. Several immature Bonaparte's Gulls, Forster's Terns, and Common Terns were also present, but they flew off toward the farthest edge of the mud spit, so all I could manage was a few fly-by pics from a distance.

Returning down the Middle Causeway I stopped between the Lead and Vermet Units when I saw a few Black Terns and Forster's Terns flying back and forth between the two units. For the next 20 minutes I attempted to photograph the birds as they carried food from one unit to the other. Because the skies were hazy, and partially backlit from the hazy sun, the Black Terns were impossible to autofocus upon, so I had to resort to manual focus. Still, I felt the terns were playing with me as they would fly straigth at me, then overhead as if to say "try and photograph us!". I managed a few fly-by shots, but wasted hundreds of shots. Thank God for digital memory! From my previous post, I managed a couple pics of a single tern carrying a crayfish just as it passed overhead. After reviewing other photos, I found that they were also carrying minnows and salamanders from the Vermet Unit to their nesting sites in the Lead Unit. Just before leaving I saw an American Coot feeding near shore and digiscoped a few pics of it.

Stopping by the pump house I began hearing the 'fitz-bew' of a Willow Flycatcher, and soon saw it perched atop a clump of phragmites. Setting up the scope I managed a few digiscoped images before it flew off. Within moments an Indigo Bunting perched nearby and provided a couple digiscoped images. After several more minutes a Black-capped Chickadee and Gray Catbird appeared. I then took several more pics of the Willow Flycatcher when it appeared again. A Song Sparrow also made a short appearance and allowed me to get a few close-up pics. A pair of Brown-headed Cowbirds rounded out the morning, and I returned to the car.

No comments:

Blog Archive