Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Sharp-tailed Grouse - 11 Dec 2017
A target bird for this UP trip was Sharp-tailed Grouse. I was hoping to 1) see them and 2) get close enough to photograph them. I managed to do both.
Overnight low was 8F in Sault Ste. Marie. I had breakfast at Frank's and headed back to the Ramada to gear up and check out. I was hoping to drive bird the Soo, then drive to Whitefish Point. However, a winter weather advisory was in effect for area so I promised Robin I'd head back south, instead. But not before looking for some grouse along Nicolet Rd. and stopping by the Dunbar Forest area.
I hit the road at first light and drove Riverside to Nicolet. A pair of Bald Eagles were perched atop the Visitor Center at the locks. Nicolet Rd. was void of bird life. I drove all the way to the end, then looped around to Riverside Drive.
Riverside Drive to the Dunbar Forest yielded a few Northern Ravens, Common Crows, Blue Jays, Black-capped Chickadees and a single Red-breasted Nuthatch. The feeders in the Dunbar forest were all but empty, so I headed back to Riverside and continued south.
I drove up Hantz Rd to 19 Mile Rd and managed to pick up a flock of 15 Common Redpolls.
As I drove back along Centerline Rd. I looked for the Snowy Owl to get one last look before heading home. As I approached its pole I saw it take off and fly back south across the fields. I could not get out of the car in time to get any pics, so I just watched it sail overhead and disappear over the barns. With snow falling hard it was time to head back across the Bridge.
I'll have to plan a new trip to Whitefish Point...