Friday, January 25, 2013

Curse you, eBird! - 23 Jan 2013

I had a decision to make.  Last week's cold snap brought some brutally cold weather and ice (finally) to the Detroit River here in Wyandotte.  Enough ice to cover the entire stretch of river from Eureka Rd. north to Southfield Rd.  Only a small patch of open water next to Mud Island was visible, and it was packed with waterfowl.  As I stood at the south end of John D. Dingell Park I saw hundreds of Mute Swans, Redhead and Canvasbacks.  Panning the quarter-mile stretch of open water I also picked out dozens of Common Goldeneye, Mallard, Canada Geese, a few Gadwall, Common Mergansers and Hooded Mergansers. I really should do a comprehensive count and submit it to eBird, but its freezing out here.  My fingers are numb, and I can't feel my toes.  I'm not dressed for this.

I had made a point that I would use eBird this year.  Enough people had convinced me that it was the right thing to do, and worth the extra effort to do so.  Maybe tomorrow.  I'm too cold.  I packed up the scope and headed back to the car.  I had to turn around to drive south along Biddle Avenue, so I drove up to Southfield and pulled into the parking lot at the north end of the park.

Another large congregation of ducks, geese and swans were tucked into an open water patch on the north side of Mud Island.  Next to the island, on the ice, were also dozens of Great Blue Herons, just standing quietly in the open.  I counted 53 birds!  Damn you, eBird!  I'll do it.

Grabbing my iPhone I used the voice recorder feature and started rattling off counts from the north side of the park.  I guess I should go back and count the rest of the birds at the south end of the park. Hey, the sun's coming out!  Maybe I'll grab a few pics while I'm out here.

Mute Swans were the most numerous.  I counted almost 900 swans, and estimated that only 1 in 20 were Tundra Swans.  A second count proved to be close enough to the first count.  Redheads were in close, while Canvasbacks were out in the middle of the river just inside scope view.  Another sweep of the river counted Canada Geese.  Then another picked up the Mallards, Goldeneye, Gadwall, Mergansers and gulls, which included 1 Great Black-backed Gull.

Turned out that it wasn't too bad.  The voice recorder saved me from having to try to write numbers down.  Ok, eBird, you win.

John D. Dingell Park, Wayne, US-MI
Jan 23, 2013 4:00 PM - 4:15 PM
Protocol: Stationary
Comments:     Detroit River frozen except for open water next to Mud Island and south to Wyandotte Marinas;
15 species

Canada Goose  325
Mute Swan  840
Tundra Swan  45
Gadwall  8
American Black Duck  2
Mallard  200
Canvasback  820
Redhead  700
Common Goldeneye  40
Hooded Merganser  4
Common Merganser  40
Great Blue Heron  53     Standing on ice on north side of Mud Island - easy counting
Ring-billed Gull  34
Herring Gull  5
Great Black-backed Gull  1

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

1 comment:

troutbirder said...

I've come to like the "handiness" of ebird myself. And that hawk owl photo is fantastic. That bird would be a "lifer" for me...:)

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