Birding in Calhoun County and beyond
A bit of catch up before I get in to today's exploits. A Wood Thrush singing in my yard, (finally) White-crowned Sparrows at the airport and a Gray-cheeked Thrush at Woodland put me up to 145 for the year. I had high hopes of a good day to push me up over 150.
One of the better days this year started out early this morning with a new Yard Bird calling. Yellow-bellied Flycatcher singing it's Dawn song. That put my Yard total to 130, and along with a Warbling Vireo it pushed the yard total to 86 for the year. A pair of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks later in the day made it 87.
I then headed to Woodland Park to see if the night brought anything interesting in. It still seemed rather quiet for the most part. I staked out the footbridge area for about 30 minutes hoping to snag the Prothonotary Warbler seen on Thursday. I did get a FOY Great Crested Flycatcher calling from the wet area to the East of the bridge. Volunteers were out to do some maintenance work, there but they didn't bother the birds at all. After quite a bit of time I finally had some warbler activity with a small group of Black-throated Greens, and a FOY Chestnut-sided mixed in. Beyond that it was quieter than I was expecting it to be back there.
I then headed through the wooded hilly area (Beech Trail) out to the Grasslands to the East side of the park. There was quite a bit of activity after just coming out of the woods. Plenty of Yellow-rumped were moving around and finally FOY Blue-winged Warblers calling, but not much variety. I worked my way down to South pond, and was rewarded with FOY Blackburnian Warbler, and a very confused lifer...Prothonotary Warbler. This bird does not read the field guides, as he was feeding 50-60 feet up in the trees.
Woodland managed 50 birds for me, over about 3 hour time period and had me "pumped" to say the least. I moved over to the airport, and was able to observe an American Kestrel harass a Red-tailed Hawk. It has been a while since I've seen a Kestrel at the airport. Hopefully they will have some young around this summer again. I was also able to watch a second Red-tailed Hawk join the first, and observe both of them "hovering" over the North pond area. A FOY Grasshopper Sparrow was heard calling from out in the airport property also.
Not ready to give up yet I headed over to Hart's Lake. I had the entire area to myself. Great Crested Flycatcher were there, along with another Blackburnian Warbler joined with a FOY Bay-breasted Warbler. The Bay-breasted was one of the first reported in Michigan on eBird surprisingly. 37 species later Hart's Lake had also given me a flyby FOY Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
By this time I had to mosey on home. 10 FOY species had now pushed me up to 155. A good target for the full weekend. In the first 7 days of May I had managed 21 FOY species, including a lifer. That is the kind of start I needed to try to get to 180 by the end of May. Tomorrow is supposed to be nearly as nice, so cross my fingers that I can add a few more to the list.
My exploits in my latest passion, Birding...not Bird-watching;-)