Birding (and more) in Calhoun County and beyond
As Chaos begins to change form, the birding has been few and far between. Yard birding, and the onset of Moths have worked to help the balance. I've become more of an iNaturalist contributor over the past month as the AI for helping to ID the moths is outstanding. I've also started a project that consolidates all the flora and fauna identified by the Michigan Natural Features Inventory as Rare/Endandgered/Special Concern.
The couple of bird highlights this past few weeks have been a Carolina Wren nest in my garage (concerned it may have been abandoned), a Dickcissel finally at 23.5 Mile Rd pig farm, and finally getting a Sora to show itself in the county. A Virginia Rail had been sighted at D DR S Flooded Field. It wasn't until July 20th I was able to check it out. The Rail didn't respond to the call, but two Sora immediately answered it. After about 5 minutes, out of the corned of my eye I saw movement. A Sora was crossing the road, then working its way down the road toward the Jeep. Twice it moved into the grass, but then came right back out. Eventually walking right by the Jeep until my camera case lid closed from the wind and spooked it back into the grass. Couldn't ask for a better chance at photos. I'm so used to always shooting at f/5.6 I never thought of going lower since it was so close. The Sora also helped to eliminate one more bird missing from the county Illustrated Checklist on eBird.
The Dickcissel was fun since I decided to bring my pup along with me. The constant panting made it quite the challenge to get to heard the bird singing. But she had fun, and that was really the point of bringing her with me.
As great as seeing the Sora was, it may not top the highlight of the moth season so far. I was ready to go back into the house and swept up into the rafters and saw this gigantic yellow splotch on one of the rafters. It took me a sec to realize this was the largest moth I had ever seen. I managed to grab some pics and starting trying to look up what it was. I initially thought it was a Pine Imperial Moth, but after getting a pic of its underwing it turned out to just be a regular Imperial Month. Nearly 4.5" across. Unfortunately as seen in the last photo sometime between 7/15 and 7/19 something likely made a huge meal out of it.
Another odd moth was this Dark Marathyssa Moth. I thought it was something that hit my antennae and was killed on it. It stayed attached as I drove most of the length of my road with the wings actually unfurling.
Here are some other insects, mostly moth, highlights from this season. None of which can top the yellow beast above.
My exploits in my latest passion, Birding...not Bird-watching;-)