[Birding (and more) in Calhoun County and beyond
I don't ever remember a time when we have had so many unbelievably great rare birds as we have had in the past week. This included 3 super rare birds I saw within 1/2 mile of each other, and a first county record bird!!
I will bounce back to where I left off last with 5/11. Woodland Park started out the day with 70 species including FOY Philadelphia Vireo, Acadian Flycatcher (new bird for me there), and Black-billed Cuckoo flying around the woods. After quite some time there, I headed over to B DR S over by Albion for some Least Sandpipers reported the previous day. I found the peeps, and a Dunlin, and as I was sitting there I heard a odd noise. I looked over the fluddle and a Black-necked Stilt was landing in the middle of the fluddle. I couldn't believe it again finding this bird in the county was unreal. This bird gave me much better looks than I could have asked for. My new R5 was firing away, as I am still trying to get the hang of it. The bird, unlike last year's, was in a position to have the sun at my back when I was snapping pics. Super cooperative bird and much closer than last years. A bird I definitely didn't expect to pick up again this year.
May 12th back at Woodland got me FOY Wilson's, Bay-breasted, Canada and Prothonotary Warblers. This got me all the expected warblers on eBird, except the frustrating Hooded. American Pipit and Willow Flycatcher would round out that days FOY birds with the Pipit being a very shy bird that would only show its head.
5/13 I took a quick trip to Whitehouse Nature Center in Albion and managed to find the White-eyed Vireo that was reported there. It never showed itself and was singing from quite far back. B DR S gave up a FOY Savannah Sparrow. 5/14 at Woodland again I managed both Alder and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. Both very hard to find birds, but they were very vocal. I also managed my first time seeing a female Golden-winged Warbler. I spent probably 15-20 minutes trying to get good shots of this bird. I did this because I thought the bird was a hybrid. I had no idea until I finally looked at my Warbler Guide app, that the female GWWA looks different from the male. 5/14 was also Global Big Day. I feel like a put in a solid effort, but nothing too earth-shattering with 91 species. 5/15 Hercules got me up at 5 a.m., just in time to hear a Great Horned Owl calling from the woods. Haven't heard it since.
5/18 began the absolute craziness of rarities that popped up in the county. Early that morning an alert came out on eBird of a Connecticut Warbler at Woodland Park. I spent the rest of the day until a package finally arrived at 5 p.m. I had to sign for, hoping the bird would still be there. When I got there a few other birders were also trying to locate the bird, with no luck. I walked around to some other places in the park trying to see if maybe it had moved spots when my Discord app started to ping that the bird was singing. Sure enough once I got over there this incredibly loud noise was coming from the tangles close to the entrance. The bird was tantalizingly close, but never was able to see it. I have to thank Jerald Britten for 1.) having his contact info on his eBird profile, and 2.) responding back to my e-mail asking where in the park he located the bird. The next morning I was right back out there as soon as a conference call was finished. The bird popped up a few times allowing me to at least get some decent looks and pics of it. This was a lifer, and bird #248 for the county. 1 more closer to my goal of getting to #250 by the end of the year.
I'll have to do yet another breaking up of this post. This May has just been so overloaded with not just good birds, but lots of birds. As of today, 5/26, I've seen 165 birds in May. 10 more than my previous best, and sit at 205 birds for the year. Almost as much as my high for a full year, prior to last years excellent numbers. I know the county is well ahead of last years pace also.
My exploits in my latest passion, Birding...not Bird-watching;-)