Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Solitaire, Hoary, Rough-legged +

The past day and a half have been great for birds and photography. Yesterday afternoon, a Townsend's Solitaire was found at Fenner Nature Center. I got to the scene just in time to view the bird and snap a few digiscoped pictures in fading light.

Townsend's Solitaire- digiscoped

Today, Adam Byrne and I left Lansing VERY early, 3am in fact, to do some owling on the way to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. We managed one Barred Owl at Maple River State Game Area, but it was just a bit outside the range for my flash. No pictures... of that individual.

Once we got to St. Ignace, just across the Mackinac Bridge, we re-found the previously reported Western Grebe. It was clearly an Aechmophorus grebe, but was too far to see the finer details. We even got to see the bird take off the water and fly 300+ yards, a sight not often seen in Michigan.

We had one finch while trying to re-locate the Grebe. Amazingly, this single finch was a male Hoary Redpoll! This was great luck, as Hoary Redpoll was one of my target species to photograph before leaving Michigan.

A nice male Hoary Redpoll, one of very few finches today

The weather started getting pretty nasty with blowing snow and high wind. We drove a few back roads hoping for finches, but no luck. I did finally get a Common Raven picture, but with the blowing snow, it turned out pretty horrific. I'll spare you the picture, but it can be found on the flickr sight.

The weather turned VERY bad, we were lucky to get south of the bridge alive. We worked many back roads and state parks but couldn't find anything of note. Finally, we spotted a Rough-legged Hawk along the highway.

Rough-legged Hawk

That highlight lasted for a bit, until we spotted another Barred Owl, this time right along the road in the daylight. I had better luck photographing this one!

Barred Owl

We made our way back to Lansing and so ended a good, long day of birding. Tomorrow I target Snow Buntings and Lapland Longspurs. Stay tuned...

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