Sunday, January 10, 2016

Pt Mouillee SGA - 09 Jan 2016

After yesterday's heavy rainfall I took the chance to bike down at Pt. Mouillee SGA in Monroe Co., MI. Trails were soft, and biking was a bit strenuous, especially with winds blowing across the lake. I had parked at Roberts Road entrance and biked the Banana Unit to look for Snowy Owls (nope) and / or Short-eared Owls (nope).

Inland units are finally freezing over. Vermet and Humphries Units are about 80-90 % frozen, with little pockets of open water filled with American Coot, Gadwall and Mallard. Lake Erie is open for the most part, with shallows holding some ice. A pair of Great Black-backed Gulls were seen just off the parking lot area among a dozen or so Herring and Ring-billed Gulls. Small groups of 6 - 10 Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, and / or American Coot were drifting next to shore as I biked around the east side of the Banana.

Three Bonaparte's Gulls were foraging next to the shoreline behind Cell 2. Despite low light and blowing winds I decided to try for a few pics of my favorite winter gull. In flight one can see the lovely white  P7.5 - P10 feathers contrasting against the gray P1-7.5 feathers (I say P7.5 because half the flight feather is gray while the other half is bright white).

Cell 3 was void of movement. Despite open mudflats I could not find a late winter shorebird or Snowy Owl. It was barren.

Cell 4 held a few ducks, including a small raft of Ruddy Ducks that included a single Surf Scoter (juvenile male)!  A Horned Grebe was seen out in the lake.

A large flight of scaup and Common Goldeneye was seen heading south.  Several thousand birds forming large ribbons across the sky.

The sun finally popped out for a few minutes, otherwise it was cloudy and dark.

As I was driving out of the parking lot a Red-tailed Hawk perched on a nearby snag and posed nicely when the sun popped out. It was a juvenile with heavily worn tail feathers.

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