After breakfast and a quick run out at Lake Erie Metropark Robin and I arrived home shortly before 10 am. The sun was shining and forecasts called for mid 80's today, so it was a gorgeous day to be out. I decided to grab the scope and explore the community a little bit.
I drove over to Paradise Lane and Walloon Way and parked along the street. The fields north of the intersection were growing over but provided a nice mix of trees, emergent wetlands, and fields of Sweet White Clover. The white picket bridge goes over a tiny running stream and provides a nice natural setting for those folks entering the Del Webb Community of Bridgewater.
I headed into the field along the edge of the stream and worked my way through the grasses and wet soil to see what I might find. Red-winged Blackbirds were abundant and singing up ahead. Off in the distance I could hear a few Savannah Sparrows singing. Mosquitos weren't terribly bad, but I managed to feed a few as I moved through the wet surroundings. A few Black-eyed Susans were starting to bloom nearby, so I stopped to photograph a few. Tiny flowers could be seen at my feet, including several varieties of Pinks and tiny Rudbeckia(?) button sunflowers. Daisy Fleabane and Chickory were blooming, as well!
I heard the "Peet-weet" of several Spotted Sandpipers and was surprised to see them flying low over the grass up ahead. A patch of the construction road was under water, and I suspected a nest nearby. I tried my best to photograph the birds as they flew by me in protest to my presence. I faired poorly...
Luckily, I had an easier prize nearby in the form of a Savannah Sparrow. It would perch in the clover just a few feet away and chatter away at me in the open. My only challenge was to get in position with the sun to my back so that the bird wasn't horribly backlit. I took a few photos of the bird w/ the Nikon D7100 and 300/2.8VRII before trying to do some digiscoping.
The bird was following me around, but keeping its distance, so I suspected that it too, had a nest nearby. I was able to get some wonderful digiscoped portraits of the bird in a variety of poses from just 20' away! The Nikon 1 V3 and Digidapter™did a great job capturing the bright yellow eyestripe and bold chest markings. I've been worried for these guys since the fields were mowed earlier in the week; I love hearing their "Tsit-tsit-tsitter-SEE-Say!" song.
I tried to spend as little time as possible near the bird so I didn't spook the nest, so I quickly moved on back toward the car. I found a small patch of Purple Coneflower and decided to photograph it with the D7100 (left), V3, and digiscope it for comparison.
I stopped by the stream and spotted a mink moving along the opposite bank! It stayed in the undergrowth, however, so I was not able to get any pics. But I was even more surprised to see small Ebony Jewelwing damselflies fluttering along the bank! These tiny black and iridescent green damselflies are arguably the loveliest of the 'odes' in Michigan. While digiscoping one little fella I spotted a Green Frog resting quietly in the background!
I then hiked back to the edge of the road and took a few pics of the shallow pond nearby. A Widow Skimmer dragonfly was resting nearby, so I digiscoped him. I was too slow to capture a large Green Darner dragonfly that was hovering just above the water...
I would pause just long enough to get some pics of some Liatris(?) spikes growing in the grass next to the pond. Their bright yellow anthers are confusing since most Blazing Stars do not have colorful anthers. I am "0" for suck when trying to ID these wildflowers, so if anyone can correct me, please do so!