Friday, June 27, 2008

Spinning my wheels

Well, June has been a pretty rough month on the bike. I did try for the pelican about a week and a half ago, biking out to Tiscornia only to find the winds still wrong. I went up to Jean Kloch to photograph red-headeds with some success, definitely my best images of the species. However, when we drove back in the afternoon to let the kids play on the swingset and stuff, what's on the beach but a willet. Grrrr.

Two nights ago I biked over to Grand Mere SP, starting at Lincoln Twp Beach. A chat was singing prominently, clearly doing themes and variations on some of the local birds, some robin-like tup-tup-tup sequences, some wood thrush intro notes, and most annoyingly a Virginia Rail sequence. I still don't have Virginia Rail and I didn't get least bittern there either. I did get a ton of mosquito bites while waiting and pacing along the edge of the marsh.

I moved on to the main entrance and biked down one of the trails into the sandy blow-out and started whistling whip-poor-will. I startled some marsh wrens into song (another species like chat, that is MUCH easier to find in Berrien than in Washtenaw), but no sign of a whip. From there I had to decide whether to continue on to Warren Dunes to go for the whip-poor-will there or to turn back. I wasn't sure that I would get to Warren Dunes before first light, but I figured I'd have a shot at nighthawks over Stevensville or the Rambo Rd ponds even if I was a little late so continued south. I did indeed arrive just as it was starting to lighten and the first wood thrushes, pewees, and tanagers were firing up. I got no rise out of the whip-poor-will there (though the mosquitoes again appreciated my efforts). Nighthawks no-showed as well. A few dickcissels on the way back in various places included my first for Lake Twp, but weren't really worth the 35 mile ride.

So, for the month I think I've added 2 species to the Bigby list, yellow-billed cuckoo in the back yard and dickcissel half a mile from my house. The other 70 miles were for naught. Ah well. I've got other spots for most of the birds, but it'd be nice to pick up some momentum here soon.

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