My plan was to scout Pt. Mouillee SGA as part of the Rockwood CBC to be held on 26 Dec 2017. So, when I woke up to a quarter inch of fresh snow and a steady snowfall in progress I decided to push on with my plan to bike the dikes. I just hoped that the ground would be firm enough. It was, but the now steady-falling snow and snow-covered ground made biking a real effort. I would put in 9.32 miles as the eBird flies during my 2.5 hr visit.
Here is the Slow-motion version:
Here is the same distance at 4K (with 1.5X crop factor)
Image quality is definitely improved with the 4K setting, but the Slow-motion is very good, as well. It will be especially useful for fast-moving birds, like foraging shorebirds.
I continued on, making sure not to disturb the owl, which would be found on the return trip in the same location. The trip around the Banana Unit and Cell 3 was uneventful. Lake Erie was open except for a few ice flows next to shore, and no ducks were to be found. A few Common Goldeneye and Bufflehead were in Cell 4.
I stopped at the mouth of the Huron River and Lake Erie and gazed upon an impressive raft of Canvasback (and some presumed Redhead) floating a quarter-mile out. My eBird count was 5000, but 20,000 birds would not surprise me. The raft extended beyond view, and I was too tired to follow it around Cell 5, so I continued west along the North Causeway.
I spotted another Snowy Owl sitting out in the middle of the Vermet Unit. At first I thought it might be the individual I saw earlier, but upon riding the dike between Long Pond and Vermet Units toward the Middle Causeway I saw my original bird in its same location.
Within minutes I had a Gray Ghost (male Northern Harrier) glide along the canal between me and the owl. It never noticed the owl. It was followed by an American Kestrel flying due north that "Kli-kli-kli'd" as it passed over the owl but never stopped.
Here are the two videos. You can figure out which ones are which...
By now I was starting to feel the temperatures dropping, and I was soaked, so I bundled up and biked back to the car. I stopped just long enough to see another harrier, and another pair of kestrels. A light-phased Rough-legged Hawk then passed over the Walpatich Unit as I rode by.
I returned to car and headed home exhausted but happy.
Pte. Mouillee SGA, Monroe, Michigan, US
Dec 23, 2017 8:32 AM - 11:07 AM
16 species (+1 other taxa)
Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus) 50
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 5
Mallard (Domestic type) (Anas platyrhynchos (Domestic type)) 2
American Black Duck (Anas rubripes) 8
Canvasback (Aythya valisineria) 5000 Mouth of Huron River and Lake Erie. Raft half mile long. Presume Redheads as well. Majority Cans, though.
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) 2
Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) 26
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) 1
Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) 6
Northern Harrier (Circus hudsonius) 3
Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus) 1
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) 150
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 24
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) 1
Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) 2 One in Vermet on ice and 2nd on dike between Long Pond and Vermet. Digiscoped.
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) 3
American Tree Sparrow (Spizelloides arborea) 45
View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/
This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)