Saturday, November 19, 2016

Monroe County Birding - 19 Nov 2016

Seventy degrees yesterday. Forty degrees today with rain and snow showers. Welcome to Michigan.

I drove down to Lotus Rd. to check for gulls and found only a handful of Ring-billed Gulls, a single Red-tailed Hawk, and six Great Blue Herons. It was quickly apparent that the tide was out here along the shores of Lake Erie as the canals and shoreline were exposed mudflats.

I drove over to Sterns Rd on the east side of the turnpike to scope the marsh along the south side of the Gun Club. I was drawn by the 400+ Bonaparte's Gulls, but stayed for the 700+ ducks that included 400 Northern Pintail and another 300 Gadwall. Another 100 or so Northern Shovelers and American Wigeon with a dozen or Mallard and Black Duck mixed in.  Farther out in the canal were another 1000 ducks that included Ruddy Ducks, American Coot, Common Mergansers and most likely Bufflehead and possibly some Common Goldeneye.

I would drive over to Bay Creek Rd. and scope the flocks again from the north side of the canal, and manage to get a few pics from a half-mile away. A Bald Eagle flushed the duck flock, so I was able to get a few pics of the birds in flight with the knowledge that the true size of the flock was about another 5-6 fields of view larger.

A 4K video of the ducks allowed a frame or two to be captured.

I then drove to the Whiting Plant and walked the beach. With the Consumers Energy Plant now shut down, and the winds pushing Lake Erie to the west I was able to walk the beach past the discharge canal w/o getting my feet wet! A single Lesser Black-backed Gull and two Great Black-backed Gulls were found among the two hundred or so Herring / Ring-billed Gulls that crowded the sandbars. A Horned Grebe was a nice find, as well.

At Bolles Harbor a Belted Kingfisher was close enough to digiscope, but low light made for a challenging subject.

Three Bonaparte's Gulls were the highlight at Sterling State Park.

Pt. Mouillee was a no-go due to the number of waterfowlers along Roberts Rd.

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