Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Berrien's high Arctic

Today's theme was definitely cool-tundra-birds-in-breeding-plumage-in-crappy-light. I returned to Buffalo Rd hoping to improve my Smith's pics. Unfortunately the birds were for the most part REALLY far out. One female was quite close but I was always just a step slow secondary to some random wobble from the scope (get the quick release mount for your scope, not the screw).

This Lapland perched up long enough for a single shot though, one of the nicest males I've ever seen.
Flocks of golden plovers are also being seen along nearby Avery Rd. This bird was part of what turned out to be a flock of just over 50 birds when they were flushed by a harrier. Just over half of the birds were well into breeding plumage, though there were still some wearing mostly juvenile feathers. This was the first time I've encountered this plumage (now I really want to see one in the sun).

All right, so lesser black-backed gull isn't really a bird of the arctic, but I was surprised by one at 3 Oaks. This was by far the latest I've had a lesser black-backed. When I first spotted it with bins I wondered if I might find something exciting (e.g. California or slaty-backed).
This bird is late in 2nd cycle plumage given the adult colored back but brown coverts. There are some gray feathers starting to appear in the coverts, by this winter the wings will be fairly solidly gray for 3rd winter.

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