[Birding (and more) in Calhoun County and beyond
I was originally thinking my next post would be titled "The year without a Broad-winged Hawk", as that has been my year so far. Looking closer birds I have seen every year, the past 10 years, excep this year are also Cackling Goose and Eastern Screech-Owl. Still have time for those. Not so much for the Hawk.
The bird that was the impetus for this post was something truly unbelievable. A Limpkin was spotted at Whitehouse Nature Center!! This is a bird that on a trip to Florida one year I specifcally targeted, along with Snail Kite and Wood Stork. At that time there were just a couple dozen records of this bird north of Florida. It was nearly exclusively a Florida bird for years. Even just in 2020 there was a single record north of a line from Atlanta, East and West. 2021 brought some records to Minnesota, Illinois and Maryland. 2022 was Limpkin summer with records up into Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan and Niagra in NY.
Michigan had 2 records last year (I think these were determined to be 2 different birds), and we have had 5 more this year, with the Calhoun bird being the latest. I drove 200 miles in 4 trips to finally see that bird. It was very elusive, but others kept seeing it when I was not there so I didn't give up when reports were coming in on Monday 10/2. I got to the little boat dock near the Albion College football field and started scanning. Nothing though. I moved over to this pipe that was in the river and started to scan again. Just as I was about to give up and head to the Nature Center I spotted it well hidden under some overhanging branches slowly moving in the water. It even bathed for a bit. What an amazing bird I never expected to see here, even with the other birds showing up in the state. #252 for the county, and #199 for the year.
Bird #198 for the year was American Pipit, with 12 seen on the fence of the buidling at Homer WTP. I almost gave up on those there also, until I decided to scan the top of the fence and noticed them all hanging out there. I also managed a young Bald Eagle fly close by, and then 4 way up in the sky. On the way back home I ran in to another young Bald Eagle lower, and 4 up high. I thought they were the same birds, but looking at my pics they were all different birds. 10 Bald Eagles in one day isn't bad at all.
The weather continues to be weird this fall with a lot of winds from the south keeping some birds up north longer. I've had my first October record of Eastern Wood-pewee, and even had 2 of them on 9/29. Along with that though the American Pipits are my first September record of that species with earliest arrivals previously being 10/2. It still feels like some warblers haven't come through. I've only seen 6 Yellow-rumped, and no Palm Warblers yet this fall. My latest bird, so far, is a Wood Thrush giving some volley calls on the morning of 9/30. This bird was 18 days later than my previous latest Wood Thrush. Just a very weird Fall migration this year.
Sound like the Great Horned Owls may be setting up shop in the woods again as I had 2 calling the morning of 10/1. Hopefully I can get back to having windows open, without the need to run the fans to cool things off, soon. Hopefully also a chance still for some Broadwings to show up.
My exploits in my latest passion, Birding...not Bird-watching;-)