Friday, May 31, 2013
The Humphries Unit by Canoe - 26 May 2013
With special thanks to Barb Baldinger, Barb Jensen and Sergej Postupalsky, I received this reply from Sergej regarding the female:
I'm tickled pink to have the confirmation that the female I had trapped and uniquely color-banded at the Humphries Unit in 2009 at is still nesting there.
Briefly, her history is as follows:
I had reports that the female at the Humphries Unit had a red band on her left leg, the oldest dating from the OWSEM website in 2006. (I band nestling with the FWS band on the right leg and a single color band on the left leg to identify hatching year. Red was used in 2002). So I was particularly eager to learn where she came from.
On 5/20/09 Zack Cooley took Barb (Jensen) and me to the nest and I succeeded in catching the female. The numbered FWS band (788-44564) showed that she was banded as nestling on 7/10/02 at the Tomahawk Creek Flooding north of Atlanta, MI. I replaced the old red band with a fresh one and added color bands to produce:
black/red on L, FWS/yellow on R. I purposely used bright colors to facilitate re-sightings. Since then I've been eagerly waiting for any reports of re-sightings. That's why your report is especially welcome and useful to my research. Apparently she has lost the red band. It was one of the new Darvic bands sealed with PVC cement. The old band was plastic sealed with acetone.
It appears then that this female has been nesting at this platform site at least since 2006 when she was 4 years old. She is 11 years old now. Ospreys typically start nesting at 3 or 4 years of age. The longevity record for a banded Osprey currently stands at 25 years; the oldest one, a female, in my study was 24 when last seen.
From there we headed to the egret rookery that is so readily seen from the dike next to Cell 3. We were interested in seeing if there were any Snowy or Cattle Egrets nesting that we could not see from the dike. Although we would dip on both species, we counted approximately 300 Black-crowned Night Herons and another 200 Great Egrets nesting on the island. Most of the birds were visible on the backside of the island not visible from the dikes. Of special interest were the flocks of over 250 Wood Ducks that were using the island as a roosting location!
The dense snags that make up the rookery prevented us from getting close to shore, but we did manage to get close enough to spot one nest w/ three Great Egret hatchlings. Its hard to call these chicks cute, since they look like tiny Velociraptors w/ white wigs. Two birds were fencing each other while the third was sleeping underneath.
While circling the island rookery Will spotted a flock of seven American White Pelicans flying in the extreme northeast corner of the unit. They circled several times before flying right past us and on toward Cell3 / Lake Erie. Once we got a count of the birds in the rookery we headed to the east shoreline at the south end of Cell 3 to look for the pelicans. We did not find them, so we walked up to the mudflats of Cell 3 to look for shorebirds. We would only find a handful of Dunlin and a single Semipalmated Sandpiper, otherwise Cell 3 was largely void of shorebirds.
We half-expected to find some Whimbrels in the vicinity, but failed to do so. Incidentally, we would hear reports of Whimbrel flocks flying toward Lake Erie / Toronto from West Virginia, so we expected that the big Whimbrel flight near Pt. Mouillee would occur in the next day or so...
Satisfied that we had covered enough water for the morning, we canoed back to Roberts Rd. and called it a day. Though the Humphries Unit is a large body of water, one cannot fully appreciate the amount of 'hidden' habitat that is available in the unit. Unless you explore by water, much of it remains hidden from view of the dikes lining the east and north shorelines.
Many thanks to Will Weber for the opportunity to explore the hidden portions of the marsh by canoe!
Pte. Mouillee SGA--Lead Unit, Monroe, US-MI
May 26, 2013 6:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Comments: Canoe Exploration of Humphries (Lead) Unit of Point Mouillee SGA with Jerry Jourdan
Canada Goose 250
Mute Swan 16
Wood Duck 250 Large flock of males and females near heron rookery island. Surprised to see so many as no apparent nesting habitat nearby. Generally, pairs and groups of up to six were lurking throughout the areas of patchy cattail, no trees necessary! From the dike, I would have likely seen only 6-8 birds.
Blue-winged Teal 2
Lesser Scaup 1
Ruddy Duck 8
Ring-necked Pheasant 1
Pied-billed Grebe 25 This seems to few given how common the birds has seemed in the past. No nests found
Double-crested Cormorant 120
American White Pelican 7 Noted flying over Lead Unit as one flock one hour later noted a flock of 3 in a different area, but may have been from same first group. Did not see them land. Did not land in Cell 3
Great Blue Heron 12
Great Egret 220
Green Heron 2
Black-crowned Night-Heron 300 Large colony in active breeding stage. Estimate based upon count of adults in tree and bushes, not young.Possible that the colony is larager as we did not get close enough to detect all nests and incubating birds. Most of these birds are not visilble from middle causewy or Banana Dike.
Bald Eagle 1
Common Gallinule 2
American Coot 30
Semipalmated Plover 2
Spotted Sandpiper 2
Willet 1 Single bird flying over Lead Unit about . Called loudly and large bill, size and broad wing stripe noted. Probably a late migrant.
Lesser Yellowlegs 1
Semipalmated Sandpiper 2
Caspian Tern 6
Forster's Tern 300 At least three main colony areas in Lead Unit. Noted several nests on muskrat houses. Many birds diving at us an great amount of screaming. Up to 120 birds in the air in one place at one time as we paddled through colony area. Ideal habitate seemed to be patchy cattails with dense clumps and open areas with closely spaced muskrat houses. No young in nests yet.
Belted Kingfisher 2
Eastern Kingbird 4
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 2
Tree Swallow 35
Barn Swallow 50
Marsh Wren 15 These were singing birds seemingly randomly distributed through the Unit. I expected more birds and have heard many more in the same area from the dike alone in the same area in previous years.
Yellow Warbler 4
Swamp Sparrow 3
Northern Cardinal 1
Red-winged Blackbird 400
Yellow-headed Blackbird 25 Several obsaervations of territorial males chasing rival. Calling heard in several areas. Many males seen and females presumed incubating. Number noted includes birds heard calling and visually observed. Most of the birds we saw would only be seen coincidentally from dikes.
Baltimore Oriole 1