Monday, August 25, 2008

Stilt Family and Red Knots! - 24 Aug 2008

Having returned from Traverse City last evening I made a point to get down to Mouillee to look for the Ruff that has been entertaining folks all week in Cell 3. Parking at Mouillee Creek I biked up the Middle Causeway to Cell 3. It had rained last night and I was afraid that the Ruff may have moved on, and I may have been correct. Several of us looked hard but couldn't find the bird in Cell 3. Not only would I dip on that bird, but also on the Piping Plover and a pair of Buff-breasted Sandpipers in the Long Pond reported by Jim Fowler just this morning.

But the day was not a disappointment! A pair of Red Knots roamed the mud flats far out of digiscoping range along with a Golden Plover, several Ruddy Turnstones, a Wilson's Phalarope, several Baird's Sandpipers, a Sanderling, and the regular host of Short-billed Dowitchers, Stilt Sandpipers, Pectoral Sandpipers, Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers, Killdeer and Semipalmated Plovers.

I managed a record shot of one of the Knots, and took pleasure in being able to get some keeper shots of one of the adult Black-necked Stilts with 3 young. The four birds flew in and landed in one of the closer ponds that allowed for some acceptable images from about 50 feet away.

While riding out to the Long Pond Unit via the North Causeway I found an immature Black-crowned Night Heron that posed nicely on a rusty pipe in the NE corner of the Vermet Unit. I stopped long enough to get some nice digiscoped images before moving on. Dipping on the Buff-breasted Sandpipers I took solace in a nearby Monarch Butterfly feeding on the Purple Loosetrife growing along the shoreline.

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