Saturday, November 10, 2012

Rusty Blackbirds - 07 Nov 2012

After dropping Robin off at the airport this afternoon, I decided to make a swing through Michigan Memorial Cemetery (Huron River Dr. and Willow Rd.).  I was looking for White-winged and Red Crossbills.  I didn't find any. However, there was a nice mix of Golden-crowned Kinglets, Dark-eyed Juncos, and Black-capped Chickadees to keep me focused.  A brief moment of excitement occurred when a small flock of red birds appeared overhead and landed in one of the spruce trees ladened w/ cones - they turned out to be House Finches...

From there I drove down to Pt. Mouillee HQ.  A Red-tailed Hawk was perched on the side of Campau Rd., but took off before I could bring the car to a slow halt. I managed a half-wing in one frame and missed a dozen other captures.

About 200 Rusty Blackbirds graced the trees lining the driveway past the fence.  My first attempt at getting some images failed, as they all took off across the road and into the sunset.  So I made a swing through the parking lot and made note of a dozen Bonaparte's Gulls passing along the river.

Returning to entrance fence, the Rusty Blackbirds returned.  This time I was able to grab a scope and digiscope them from about 200' away.  I quickly learned that they like to sit w/ their backs to the late afternoon sun, since every bird I scoped had its back to me.  So I had to wait for them to at least look around so I could capture those dazzling yellow eyes.



From there I made a quick swing down Rheaume Rd. where I spotted an American Kestrel on the wires over the quarry, but it was too far to photograph.  American Tree Sparrows have returned in force, lining the road and phragmite stands.  No hawks were seen over the dump.

As I drove down Roberts Rd. back toward US-Turnpike another Red-tailed Hawk appeared in the shadows.  It was cooperative, allowing several frames before deciding to continue on its way.

With it now getting dark I headed for home.  Along Biddle Ave. just north of the Grosse Ile Toll Bridge I spotted the resident Northern Mockingbird on an overhead wire.  "I still have time". I grabbed the scope and got some last-light images of it before heading home.

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