Robin and I drove up to the condo here in Central Lake on Friday afternoon. Along the way we managed to see a fly-over Sandhill Crane along I-96W at Island Lake Recreation area. Further north along US-127 we spotted an adult Bald Eagle feeding on a carcass on the still frozen Maple River State Game Area while a juvenile eagle soared overhead. Fifteen minutes later we saw a pair of American Kestrel, an immature Rough-legged Hawk, and an immature Northern Harrier just before the Ithaca exit. The harrier was perched in a tree along the roadside, but traffic was too heavy for me to slow down.
With temps as cold as they were Saturday morning we decided to take a ride to Traverse City. After lunch in Elk Rapids we returned to the condo. With clear skies I decided to drive down to the bridge that separates Intermediate and Hanley Lakes. Only a small patch of open water existed below the bridge, but it managed to hold several pairs of Common Goldeneye, a pair of Hooded Mergansers, and a pair of Bufflehead.
I spent a half-hour or so digiscoping several male Goldeneye that swam and courted nearby females. They would swim half-submerged with just their bills sticking out of water. A pair of drake Hooded Mergansers also allowed a few pics to be taken, but lighting was not favorable for any keepers. So I decided to walk across the street and check out the canal.