Sunday, November 12, 2017

Belle Isle Goodies - 11 Nov 2017


Another cold morning. But not cold enough to dissuade a number of us to return to Belle Isle to look for the female King Eider, and the Snow Goose. I showed up at around 8:30 am and found several birders already present at the south end of the island. The eider was spotted downstream just a few minutes ago, but had already disappeared by the time we got there. I would get a call from Mary Tremblay about an hour later that it flew in from the lighthouse on the Detroit shoreline and was now among a large raft of Greater Scaup, Redhead, Bufflehead, mergansers, and a pair of Surf Scoters.

In the meantime I decided to drive around the island. The Snow Goose was foraging next to the road near the fountain and provided a single decent photo from inside the car. Photographing from the car is terrible as convection currents formed by heat leaving the car act as vaseline filter to befuddle focus and produce lousy images. So, I opted to park up a ways and digiscope the bird as it foraged in my direction. It then joined the Canada Geese in the water and swam to the far side of the pond.


I continued on and found the 8-10 Dunlin that were reported yesterday by Allen Chartier. They were foraging in the recently-drained lake at the north end of the island. I spent some time digiscoping them. Dunlin in November are a great bird anytime in Michigan.


A juvenile Red-tailed Hawk appeared on the far shore, so I spent some time digiscoping it as it flew down from the willow into the lake bed and pick at a dead fish carcass. A second Red-tailed Hawk could be heard calling in the background.




I returned to the south end of the lake and scoped the female King Eider out in the middle of the river. I was able to get a couple of digiscoped images at full magnification for record.


A Bonaparte's Gull foraged along the shoreline in front of us, so I tried to capture a few pics as it floated by.



Once the eider disappeared from view I decided I was cold enough to head out. I stopped long enough to get a few more bad pics (from the car) of some Bufflehead in the canals along the west side of the island.





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