Sunday, April 12, 2009

Pt. Mouillee SGA - 10 Apr 2009

On this Good Friday morning I unloaded the bike at the foot of Siegler Rd. and rode the North Causeway toward the Banana Unit. With gusting winds (again) from the north the ride was both tough and painful. White-caps were visible on the Huron River and in the Long Pond and Vermet Units. The Nelson Unit was void of birds. The Long Pond held a few Mute Swans and Canada Geese, and little else. Most of the birds were in the Vermet Unit and consisted mainly of American Coot, Gadwall, American Wigeon and Northern Shoveler. It was cloudy, and the birds spooked quite easily, so no photos were attempted.

Along the east shore of the Vermet Unit the winds were less intense, and gave me an opportunity to get a few flight shots of Blue-winged Teal and Green-winged Teal from the dike. A pair of Great Egrets circled overhead and provided a few more photo opps, but that was it for a while.

Cell 5 held numerous Greater and Lesser Scaup and few pair of Bufflehead. A single American Wigeon passed closed enough to generate a composite image of several frames.

The choppy waters of Cell 5/4 held a single Horned Grebe, but it was too far to digiscope. I briefly scanned Lake Erie but found no other birds than a few Common Mergansers. Out in the Vermet Unit were several immature Great Black-backed Gulls, but no adults. Cell 3 mudflats were bare - only single Caspian and Common Terns were roosting at the edge of the mudflats.

Happy to be out of the wind I headed down the Middle Causeway. The corn stubble ahead of me offered up a Horned Lark. A pair of Osprey were atop the nest tower in the Lead Unit, and numerous American Wigeon and Blue-winged Teal flushed from the south shore of the Vermet Unit.

Frustrated at the lousy photo opportunities I spotted a pair of Blue-winged Teal flying into the shoreline next to the Lead Unit. As I set up the scope, hoping to catch them drifting in my direction, I spotted a pair of Pied-billed Grebes relaxing just a few feet away. I managed to capture a half-dozen digiscoped images of the pair before heading back to the car. The winds were blowing too hard to ride, so I walked the bike along the path separating Long Pond and Vermet Units. A flock of Bonaparte's Gulls flew directly overhead and I was too slow to capture them as they passed.

Returning to the North Causeway I decided to rest a bit before returning to the car. Hiking down the bank to the shoreline I found a hole in the phragmites lining the shoreline. Settling down I found respite from the wind and waited for passing birds. Within a few minutes a pair of Killdeer appeared, followed by three Mute Swans, and a pair of Great Egrets. No ducks were appearing so I headed back to the car. Before reaching the parking lot a Bald Eagle flushed from the Nelson Unit and flew across the dike toward Pt. Mouillee HQ.

A quick stop along Campau Rd yielded a Red-bellied Woodpecker.

--- addendum ---

Will Weber birded the area on Saturday the 11th and reported the appearance of Dunlin, Pectoral Sandpipers and Common Terns. His tally for the day is listed below:

Mute Swan 150
Wood Duck 4
Gadwall 1000
American Wigeon 200
American Black Duck 2
Mallard 20
Blue-winged Teal 40
Northern Shoveler 100
Northern Pintail 9
Green-winged Teal 80
Canvasback 6
Redhead 25
Ring-necked Duck 15
Greater Scaup 400
Lesser Scaup 200
Bufflehead 50
Common Goldeneye 6
Hooded Merganser 7
Common Merganser 15
Red-breasted Merganser 45
Ruddy Duck 30
Common Loon 2
Pied-billed Grebe 10
Horned Grebe 8
Double-crested Cormorant 150
Great Blue Heron 15
Great Egret 12
Black-crowned Night-Heron 1
Osprey 4
Bald Eagle 2
Virginia Rail 1
American Coot 2500
Killdeer 7
Pectoral Sandpiper 1
Dunlin 6
Wilson's Snipe 3
Bonaparte's Gull 25
Caspian Tern 4
Common Tern 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Horned Lark 1
Barn Swallow 1
American Pipit 2
Vesper Sparrow 1
Swamp Sparrow 1


Jeff Schultz said...

Hi Jerry,

I really like the first Pied-billed Grebe shot! It would make a nice painting!

Charles Owens Gallery said...

I only wish I could capture flight shots like you.

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