Birding in Calhoun County and beyond
This is what I mean when I talk about "Balancing the chaos"...not keeping up with things, or taking the time to do the things you need to do to balance life. My birding has suffered a bit so far this year, having completely skipped one weekend I could have gone out. I need to come up with goals to drive me I think:-) I'm going to get in on a quick (not likely) recap on 2015, with a focus on the 32 lifers I had this year. Hold on to your Butterbutts.
The year started out with a 3 lifer day during the Barry County CBC, with an early and very cooperative Northern Saw-whet Owl. That was followed up later in the day by Pine Siskin and Red-breasted Nuthatch. Yeah, a 3 bird day of Calhoun County nemesis birds.
A couple of weeks after this I decided to take a run up the coast of Lake Michigan, from Tiscornia Park in Berrien, to Holland in the North. Oh what fun Gulls are!! You just know there was more interesting birds I was able to see, than I was able to identify. Howard Dunton Park in Holland gave excellent views of this lifer Iceland Gull.
The following weekend I was out at the bridge of 1/2 Mile and Marl Lake Road in extreme Southwest Calhoun County. It is a site I really should focus on some more. Excellent wetland habitat. I caught sight of a fairly large raptor making a beeline across the wetland. It was a long ways off, and this was definitely one of those birds where the camera was responsible for getting the ID. An extremely rare Northern Goshawk (first eBird report, but not a first for the county) had just buzzed across the marsh.
Another 3 months would pass until one of the best birds (in my opinion) to show up in Calhoun County would be seen by Dr. Dale Kennedy at the Duck Lake WTP. A very lost Surf Scoter showed up, mixed in with a large group of Lesser Scaup. Later that month I would walk out the door of my house, and catch a Short-eared Owl gliding in the strong wind overhead.
May and June brought me 4 more lifers with a tip, again from Dr. Kennedy on a reliable site for Cerulean Warblers, in Jackson County. Dirt roads are so awesome! Shortly after that a report came in from an undeveloped subdivision area of a Dickcissel!! Finally one showed up in Calhoun County. It took 2 trips to finally see it, but it gave me some great looks. This was a bird I really wanted for the 2014 BY. This location also offered great looks at Bobolinks and Grasshopper Sparrows.
Another excursion out of Calhoun County was to see an extremely lost Lark Bunting showing off in Allegan county. One of the toughest birds to get a photo of, trying to shoot manual focus on a bird that would pop up over the horizon for brief moments.
My next lifer turned out to be the bird that got me to 200 for Calhoun County. After a year and a half I was able to rustle up a Sedge Wren at Brooks Nature Area (when I was trying to find a Marsh Wren).
My next lifer was another long awaited bird for the county. After checking after as many fields as I could, I finally located one with some Henslow's Sparrows. Not the best location for photos, but the distinct call really gave the bird away.
My last one, for this post (the rest I've talked about in previous blog posts), is another trip outside the county to Tiscornia Park in Berrien County. A Magnificent Frigatebird had been appearing for quite some time, and I couldn't wait any longer. It was a good thing also as those of us that were there, were the last ones to see it. It flew in off the lake, kited shortly, flew up over Silver Beach and gradually soared higher and higher up over inland Michigan and disappeared.
So for 2015 Lifer birds for me were:
My exploits in my latest passion, Birding...not Bird-watching;-)