I arrived at the park just after 8 am and noticed the signs alerting drivers to watch for nesting (Snapping) turtles crossing the roads. I headed straight to the Marsh Boardwalk and its cattail marsh. It was going to be a warm one today, with clear skies and temps reaching 90F.
After being buzzed by a second bird just moments later the reason became apparent. This must be the nesting pair that Cherise showed me in yesterday'se-mail! I walked slowly and deliberately to the east end of the boardwalk to 1) get away from the bird nest just a few feet away from the boardwalk, and 2) get the sun to my back so that photographing the birds would be a bit easier. With one bird quietly roosting on its post I set up the digiscoping gear and proceeded to get a few images of the incubating tern. He/she kept a watchful eye for a few moments before closing them and settling back down for a nap.
carrying minnows either as food for hatchlings, or for courting females with the hope of being able to nest. A pair of terns flew in and landed on the railings just to my right. One bird was a juvenile that huddled close to its adult companion. I spent several minutes getting point-blank images through the scope, and enjoyed the absolute best views I ever had with these birds. Black Terns have nested in SE Michigan in the past, but generally are found far out in the Vermet Unit or Humphries Unit at Pt. Mouillee away from photo opportunities.
flying birds. My elation quickly turned to disappointment as I continually missed focusing on passing birds. Though the Nikon 300/2.8 VRII is lightning fast at focus-locking, the mostly-black birds provide no contrast for the camera to lock focus, so most of my attempts resulted in background-focused images. Still, I managed to capture a few images of birds that flew above the vegetation line, or of birds I manually-focused on.
digiscoped images while it was partially back-lit. Despite the lighting I was satisfied w/ how the Nikon V1 was able to expose the bird. A drake Wood Duck along the far shore provided a nice distraction from all of the terns around me.
After experiencing this special moment I continued on, attempting to capture more birds in flight, and to look for new victims to photograph.
A flock of terns were in the corner of the marsh and whirled about for several moments before heading out over the cattails. Other birds continued to hover over the lilies in search of food. As I walked the boardwalk a Swamp Sparrow appeared in the cattails ahead of me. I did several double-takes since the bird looked awfully like a Clay-colored Sparrow, which would be quite out of habitat. A Common Yellowthroat then made a brief appearance before dropping back down into the cattails. A couple of Marsh Wrens were vocalizing, but made no appearances.
one of the adults, and a few photos of the juveniles. A pair of hikers informed me of a Prothonotary Warbler so I headed south along the trail to the boardwalk. Along the way numerous Yellow Warblers were belting out their "Sweet-sweet-sweet-littlemore-sweet"song. Baltimore Orioles were singing and chattering, as well.
immature male bird overhead. Nearby an adult male bird was seen foraging in the leaves, but never completely revealed himself. I managed to run out of digital film at this point, so the birds moved on while I dug out another memory card.
another specimen photographed at the point a bit later, but it looks very similar to the Pearl Crescents that are more common to the south.
orange legs were neat... Winds and waves made the tip of Pt. Pelee obsolete today, but that didn't keep several people from wandering out into the water where currents are especially strong. A couple of young park personnel had to shoo them back in and warn them of the hazards.