Sunday, March 22, 2015

Lapland Longspur - 22 Mar 2015

This Lapland Longspur popped out from the side of Haggerman Rd. and flew a short distance before landing among the stubble. I was able to get a few pics from the car before it flew farther away! Otherwise, the only action on the road were the scattered Horned Larks and their 'tinkling' calls in the fields.

Although signs of spring have emerged for the past week or two (Red-winged Blackbirds, Skunk Cabbage, temps above freezing) winter is slowly loosing its grip on the ponds at Pt. Mouillee SGA. As I rode my bike from the Roberts Road entrance around Cell 1 of the Banana Unit I could see that only patches of the Humphries Unit held open water. Lake Erie was open, but ice shelves up to 3' thick were piled along the shoreline. American Coot, Ring-necked Ducks, and Canvasback were staging in shallows of Lake Erie waiting for the ponds to open.

I left the bike and hiked back into Cell 1 where recent construction equipment had left a 'road' of shredded  bark. A large expanse of open water could be seen in the middle of the cell, and when I rode back around toward Cell 2, I could see that a large dike had been constructed. A large swath of phragmites had been cleared on either side of the canal.  A road has also been constructed between Cells 1 and 2? I had hoped to see some lurking Snowy Owls but only found a flock of 8 Killdeer.

A portion of Cell 3 had open water and a large group of Ring-billed Gulls sporting their breeding whites were congregating along the shoreline. Check out Paul Poronto's latest post to see what I mean.  No white-winged gulls were among them.

As I returned to the car I heard, then saw, a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the SW corner of the Humphries Unit.

A quick drive over to Pt. Mouillee HQ yielded a handful of Northern Cardinals by the fence. I took a few photos of them from the car using the Nikon V3 attached to the 300/2.8 VRII and 1.7TCII.

On the way home I found a Red-tailed Hawk on the roadside and grabbed a few hand-held shots through the car window (closed) before it flew off. They were fuzzy enough so I converted the image at left using a Watercolor filter in Photoshop.

In another week or so the ice should be completely gone and the ducks will be packing the inland units of Pt. Mouillee!

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