Monday, July 23, 2012

No White Ibis for me - 21 Jul 2012

Mary Trombley had a wonderful find today at Pt. Mouillee SGA in Monroe Co., MI. An immature White Ibis!  The bird was found in the Vermet Unit at about 10:30 am, just about the time I had thrown the bike back in the car and was heading for home.  Which is not to say that I would've or should've seen it - I was along the western side of the Vermet at 6:30 am and probably walked right past it.  However, my panorama photos of the 400 or so Great Egrets frequenting the area failed to yield the Cattle Egret or Snowy Egret that were also seen w/ the ibis.  So it possible that the bird(s) was(were)  elsewhere.  I was not disappointed, however, since I had a pretty good morning w/o the birds.

While driving West Jefferson through Trenton this morning I spotted the Wild Turkey that Mark Wloch reported seeing last week.  The bird was in the middle island feeding quietly while cars passed by.  I stopped to get a few pics, but lighting was still poor at 6:30 am.  What a great start to the day!

The Middle Causeway and Mouillee Creek parking lot were roped off this morning.  Apparently the DNR has gotten a grant to improve shorebird habitat along the Middle Causeway, so this is great news!
I therefore parked at Siegler Rd. parking lot and rode the North Causeway out to the dike separating the  west shore of the Vermet and east shore of the Long Pond Units.  A small flock of Bobolink were quietly perched in the grasses along the dike and provided some nice digiscoping before 7 am.  A female Common Yellowthroat was also nearby, but refused to perch high enough for a clean image.

Great Egrets were roosting along the western shore of the Vermet Unit, and were at times too numerous to count.  I swept the expanse w/ the camera, but the early morning light was pretty harsh, so I didn't bother to put a panorama together.

Lesser Yellowlegs were quite noisy in this area, and flushed in small flocks of 3 - 6 birds.  They manage to flush a larger flock of a half-dozen Short-billed Dowitchers and a pair of Stilt Sandpipers.  I followed them toward the Middle Causeway hoping to digiscope them, but they circled a few times and disappeared to the east.

A Least Bittern made a fly-by while I was scanning the Humphries Unit from the Middle Causeway.  I was slow to get the camera out of the CottonCarrier vest, but managed a couple of flight shots just before it landed in the cattails just out from shore.  The bird then appeared atop the cattails for a few moments before flying to a second patch of cattails, and then back toward the Long Pond Unit.

The fields along the southeast end of the Vermet and northeast end of the Humphries were mowed, so there was little activity except for flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds.

I rode out to Cell 3, where work crews appeared to be readying to pump dredgings back into the cell.  Large tractors were moving the black conduit across the rode to be hooked up to the barge docked in the south end of Cell 4.  I walked out to the east dike of Cell 3 to check on shorebirds.

Least Sandpipers, and a half-dozen Sanderlings were running about on the mud near the water's edge.  Several more Lesser Yellowlegs were foraging nearby, and near them were three Stilt Sandpipers!  It was at this point that I realized the Nikon V1 was set to Program-Priortity w/ Auto-Iso set to 3200.  I took a few pics of the sandpipers as they foraged near shore, but when they moved off I spent the next 30 minutes trying to return the camera to Aperture-priority.  Couldn't do it, so I continued on w/ present settings.

A large flock of shorebirds were foraging along the mud spit located at the center of the east shoreline.  These included mostly Lesser Yellowlegs, Short-billed Dowitchers, a Semipalmated Plover, several Semipalmated Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers, and another 3-4 Stilt Sandpipers.  I thought about trying to climb down the dike to the mud flat to get closer, but decided not to risk the equipment on the vegetation lining the shoreline.  So I took a few digiscoped images from the dike.  A fly-by Osprey was real curious about me, since every photo I took of it passing by had it staring directly at me!

Will Weber stopped by, and we caught up.  I continued back toward the Vermet Unit where I watched a Northern Harrier (female) soar out over the unit with flocks of blackbirds on its tail.  Scattered flocks of Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpipers, and Short-billed Dowitchers were scattering out over the marsh, but none came close enough for photos.

My only other encounter of the morning was seeing three Sandhill Cranes soaring in to land near the east end of the Bloody Run Unit.  I took a few digiscoped images of the young, cinnamon-colored birds.

Hopefully the ibis will still be around this week.  I hope to get out one of these mornings before work to see if I can some pics of it.

1 comment:

dAwN said...

Seems like an awesome time! Sorry you didn't get the ibis..yet.
I love the photos and Espcially the last photo of the Sandhills cranes!

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