Wednesday, June 1, 2011
End of May Sightings - 28 May 2011
I returned to the junction of Long Pond/Vermet/Humphries Units and scoped the Humphries Unit for Yellow-headed Blackbirds. For the most part things were quiet, but 1 or 2 YHBB were flying over the cattails.
female Yellow-headed Blackbird caught my attention. I managed to grab a few digiscoped images as she honked and flew from sunflower stalk to another, and then finally disappeared into the Vermet Unit. This was a good sign, 'cause it means that we may get some nesting YHBB here at Pt. Mouillee now that there are both males and females about.
I headed up to Cell 3 where I found few shorebirds. A small flock of Dunlin were far out on the mudflats, and that was about it. A few Forster's and Caspian Terns were roosting farther inland away from the water's edge. Unfortunately I noticed the start of green vegetation growing along the shoreline, which means that Cell 3 may be losing its mudflats to secondary succession.
Next to it was a smal peep that I suspected might be a Western Sandpiper. Too far and too windy to take any digiscoped stills, I opted to take a long-distance video (60X on the eyepiece and 3X on the Coolpix = roughly 2000mm). The extremely pale shorebird was much whiter than the nearby Semipalmated Sanpipers, and longer-billed and longer-legged. It tended to probe the mud much more than the Semipalms, which tended to pick at the ground. Unfortunately it appeared to be a non-breeding bird, so I couldn't verify rusty scapulars. Still, it appeared thick-necked and long-billed, so it appeared to have traits supporting a Western Sandpiper. I documented the bird as best I could and sent it to Adam Byrne.
Other shorebirds in the area included Semipalmated Plover (4), Killdeer (too many), Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers, and Spotted Sandpipers.
Bank Swallow colony and managed a few digiscoped images from about 100'. The birds tended to land 3-4 at a time and would roost at the opening. I suspect that they're feeding young.
soared overhead! I had heard reports earlier this week of 20 birds in Lake Erie near Pt. Mouillee, and would later hear from Mark Wloch that he saw 29 birds.
Returning to the Middle Causeway I scoped the Dunlin flock for the White-rumped Sandpiper, but couldn't relocate it. I rode back toward the car, and stopped to talk to a few other birders that were out hiking. I spotted a Snowy Egret near the BCNH colony and was able to verify ID w/ the scope. An Indigo Bunting was singing near the pump house and made an irresistable subject for digiscoping.