Saturday, January 19, 2013

Birding Western Michigan

The past two days have been spent birding western Michigan, from Berrien County to Ottawa county, with many stops along the way. On 1/18, Adam Byrne and I started at the Forest Lawn Landfill for the Fish Crow(s) that have been present for a few years now. I had yet to chase this bird; glad it stuck around for me. We were successful in hearing a Fish Crow give one call and so we moved on.

The shore near Douglas Beach in Allegan County held thousands of ducks, mostly Common Goldeneye. Try as we might, we couldn't pick a Barrow's. Adam spotted a snazzy male Harlequin Duck as a consolation. I digiscoped it from a great distance. Who knows when I'll see a Harlequin Duck next.

Harlequin Duck- not a great picture, but possibly my only chance this year
We also had a few Bonaparte's Gulls on Kalamazoo Lake.

Bonaparte's Gull
We stopped by a friend's house in Allegan who has a pair of Carolina Wrens at his feeders. I scored pictures of a Wild Turkey as well. This Turkey was hurting, take a look at the foot area. It was extremely gross.

Wild Turkey with a messed-up leg
We stopped by a few feeders that held a few good winter birds for Michigan. The first stop was for a Chipping Sparrow. I'm sure I'll get better pictures later in the year when they are everywhere.

Chipping Sparrow
The next stop was for a beautiful adult male Black-throated Blue Warbler at a private residence that has been present for a while, feeding on suet and bread. It isn't a great picture, but you get the idea.

Black-throated Blue Warbler
Today, 1/19, my dad, grandma and I went back to Forest Lawn Landfill for the Fish Crow (a state bird for them). It took us an hour to get the bird to call, but it did. I managed to shoot a flyover Red-tailed Hawk while waiting.

Red-tailed Hawk
We moved to New Buffalo beach and had an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull roosting with the handful of Ring-billed and Herring Gulls. It wasn't until later I noticed the banded Herring Gull in the background. Interesting...

Lesser Black-backed Gull with banded Herring Gull behind
After finding the previously reported Townsend's Solitaire at Warren Dunes State Park, we moved to Tiscornia. We found my target bird to photograph for the day, Red-throated Loon, but it flushed and eluded me. I was happy with this Surf Scoter for consolation, though.

Surf Scoter
You might remember my horrible Red-breasted Merganser photo from earlier this year. I was able to take a better one at Tiscornia.

Red-breasted Merganser
From Tiscornia, it was to Sarrett Nature Center to photograph a Pine Siskin which wasn't hard at all. They were quite numerous and very confiding.

Pine Sisken
We hoped for Purple Sandpipers, so we moved north to Holland State Park where two have been seen off and on for weeks. Unfortunately, they were "off" today and we couldn't find them anywhere. Of course, I wasn't disappointed in an aythya flock holding Lesser Scaup and Redhead in Macatawa Bay. They were semi-digiscopable, but the wind shaking my tripod didn't help.

Lesser Scaup
Redhead with Lesser Scaup and Bufflehead
These pictures, as well as not-so-special pictures of an American Coot and Common Loon can be found on the flickr page. It has been quite a successful two days of birding, helping push my birds photographed list to 75.

If you haven't had the chance yet, please consider pledging for the American Bird Conservancy's work with endangered Hawaiian birds. See  this page. Its easy, and the ABC receives 100% of the donations.

Keep checking back, there are still plenty of birds to photograph.

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