Monday, August 4, 2014

Shotgun Birding - 03 Aug 2014

Not really, but felt a bit like it. I only had about 2 hours this morning and had a lot of ground to cover. Yesterday a Yellow-crowned Night Heron was reported in the NE corner of the Humphries Unit, and a Marbled Godwit was reported in Cell 5 of Pt. Mouillee SGA.

I parked at Roberts Rd. and rode out to Cell 3 of the Banana Unit, where I headed east toward the Lake Erie shoreline to put the sun behind my back.  From there I scanned the SW corner and the peninsula to see what birds were present.  Shorebird numbers were down, but a few Lesser Yellowlegs and Semipalmated Sandpipers continued along the water's edge.  American White Pelicans continued (about 3 dozen) among the 1st year Herring Gulls and Ring-billed Gulls. The American Avocet continues to linger in the area - this time it was near the west shoreline.

Behind me the 2nd-cycle Great Black-backed Gull continued along the Lake Erie shoreline.  I was excited to digiscope the bird so that I could compare image quality from the Nikon 1 V3 with the Sony RX100 III. Both cameras produce almost identical results.  The V3 was easier to focus, however, and 10 fps made sharp captures easier to obtain.

In the NE corner of Cell 3 a half-dozen Short-billed Dowitchers were hanging around. I would only see one Stilt Sandpiper in the area.  Least Sandpipers and a couple of Semipalmated Plovers were running around on the mudflats.

I rode around the north end of Cell 3 and stopped long enough to say 'hi' to Dan Gertiser, then headed toward the North Causeway and Vermet Unit.  I scanned the NE corner of the Humphries Unit but failed to find any evidence of a Yellow-crowned Night Heron. One bird showed some promise but failed to make itself visible enough to ID, so it went into the books as as Black-crowned Night Heron.

Great Egrets were congregating along the east shoreline of Cell 3, and I was able to estimate 350 birds! I stopped long enough to digiscope a couple birds.

I then rode around the north end of Cell 4 and checked out Cell 5 for the Marbled Godwit.  No luck, either. A Greater Yellowlegs was present among three Lesser Yellowlegs. Baltimore Orioles, Yellow Warblers and Eastern Kingbirds kept hopping trees ahead of me as I rode back around to the Vermet Unit.

In the NE corner of the Vermet Unit I spent a couple of minutes digiscoping a Pectoral Sandpiper on the mudflats. I then rode back toward the Middle Causeway where I chatted a bit w/ Jim Fowler, who was birding among the likes of Don Chalfant, Tex Wells, Dan Fox and Todd Palgut. A Snowy Egret was present in the Vermet Unit, but none had relocated either the Tricolored Heron or the Yellow-crowned Night Heron.

I then followed the group back toward Cell 3 where a Wilson's Phalarope appeared among the Semipalmated Sandpipers and Lesser Yellowlegs.  My time was up, however, and I headed back to the car, stopping just long enough to say 'hi' to Rick Brigham, who graced us w/ his presence from the west side of the State!

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