Birding (and more) in Calhoun County and beyond
I did manage to get up to St. Johns, MI on 8/30, where I ran in to a group of gentleman on the bridge over the highway scoping out the STKI. I drove for a closer look, and at least managed some better looks at it. It moved around the area quite a bit. Just wish the weather would have been more cooperative. Rather cloudy and overcast.
Really one of the most graceful creatures you will ever see.
One of my favorite birds is but a mere 72 minutes away from where I sit now. A Swallow-tailed Kite has managed to elude quite a large swath of the country, and find its way to St. Johns, Michigan. It makes me nearly want to turn off my eBird alerts. The only hope I have is that it manages to hang around until Saturday. As this is going to be a very unbalanced week.
My weak attempt for some balance was visiting 23 Mile Road cow pasture again. While the Baird's was present, much less water was. The Starlings noticeably have started to move in, and appears many shorebirds are being displaced. This is probably just as well since the Warbler are starting to move in, and it may well be time to move on to my next targets:
Just wanted a quick place to put this to confirm my initial thoughts. The first pic is from 8/2 (2nd day since first sighting) of the American Golden-Plover. The second pic is from August 15th. The third one is from August 21st (the last day it was sighted there).
Looks to me like it sure fattened up some over that, at least, 3 week time period it visited here. What a great opportunity to study a bird that we would not normally be able to see around here. I was able to see this bird 10 times over that 3 week time period, and honestly wish it could have been more.
It will be a long time before I forget the feeling of seeing that face looking back at me through the binoculars, and saying out loud (to only myself) "That's a Plover!!!". Shortly accompanied by the 5 minutes of ("terror") trying to relocate the bird with my camera. Having no experience with Plovers (I initially ID'd it as Black-bellied), I knew I would need to get some pics to figure this one out. Yes I am not that good..yet.
3 weeks of a great way to balance some intense chaos from other areas of Life.
I can't say I'm terribly surprised that the Plover finally left. It was noticeably "plumper" the last time I observed it, when compared to the first time. That along with the water level dropping at this location led to it seeming to be much quieter there today overall. Hopefully some rain tomorrow may bring some more birds in that are on their way South.
I was able to meet Curt Hofer and Scott Jennex today, and put some faces to names. A few other disappointed birders were there also, that unfortunately didn't get what we were all hoping to see.
Tomorrow is a new day...cannot wait to see what it brings.
This little flooded cow pasture has been pretty amazing for 3 weeks now. I'm working on a comprehensive list of the birds seen here, and individuals that have shown up to check it out. The American Golden-Plover continues still, and is visibly plumping up for its long migration to South America.
Starting to get a little ho-hum that the American Golden-Plover is still present at this Cow pasture. This location continues to provide excellent opportunities for viewing various shorebirds that really have very few other opportunities to settle in our county.
I had 9 shorebirds there today, including the Plover. Excellent looks at Least Sandpipers, and the above Lesser Yellowlegs and Solitary Sandpipers. A couple of Wilson's Snipe were hanging around, as well as Semipalmated and Pectoral Sandpipers. Just a couple of Greater Yellowlegs were present, and a plethora of Killdeer.
Morning at this location is perfect for getting some excellent soft light, if only I were a better photographer.
Still no new birds today, despite hitting up Duck Lake and Duck Lake WTP. The Great Egrets flying over Duck Lake, just could not be turned in to American White Pelicans. The WTP is relatively "dead" as the water level is just to high. There is not enough mud or shore showing to coax anything but Killdeer and a couple of Spotted Sandpipers in there. Hopefully we don't miss any of the Phalaropes that seem to be popping up in Michigan lately.
The first American Golden-Plover for Calhoun County continues for at least the 12th day now. This little flooded cow pasture in Lee Township has been outstanding for shorebirds the past 2 weeks.
Along with the Plover, the first record of Short-billed Dowitcher has been spotted at this same field.
Other shorebirds seen at this location are:
Not only the quantity of shorebirds has been overwhelming, but the opportunities for some decent photos of birds has been outstanding.
My exploits in my latest passion, Birding...not Bird-watching;-)