Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Oporornis slam

I had originally considered biking up to Sarett today to pick up some of the tougher residents I still need, but realized I couldn't repeat the mistake I made last week by doing that and then doing more poorly on migrants. SO, I left at 5:45 and arrived at Floral Lane (Warren Dunes SP) at 7:15 and was the first one down the trail. The place was hopping with redstarts, but a parula and my earliest ever mourning (Oporornis #1) called from the drowned thicket. I continued around the path, seeing mainly restarts and magnolias, but dribs and drabs of other commoners, high-lighted by a couple golden-winged's, and my first black-throated blue for the site appeared. I thought for a second I had a blackpoll but then could get on nothing but magnolias (perhaps I saw a particulary wide white eyestripe and was mistaken from the get-go), but in searching for that bird another popped up out of the may apples, a Connecticut (Oporornis #2), only the 3rd one I've seen but not heard. I soon doubled back and re-worked the trail with the sun at my back. The song had definitely fallen off by then but did cross paths with Tim who had re-found one of the Kentucky's earlier. We went back for it and it popped up right on cue (Oporornis #3) and I briefly had my closest ever look at one. We made a full circuit but wind had picked up and the morning was over and we added little other than a late blue-headed vireo new for the Bigby year (thought I would have to pay the mosquitoes in blood this fall for missing it in the spring). I ended up climbing up to the top of the hawkwatch dune since it seemed like SE winds, but found little movement (and what movement there was seemed paradoxically into the wind leaving me a lot of distant wing-on views). A prairie warbler was quite cooperative right on top of the trail though. Despite being in a relatively small un-leafed out tree it still took forever to find him (I can see why I had so much trouble finding the Ann Arbor bird a few years ago in a fully leafed out canopy), but once zero-ing in on it did manage some pics (and hopefully some video on youtube, check back soon):

Also on top of the dune was this black swallowtail and on the way down the first mitrewort I've
found in Berrien Co:

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