Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Early November at the Refuge - 07 Nov 2015

Saturday morning brought clear skies, cool temperatures, and the desire to check out the Gibraltar Bay Unit of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. I grabbed the cameras and digiscoping equipment and headed to Grosse Ile, MI to do a bit of exploring.

Inside the gate the hedges were alive with the 'tseeet' of White-throated Sparrows. Northern Cardinals and American Robins were also active, as well as a singing Carolina Wren. Even a White-tailed Deer paused to inspect me. As I walked past Lake Gibraltar a dozen Great Blue Herons were roosting at all heights in the trees. A few were flying, but most were just enjoying the first rays of the morning's sun.

Just inside the trail a flock of White-throated Sparrows were chasing each other through the cattails while a Swamp Sparrow foraged at my feet. Overhead a pair of Golden-crowned Kinglets were chattering at a White-breasted Nuthatch and Red-bellied Woodpecker that were foraging a bit too close for their liking.

As I chased the kinglets and tried to get a photo a female Purple Finch made a surprise appearance.

The trail follows the fence line separating the refuge from the Grosse Ile Airport. This morning it seemed like dozens of White-Throated Sparrows preferred the airport side of the fence.

The Gibraltar Bay was active with duck hunters, but I took a few minutes to get some pics of the golden trees lining the shore.

A flock of Cedar Waxwings was a nice find. Overhead two dozen birds were roosting atop a tree and chattering like a flock of Pine Siskins. Note that the 'zriiiiIIII' call so diagnostic for Pine Siskins is also made by an active flock of waxwings.

They were chased away when an even larger flock of four dozen European Starlings flew in to feed on the dogwood berries still clinging to the shrubs. My angle made it difficult to get a clear shot of the birds in their breeding spots.

The trail follows the Detroit River and provides nice views of the river. It was also nice to see some green still clinging for its life.

As I continued on the trail a half-dozen American Robins stopped by to forage on some dogwood berries, as well.

As I returned to the car a flock of Rusty Blackbirds announced their appearance by their distinctive, high-pitched squeaky gate call.

The sun was now high enough over the trees to illuminate Lake Gibraltar so I spent some time digiscoping the Great Blue Herons that didn't flush at my approach.

Thank you, DRIWR for the special access permit to visit the refuge!

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