Friday, August 22, 2008

Sutton's Bay Sewage Ponds - 20 Aug 2008

It figures that I'd be up here in Antrim Co. this week while such birds as Ruff, Piping Plover and Little Blue Heron are down at Pt. Mouillee. Oh well, if I'm lucky the Ruff will stay 'till Sunday. Meanwhile, after dropping Robin off at a class in Traverse City I decided to spend the day birding Leelenau Co.

Driving south on US-31 I headed into the Leelenau Peninsula and drove up toward Leelenau State Park. I saw few birds along the way despite the warm temps and clear skies. At the State Park I walked several trails and managed only a few pics of a Cedar Waxwing. The only other birds seen were Black-capped Chickadees and a Kingfisher.

Returning south I stopped in Sutton's Bay and looked for the sewage ponds. Turning on Richter Rd. I parked at the Road Commission parking lot and hiked along the Leelenau Bike Trail toward the ponds, which are fenced in, but viewable from the trail.
The first pond to my left was almost dry, but held a small algae-covered pool with several Least Sandpipers and a pair of Pectoral Sandpipers. As I grabbed a couple of record pics a Cedar Waxwing landed on the wire fence about 20 feet away with a very large Green Darner in its mouth. I couldn't tell who was eating who, but it flew off before I could get my digiscoping equipment set up, so I had to settle for a distance shot w/ the D300. The second pond held more water, but only Mallard, Wood Ducks and a single female Hooded Merganser.
Continuing on to the ponds to my right I saw a few Solitary Sandpipers, Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpipers and Least Sandpipers. A few Green-winged Teal, Wood Ducks and Mallard were also present along with a Green Heron that flew back and forth between several of the three ponds. Overhead Cedar Waxwings and Chimney Swifts were feeding on insect swarms.

Heading back to the car I took a few pics of the many, many grasshoppers and locusts flying about. An orange beetle also caught my attention, but w/o a guide I'm just calling it a bug...


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