Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fields of Silk - 03 Aug 2013

The sun rising over the Long Pond Unit at 7 am revealed countless orb-shaped spiderwebs that glowed in the golden, backlit mist.  I commented that a person could walk into the marsh wearing cotton and come out wearing silk!

The day would prove to be a hot one, but clear skies brought out a nice sunrise over the marsh.  A Green Heron caught the first rays from the dead tree overlooking the Lotus beds in the Mouillee Creek near the pumphouse. A Belted Kingfisher proved to be too far away for good digiscoping, while a Song Sparrow provided better views (and pics).

But it was the spiders that took center stage this morning.  Their webs, that is...

I managed a few digiscoped images of shorebirds along the dike separating Bloody Run and Long Pond Units.

A few more shorebirds were foraging in the Long Pond Unit just south of the North Causeway dike, so I waded into the wet field to get closer.  I managed to find a Wilson's Snipe hiding quietly in the open while Lesser Yellowlegs, Killdeer, Semipalmated Sandpipers and Plovers scattered every few minutes. A single Stilt Sandpiper was also nice to see.

By the time I reached the goldenrod fields along the north end of the Humphries Unit the sun was high enough to provide better photographs.  This juvenile Tree Swallow could be easily confused with the similar-looking Bank Swallow, but the chest banding is a bit on the light side.  Plus, the 300+ Tree Swallows it was roosting with gave me a bit more confidence with the ID.  But I'm probably wrong...

A surprise sighting was this Yellow-headed Blackbird!  Proof enough of a successful nesting here at the Moo?  I had a tough time digiscoping it over and between the swaying plants.

With no shorebird habitat anywhere in Cell 3 I didn't stick around.  A small amount of mud is starting to appear in the SW corner, but only a few Semipalmated Sandpipers were present.

While riding back to the car I decided to get a few of the 400+ Great Egrets roosting in the Humphries Unit.

I was back at the car by 9:30 am, so I took a spin by Roberts Rd.  A pair of Osprey were still on the nest along Roberts Rd. but backlighting made digiscoping impossible.  This Red-tailed Hawk was perched in the trees across from the quarry, and I was able to get some nice digiscoped images from 200' away.

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