Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Oh Canada

With summer rapidly winning over the woods the breeding residents have supplanted the migrants.  Canada Warblers have been in good numbers so far in Warren Dunes.  This territorial male was fairly fearless in the days leading up to Birdathon.

He held still long enough that I experimented with some video... it's on Youtube here, I can't for the life of me embed it in the post like I'm supposed to be able to do (and can find every other video I put on youtube, just not this blasted one).

Friday, May 24, 2013

and then there were two

I've walked Floral at dawn a lot more this year than I ever have before, giving up shots at Tiscornia megas in favor of trying to get the hard spring passerines.  I appear to have missed Olive-sided, though it's probably the least difficult of this group to reclaim in the fall.  Connecticuts have been hard to come by this year, I'm aware of only one in the county so far this year.  After listening to a lot of Northern Waterthrushes making Connecticut like songs (with a few Yellowthroat impersonators as well), it was nice to have the real thing pop out at Floral this morning.  It sang off and on through the morning, but we never even got a glimpse of the bird moving in the brush.

This Mourning along the nature trail was much more obliging, by far the best shot I've obtained of this fellow skulker.

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was the other passerine I was hoping for.  As one of the latest migrants we're entering its peak window.
The primary extension on these birds is as impressive as the belly is.

I tried to turn this Acadian into a Yellow-belly as well (and actually called it out as one).  I was wrong though.

That leaves me with Worm-eating and Chat as the last 2 warblers I need.  The wormer is really the last woodland bird left, unless there's a late Olive-sided lurking somewhere.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hatin' Time

The post-Birdathon wrap-up is always entertaining.  Some years the theme is Scarlet Tanagers.  This year a lot of the focus was on the camaraderie of birding.  Birding with others is certainly more fun than birding alone.  That being said, sometimes 15 hours into a Big Day, nerves are a little frayed, caffeine crashes occur, the afternoon lull sets in, someone stuffs wrappers and chewed gum in someone else's (still half-full) pizza box which is then emptied onto another party's hat and a good old-fashioned Hatin' Time ensues.  There are two ways that Hatin' Time can be defeated, one is a good bird.

Our best bird of the day came early in the morning, a Yellow-headed Blackbird that jumped out to Tim's eyes at Three Oaks, only the 2nd I've ever seen in the county.  Check out the length of the hindclaws.

Of course it came during the adrenaline rush of the dawn (and the first dawn in a few years that lacked rain), so it didn't really affect the Hatin' Time.

Summer Tanager would have been a perfect bird for the afternoon lull; we didn't get one on Birdathon though.
The other cure, aside from some good birds, is for Hatin' Time to morph into Killin' Time.  That one's self explanatory.

Joking aside, we had a fun time.  Most of the birds were pretty common, and we were actually fairly even with our record pace until we got to Floral.  There was a really nice hawk movement, but the passerines just didn't happen there; most of ours came elsewhere.

Hooded Warblers were hard to miss though.

 We managed to filter out all of the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks at our first several passerine spots, it was actually new at Floral.

I missed the first Magnolia of the day (maybe the first two), so one in a little bush was also new for me.

Finally a Chestnut-sided that was near the grosbeak while scouting (unsuccessfully) for Worm-eating Warbler.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Parula in a Redbud

The weather this year has been ideal for the flowering trees, no hard frosts and cool for the last week keeping the flowers fresh, and I've been studying them fairly closely looking for subjects teed up in a sea of pink.  Until today my best had been robins and house sparrows.

A Parula however was defining its territory at Kesling, this was the closest I've ever been to a male.
The sun was pretty high so the flowers are blown out a little bit, but I really can't complain.
It dropped pretty low, presumably after insects.

We didn't have tons of warblers, but I did get my first Golden-winged, Baybreast, and Blackburnian of the year.

Veeries were the theme at Floral in the morning.  Some of them were very confiding.

Finally a Clay-colored Sparrow we heard at Chikaming that popped up right next to the car.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mr. Kentucky needs some friends

I'd heard the Kentucky last week, but it took a couple trips to Floral to finally see the little guy, despite foliage that's way behind where it is some years.

The bright morning sun really blew out the foreground with the bird in the shade, though the side-light definitely made it better to shoot with the bird in the shade.

Aside from the Kentucky, I've found warblers to be few and far between on the mornings I've been out, Black-and-White is probably the migrant I've encountered the most.

This Black-throated Blue Warbler was seen by about a third of the people who were on the Costa Rica trip, who showed up by happenstance.

Finally an Ovenbird that may or may not set up a territory along the strip of trail at Floral he's been hanging out in.

Red-headed Woodpecker this afternoon made 200 for the year in Berrien, hopefully tomorrow will bring a nice push of birds.

Monday, May 6, 2013

the Annual Chase

though I can't remember if I went after anything last year outside the county.

A Eurasian Wigeon turned up a little outside of Ann Arbor, a bird that I went to Pt Mouillee about annually when I lived in Ann Arbor.  I never found one, a fortuitous day off and cleared out schedule allowed me to chase this bird with Tim.
It was hanging out with a few Americans.
It was about 200 yards out and I probably would have been better off digi-scoping; these pics are cropped a lot more than would be ideal.  It was also fun seeing some birders from Washtenaw I haven't run into in a while, highlighted by one 92 y.o. Tex Wells.

While Tim and I were driving back Mike Mahler found an Eared Grebe at 3 Oaks.  The pic is equally way too cropped in difficult light.  I may be forgetting one, but I think I've only had this twice before in the county.

I walked Floral with Mike and Rhoda trying to re-find a Kentucky (they'd already had one), but it wasn't to be, a White-eyed Vireo was a consolation tally.

Continuing the trend of the more common the bird the better the pic, finally a White-throat that perched up at my feet.