Sunday, January 1, 2017

Say-What??? - 01 Jan 2017

Happy New Year! May 2017 allow us all to overcome the disappointments and struggles brought by 2016, and make us all nicer people.

Allen Chartier and I covered Belle Isle Park on the Detroit River as part of the Detroit River Christmas Bird Count. We wanted to get some owling in, so we agreed to meet at the Nature Center at 6:30 am. I would arrive at 6:15 am and try to call in some Screech Owls before Allen would arrive. In minutes I would be serenading a gray-morph Screech Owl next to the Nature Center parking lot. After 10 minutes I could not get the bird to come close enough for a photo, although this one was not bad for a 50' distance using the Better Beamer and flash. 1st bird of 2017!

Allen arrived at 6:30 am and announced that he had heard 2 Saw-Whet Owls in the woods behind the Nature Center. We then headed down Center Road and stopped to try for more Saw-Whets. When Allen played the distressed call we got an immediate response. Soon, a bird was "toot-toot-toot"-ing in the distance. At that point Pat Jakel and Joe Hammerle arrived, and we heard 3 different birds calling from 3 directions.  One bird called for 10 minutes straight!

At our third location we heard another 2 Saw-Whet Owls calling, as well as another Screech Owl.

With the sunrise appearing, we then tried for Great Horned Owls. A bird "screeched" in the distance, and soon we could see its silhouette perched 150' away.

With sun-up we decided to work the Blue Heron Lagoon and look for a Northern Mockingbird that Karl Overman found yesterday. Our only clue was red-berry bushes, and the lagoon had lots of honeysuckle bushes loaded w/ berries. We found American Robins: 120+! Two dozen Cedar Waxwings were also present. We walked the entire lagoon and could not relocate the mockingbird, though.

Few ducks were on the Detroit River. We saw Common Goldeneye, a few Redhead, and large flocks of Canvasback flying south. Bufflehead were seen in the distance. We could not find any Peregrine Falcons near the Whittier Building. Mute Swans by the dozens were along the beach area near the Belle Isle Bridge, and a few Tundra Swans were also among them. Hooded Mergansers were seen in small flocks near the Yacht Club. This Red-tailed Hawk took off from the woods next to the road; I created a composite from five consecutive images.

We returned to the woods to look for roosting Saw-Whets, but would not find any. Allen called Karl and got locations for the Red-headed Woodpecker (also found yesterday),  Northern Mockingbird, and Eastern Towhees that Karl had seen this morning. We would refind the adult Red-headed Woodpecker, but it stayed far enough away to prevent photos from being taken.

I took off for home while the rest of the gang continued to look for the Northern Mockingbird (yes) and Eastern Towhee (yes).

Nice start to 2017!

1 comment:

david boon said...

I presume my Sacrificial Birder Cake is in the Post.....

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