Monday, August 1, 2011

Calm Before the Shorebird Storm - 31 Jul 2011

As I iterated in my last post, I'm now waiting (impatiently) for an influx of shorebirds from the north.  Jean Iron has been reporting shorebird numbers out of James Bay, while others are starting to see the 'Fall Migration" season starting in the UP.

Here, the weather is hot, and the birding is slow (somewhat).  I parked at Siegler Rd. this morning and rode straight to the dike separating Vermet and Long Pond Units.  Another Least Bittern took flight over the cattails, but again too far to photograph.  Instead, I stopped to photograph a butterfly...

Recent rains have swelled the Units some, so birds were in deeper water.  Luckily, the White-faced Ibis pair were just across the channel again this morning, so I had the opportunity for some digiscoping before moving on.  Gorgeous birds in perfect light! Who could ask for more?

I rode on to Cell 3, where I met up w/ friend and fellow photog Cherise Charron. We chatted a bit and caught up w/ area sightings, but failed to see any good birds in Cell 3.  A few Caspian Terns and Forster's Terns were roosting on logs in the mudflats, but no shorebirds.

I then headed toward the Vermet Unit, stopping ever so briefly to grab a quick pick or 12 of a Common Moorhen (oops, sorry! Now called 'Common Gallinule' (Gallinula galeata)) and her 2 youngsters struggling to swim through the algae and duckweed lining the shoreline. 

Purple Martins were roosting in the dead trees along the dike (~150), and a single Bald Eagle was with them.  I was surprised to see it lift off from the trees, then soar directly overhead, giving me wonderful views (and shots) from a few feet away!  The Osprey pair that have been roosting/nesting (failed?) in the Vermet Unit were also in the dead trees, but flew off before I could get near them.

Even the dragonflies were avoiding the heat this morning, so I headed back to the car and called it a morning.

Osprey note: The two youngsters in the Humphries Unit appear to have fledged, as I saw only the parents on the tower this morning.  The pair in the Vermet Unit have a nest, but no young.  The nesting pair on Port Sunlight Rd. and Estrel Beach have a single youngster!

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