[Birding (and more) in Calhoun County and beyond
End of an era.
Somewhat sadly an era has ended for me with what was undoubtedly the best birding vehicle. I ended up having to get rid of my Jeep, and traded in for an F-150 SuperCrew. At least it has a moonroof and is as Jeep-like as I could get it. We shall see how things go this coming winter. I do miss the Jeep, but only being able to bird once with a rental from 11/1 to 11/19, was not great. It was time though and I'm sure it won't be my last Jeep.
Due to this I've not had a lot of highlights in the past month. No new FOY, but have added 3 more birds to my November list. Greater Yellowlegs at Duck Lake WTP on 11/10, Lesser Black-backed Gull on 11/26 at Duck Lake and the Northern Shrike showed up for 4th winter in a row at 23 and O DR N on 11/26.
White-winged Scoter continued out at Duck Lake with 2 on 11/10, and 3 visible on 11/20. Also on 11/20 I found the juvenile Golden Eagle, this time just of 19Mile Road where it was near juvenile Bald Eagle. Also on 11/20 at home a flagged White-throated Sparrow showed up. I did notice today that these show on the mobile app without flagging as rare.
11/24 through Thanksgiving weekend started a great quality of birds, but still missing out on some. Cackling Goose at Barnes Park gave really good looks on 11/24. White-winged Scoters x3 still at Duck lake on 11/24. A very, very late Dunlin was at Homer WTP on 11/26. Not an easy bird to see as it was as far across big lagoon as possible.
2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, one adult and one juvenile, were out at Duck Lake on 11/26. 3 Bonaparte's Gulls on Duck Lake on 11/27 were at least causing me to look close for maybe a Little Gull. Sunday the 28th I decided to search out the South-West corner of the county for Snowy Owl as Kalamazoo had a couple of reports. I did find a Northern Shrike on Q DR S hanging out on the wire, and a great looking dark morph Rough-legged Hawk on 1 Mile Rd. It was first Roughie of the season. I got all the way to Tekonsha when texts came out of a Snowy Owl on PQ Ave in Kalamazoo. It was 40 minutes away, but seemed like it was staying put, so headed over there. Far away looks, but at least it was there. Hopefully we still get one or two this year. It has been almost 4 years since we had one here.
I did head back out later on the 28th to Duck Lake and had one of the best looks at the nightly raft of gulls. They were right out from the boat launch, on that same side of the lake. Only bad part was it got dark and cloudy quick. I had the adult Lesser Black-backed Gull there. Not sure if the juvenile was there was there were quite a few young Herring Gulls and even some young Ring-billed Gulls holding onto their full dark plumage.
Today I got to see a Sharp-shinned Hawk nab a young Cardinal just before it made it into the safety of the bushes at the bottom of the hill. When I went out there to look if there was evidence left, I spotted a FOY Bald Eagle, for the yard, soaring high overhead.
Still going to try as much as I can to get at least a few more FOY birds this year. Greater White-fronted Geese have showed up in Kazoo, but none here yet. Pine Siskin remains the only "easy" bird left. It looks like White-winged Crossbills might be heading south, so hoping there is a chance at some of those this winter. Really Duck Lake is going to be where it is at for me the rest of this year. Gulls, Grebes and Geese hopefully.
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My exploits in my latest passion, Birding...not Bird-watching;-)