Sunday, July 17, 2011

Forster's Terns, Today! - 09 Jul 2011

It was a late morning / quick trip for me to Pt. Mouillee today.  Robin and I had just run 7.5 mi early this morning, so I was getting a late start.  By the time I had arrived here it was already 9:30 am and the heat was building quickly.  I thought I had hydrated properly, but found myself slamming water as fast as I could drink it!

I rode the Middle Causeway from Mouillee Creek entrance to the west dike of the Bloody Run Unit and headed toward the North Causeway.  Nothing much to report.  I did stop long enough to digiscope this lovely male Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) from 18' (closest focus possible w/ the Zeiss 85).

Riding the North Causeway to the dike separating Vermet and Long Pond Units I walked the bike until I caught up w/ Todd Palgut. He had been scoping the east end of the Long Pond Unit looking for the Plegadis Ibis seen/reported earlier in the week, and also for the Little Blue Heron reported by Joe Hildreth.  We scanned the same location I had seen the ibis earlier in the week, but failed to spot it.  We also dipped on the Little Blue Heron.

Our only consolation was a fly-by Least Bittern, and this Forster's Tern that foraged in the canal in front of us.  I spent several minutes capturing flight-sequences as it hovered, then dove for minnows and sunfish in the canal.  Unfortunately for me I was either too slow to keep up w/ the diving tern, or it disappeared below the cattails before hitting water.  Either way, I couldn't capture any splash-downs today...

From there I rode up to Cell 3, where dredgings were actively being pumped into the cell, bringing water levels up and creating (hopefully) entirely new mudflats for this fall's crop of migrating shorebirds.  The only open land was along the east side of Cell 3 where I found numerous Forster's Terns, ducks, and a single American White Pelican.  I was dead thirsty, and the pelican was showing heat stress from the rising temperatures, so I opted not to ride to the east dike to digiscope it.  Instead, I headed back to the car.

Along the way a Whitetail doe appeared in the sunflower field along the Middle Causeway, and bounded across the road in front of me.  It showed so much red on its back as I fired away from 100'.


"Dr. Bob" said...

Silly birding in this weather but then you are much younger! But running? Whew! You guys are nuts! I loved the composite tern pic! Indeed you always inspire me! I think I will be sitting at home this week during the oppessive heat and just maybe I might try a trick or two you taught me about composites or stiching. It is a great time to "play" indoors!

"Dr. Bob" said...

We will not even try birding in this oppressive heat! But running? You guys are nuts!
But I loved the composite tern pic!
While I sit home this week, maybe I can apply some of the lessons you taught me about composite pics and/or stiching.
Or maybe I can just get all my other pics downloaded. It has to beat "field work"! Great job!

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