Monday, May 2, 2011

Pt. Mouillee SGA - 01 May 2011

The morning's rain finally let up, so I decided to make a run down to Pt. Mouillee to see if any new birds have arrived.  The field on the west side of US Turnpike (across from Roberts Rd.) held a pair of Cattle Egrets in their breeding orange.

It started drizzling again, so I took a ride up Hagermann Rd. to look for Bobolinks.  Horned Larks were actively performing aerial displays and calling from all parts of the field on either side of the road.  A pair of Northern Harriers were working the corn field to my left, but drifted off to the north as I approached. 

As I approached the tower field I could make out the calls of Eastern MeadowlarksSavannah Sparrows were everywhere!  As I turned around and started to head east toward the Turnpike one bird popped up alongside the road to my left.  So I slowed the car and took a few dozen pics through the window. 

As I approached the grassy field to my left a flock of 8 male Bobolink flew in and landed in the grass.  I was able to get a long-distance shot of one bird as he popped out into the open.

He then took off across the road w/ the rest of his mates and landed in the corn field to my right.  As I cruised up the road several of the birds were perched on corn stubble.

I then drove over to Siegler Rd. and biked up the North Causeway toward the Long Pond Unit.  As I was leaving the parking lot a Forster's Tern was hovering just a few feet from shore.  A few flight shots brought some extreme excitement as I was able to capture some full-wingspread photos!

The dikes were muddy and soft, so biking was tough.  I walked the bike from the North Causeway, along the west end of the Long Pond to the Middle Causeway.  Best birds along the way were a pair of Common Moorhen, Northern Shovelers, and a flock of 2-dozen Green-winged Teal.

The Middle Causeway was quite active, especially in the SW corner of the Vermet Unit.  Forster's Terns were foraging for bluegills while Purple Martins, Tree Swallows, and Barn Swallows soared around my head. 

I scanned the south end of the Vermet Unit for the White Wagtail, but only found a Greater Yellowlegs, a few Killdeer and a Horned Lark. The Banana Unit was active with Red-breasted Mergansers, Lesser Scaup, Herring Gulls, and Redhead Ducks. I spent a bit of time at Cell 3 scanning the mud flats for the wagtail, but came up empty.  Hopefully the bird has moved on to better habitats. The highlight of Cell 3 was counting over 700 Dunlin huddling along the water's edge.  I was unable to find any other shorebirds.

Heading north along the dike I came upon roosting Purple Martins in the dead trees lining the woods north of Cell 5.  It was neat to also see Tree Swallows, Bank Swallows, Rough-winged Swallows and Barn Swallows all feeding in the Vermet Unit.

Sufficiently covered in mud I returned to the car and headed home.

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