Sunday, August 26, 2012
Binge-Birding, Pt 1 - 24 Aug 2012
The weekend promised to be hot, with clear skies, high humidity, and temps to reach mid 90's. I decided to get a few hours in first thing Friday morning, so I arrived at Pt. Mouillee SGA just after 6 am. Target birds were Red-necked Phalaropes and Yellow-headed Blackbirds reported earlier this week by Andrew Sturgess. The morning would prove to be real slow.
I had hoped to possibly see a Whimbrel or two in the SE corner, but the fields produced no visible birds of any sort. With the sun now rising out of the east, the SW corner was severely backlit.
I decided to walk the path out into the marsh toward the duck trap, and where the Canada Geese and Great Egrets normally congregate. Along the way I flushed a half-dozen Wilson's Snipe from the emergent grasses to my left. A few Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs were foraging nearby, but they tended to scatter to the alarm calls of the ever-noisy Killdeer.
I reached the duck trap and found a dead Redhead Duck inside. It must've wandered into the trap during the night (lured by piles of corn), but was unable to get out. I'm guessing a mink or weasle got in and tore it to shreds. Sad...
After work I dropped Robin off in Dearborn and headed over to her Mom's house to load up some paint/chemicals for disposal tomorrow. I was not overly enthused about heading back to Pt. Mouillee afterward, given the slow morning, but forced myself to grab the gear and head back. It was hot and windy, but I decided to give it a go.
I walked back out to the duck trap and found that it had been removed. With no birds anywhere to be seen, I walked back to the corner to try to digiscope some Short-billed Dowitchers and Stilt Sandpipers that were now foraging along the west shoreline.
I then spotted a Baird's Sandpiper on the mud next to the Semipalmated Sandpipers. As I turned the scope on it a Northern Harrier appeared over the cattails and flushed everything in flight. The semipalms returned, but the Baird's Sandpiper disappeared. I stayed for another 15 minutes, watching waves of Blue-winged Teal and Mallard fly in and fill in the open waters. It was getting dark, so I headed home. Tomorrow would be a big day - chemical disposal, then a trip to Ohio and shorebirding at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.