Tuesday, March 11, 2014

White-winged Scoters! - 11 Mar 2014

Andy Dettling posted on Facebook this morning that he counted 42 White-winged Scoters on the Detroit River in Wyandotte.  I was only a few minutes away, so I stopped by at noon and found the raft of birds floating on the south side of Mud Island across from John Dingell Park at the foot of Southfield Rd.

I returned at 3:30 pm with scope and stopped by the Wyandotte Municipal Boat Ramp; I spotted the raft about 50-75 yds. out toward the middle of the river, and got a handful of flight shots as 49 birds total took off to the north. A single Red-necked Grebe was among them (I saw the bird in the images I had taken).

A second Red-necked Grebe was much closer, just a few yards out from the boat launch.  I managed a few digiscoped images in the late afternoon cloudy skies.


While scoping the river I also spotted a single female Long-tailed Duck, 3 Horned Grebes (including one bird in breeding plumage), and a couple dozen Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, and 6 Bald Eagles on ice flows.

A few of the many Mute Swans were nearby so I digiscoped a few while I waited for the grebe to float closer.

Sadly, the melting snow and ice along the river has been revealing the victims of this vicious winter.  This (presumed) Redhead was one of numerous birds that folks have been finding on the ice and shorelines of Michigan's rivers and lakes.

John D. Dingell Park, Wayne, US-MI
Mar 11, 2014 3:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Protocol: Stationary
Comments:     Open water, small ice flows, calm; 50F; images can be found at http://jerryjourdan.blogspot.com/2014/03/white-winged-scoters-11-mar-2014.html
15 species

Mute Swan  8
Mallard  12
Redhead  2
White-winged Scoter  49     Large flock first reported by Andrew Dettling this morning. I counted 43 birds at noon from the Wyandotte Municipal Boat ramp; the birds were floating on the south side of Mud Island in the Detroit River; this afternoon at 3:30 pm I counted 49 birds total about 50 yds. out from the boat ramp. All but maybe 2-3 birds were adults.
Long-tailed Duck  1     female; in middle of river; scope distance
Bufflehead  12
Common Goldeneye  6
Common Merganser  4
Red-breasted Merganser  6
Ruddy Duck  24
Horned Grebe  3     2 basic plumage; 1 breeding plumage; one bird had thick black band on back of head suggestive of an Eared Grebe but unconfirmed from digiscoped images.
Red-necked Grebe  2     Digiscoped adult bird about 25 yds. out from Wyandotte Municipal boat ramp; 2nd bird among 49 White-winged Scoters in middle of river; 

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