Saturday, May 23, 2015

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks! - 21 May 2015

Yesterday Andy Dettling and Scott Jennex found a flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks in a small retention pond in the Fox Hills subdivision just west of Pennsylvania and Beech Daly Roads. I saw the e-mail and learned that these birds were just 2 miles away at the north end of Brownstown Twp, so I grabbed the scope and camera and headed to Trenton???

I had just dropped Robin off for a hair appointment and had to go pick her up. So, when I got to her appointment at 7 pm I pleaded w/ her stylist to "cut quick" so we could chase the birds. I could've been antsy the whole time, but I was calm and didn't rush them. When she was finished, we headed down Pennsylvania Rd. past Beech Daly to Michigan Heights Dr. and turned left into the subdivision. About a quarter-mile back into the subdivision, on the left, we found a small pond. No ducks. :(  I would later learn that they were flushed by someone walking their dog.  So we drove home.

This afternoon Allen Chartier reported that the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were back at the pond so I decided to swing by after work. I arrived to see 8 ducks sleeping on the fountain head in the middle of the pond, and another 6 along the far shore.  I spent some time digiscoping them and taking videos, and then spent some time chatting with a lovely lady (Marianna) who owned the house adjacent to both ponds (the other in back). She mentioned that up to 20 BBWD had been there for several days, and was curious to find out what kind of ducks they were (they were not in any of the Michigan field guides she had). I explained that these were considered rare birds for Michigan and most likely got blown north from the Gulf during the storms from the past week. Only 4-5 State Records exist since 2006.

I had only ever seen these ducks at the Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, Fl, so it was a real treat to get to photograph them inside my own township.

When I got home I found a single White-crowned Sparrow below the feeders behind the house. Yard Bird #42. I tried digiscoping it, but my little Buffy decided to walk out on the open ledge and perch in front of my scope as I tried to digiscope it through the open window. Oh, well...

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