Saturday, January 14, 2017

Late Night at the Moo - 13 Jan 2017

Robin and I got back from dinner this evening, and it was still light. In fact, with little-to-no wind and  quiet sunset occurring I got the bug to run down to Pt. Mouillee to see if I could pick up a Short-eared Owl or two at dusk. So, I grabbed the bike and headed to Siegler Rd parking lot. From there I biked the North Causeway to the junction of Vermet and Long Pond Units where I would walk far enough to scope the junction of Middle Causeway, Vermet and Long Pond Units.

I quickly learned that temperatures were a good 10 degrees cooler near Lake Erie, and a fairly stiff wind was blowing from the north, so my quiet / mild evening suddenly got COLD! Lucky for me I had a face mask and a second hat, as I would need both to survive this suddenly-stupid idea. The Border Patrol guy had it right; he was parked at the junction of Vermet / Long Pond Units, and had the heat running. I waved and rode past before dismounting and walking the rest of the way.

I got about half way along the dike and spotted a single Short-eared Owl perched on a post next to the Middle Causeway. I was too far away to get any pics, and it was gone by the time I got close enough to digiscope. As it got dark I just stood and listened to the dozens of Tundra Swans trumpeting as they flew past in flocks of 10-20 birds.  Otherwise, it was only me and the wind. And cold.

I was suddenly startled by the bugling of a flock of Sandhill Cranes flying overhead. 26 birds! eBird would later consider this a rare sighting. A single Northern Harrier was also making the last round of the night before settling down for a night's sleep.

I stayed long enough to lose visuals through the scope and started back to the car. I would have a bit of difficulty finding the bike next to the trail in the dark, but managed to get back to the car without ditch-diving. I was also fortunate that the road had refrozen, which made riding easier.

US-MI-Rockwood-37205 Pte Mouille, Monroe, Michigan, US
Jan 13, 2017 5:37 PM - 6:37 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
Comments:     Went before dark specifically for Short-eared Owls. Saw one bird perched for several minutes. Inland ponds frozen.
6 species (+1 other taxa)

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  10
Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus)  50
American Black Duck/Mallard (Anas rubripes/platyrhynchos)  100
Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)  1
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  1
Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis)  26     Flock of 26 flew overhead just before dark moving south. Heard them bugling before looking up. Photos available if needed.
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)  1

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S33648330

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

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