Monday, May 31, 2010

Pt. Mouillee SGA - 27 Apr 2010

Earlier this week Caleb Putnam got excellent views and pics of a King Rail along the Long Pond Unit at Pt. Mouillee. This morning I decided to greet the sunrise along the shore of Lake Erie at Cell 3 to see if any shorebirds might be around, then wander over to the Long Pond Unit to see if the rail might be heard, still.

I parked at Mouillee Creek entrance and biked up the Middle Causeway to the Banana Unit while it was still dark (~5:30 am). Along the way I heard Swamp Sparrows, Marsh Wrens, and a Least Bittern (which sounded very much like a Wilson's Snipe) in the Walpatich Unit.

As I waited for the sun to rise at Cell 3 a Mink made an appearance up the road and worked its way along the rocks lining the shoreline. I had the camera ready to take a photo, but it disappeared in the rocks. Several moments later it appeared right behind me just a few feet away. I could only stare at it for several seconds knowing that it would disappear as soon as I moved. Sure enough, it ducked out of view as I swung the camera/monopod around to my right.

Cell 3 was void of birds. A single Dunlin along the west shore was about it. I did hear some Horned Larks along the south shore, and got nice looks at a Gray Catbird in the southeast corner woods.

A perched Forster's Tern along the shore of Cell 4 provided a few digiscoped images in the early morning sunrise. The Vermet Unit was also quiet except for the occasional Blue-winged Teal and American Coot. A couple of Common Moorhens were also present. I scoped the Forster's Tern colony and counted ~25 birds flying over the cattails in the middle of the unit. Small flocks of Dunlin were also seen feeding alongside the nesting birds.

On the small island spit in Cell 5 a pair of Forster's Terns were courting. A presumed male bird was bringing fish to a receptive female perched on the rocks. Nearby, Tree Swallows were nesting in a tree cavity, and I took a few moments to digiscope adult birds carrying large goose feathers to the nest.

The North Causeway produced only a few Pied-billed Grebes, Lesser Scaup, and Ruddy Ducks. Returning south along the dike separating Vermet / Long Pond Units I heard only a distant Sora.

Heading back to the car along the Middle Causeway I found a pair of Willow Flycatchers and an Indigo Bunting singing in the now-cut-down Willows near the pump house. I managed a few distant digiscoped images of a pretty male Indigo Bunting as it fought a Willow Flycatcher for the best singing perch. Nearby Gray Catbirds and Northern Cardinal pairs were chasing each other.

A fly-by Great Egret ended my short morning trip. I'd be back at work by 8:15 am...

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