Sunday, August 21, 2016

Friday Nite Flights - 19 Aug 2016

With several heavy storms earlier this week I was curious if Cell 3 at Pt. Mouillee might finally have some water in it. So, this evening I rode the Middle Causeway from Mouillee Creek entrance to check out birds.  A swing by the Antennae Farm on Haggerman Rd had only produced a single American Kestrel.

Out near the junction of the Walpatich and Nelson Units I spotted seven Sandhill Cranes flying over.

Great Egrets were spread out all over the Humphries Unit, which didn't appear to show as much exposed shoreline as last week. I did not see any Tricolored Herons that were reported last weekend.

Black Swallowtail butterflies were out in force along the Middle Causeway; as were Mourning Cloaks and Red Admirals.

As I reached the Vermet Unit I saw a squadron of fighter jets and a single bomber plane out over Lake Erie. It was the Breitling Jet Team doing some maneuvers over the lake! A B-17(?) was among them.

I caught up w/ John Monroe and his friend Chris Hardwick(?) near the Banana Unit scoping a flock of Bobolink in the NE corner of the Humphries Unit. About 4 dozen of the golden sparrows were flying among the phragmites. A large flock of blackbirds (mostly Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles and European Starlings) were flushing nearby; they had seen as many as 8 Yellow-headed Blackbirds among them.

I rode around the east side of Cell 3 and scoped a pair of Baird's Sandpipers out in the still-dry cell. Several Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers were present, as well. I would run into David Anomato and he would report a pair of Baird's, as well a a pair of Sanderlings along the Lake Erie shoreline.

Several Bobolink were calling from the vegetation along the south end of Cell 3. I would spot several Common Yellowthroat and Yellow Warblers among the trees. A single, juvenile Indigo Bunting made a brief appearance.

Riding back along the west side of Cell 3 I came across a baby Northern Water Snake. I took a few pics of it before hustling it back into the weeds along the side of the trail.

Meanwhile, a flock of American White Pelicans were swimming in the Humphries Unit, so I digiscoped a video from the dike.

As I rode back down the Middle Causeway I found several Yellow-headed Blackbirds among the still-present blackbird flock.

Back near the pump house I spotted a singing Indigo Bunting that allowed me some low-light digiscoping (ISO 3200) images from 30' away.

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