[Birding (and more) in Calhoun County and beyond
As is usual for this time of the year, FOY are few and far between. The trip to Duck Lake is already getting a bit tiring. I took some time off on 12/1 and 12/2. I got some really good looks at a juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull on Duck Lake on the 2nd. This is for sure the 3rd individual we have had in the past couple of months. Maybe even the 4th individual. We had the 1st winter bird (1st pic), an adult bird (2nd pic), and an advanced second winter bird (possibly two of these but pics are bad for one of them).
Morning of 12/3 I discovered a bunch of Mourning Dove feathers, so looks like maybe something had a very early breakfast under the feeders. I am close to my pitiful high number for a year in Michigan of 220. I decided I would head to Tiscornia Park to see if I could add a few birds. It was sunny, but horribly windy out. The only waterfowl seen was some Common Mergansers way out over the water flying by. A few gulls were present, but Great Black-backed Gulls were the only FOY birds for me. I decided to head to Warren Dunes for the Townsend's Solitaire. Second time I have tried for one of the birds that has showed up there. Again I dipped on it.
Ran back out to Duck Lake evening of the 4th, but nothing really of note there. A gull seemed to be struggling with something way across the lake. I'm not sure if it just was being stubborn with some food, or was in trouble. It didn't look good as it kept try to flap its wings apparently to fly, but couldn't get off the water. The White-winged Scoters continued there in the same spot they are always at. Must be good feeding over on that side of the lake.
On the way back from Duck Lake I swung by the J DR N field that Kiehl Smith had the Short-eared Owl earlier this year. After maybe 10 minutes I glassed a Short-eared Owl wayyyyyyy out in the field. I couldn't get my camera on it, as it was still so dark out there I couldn't get on it. The bird flapped around, like a moth, for maybe 1 minute or so, and then I never caught it up again. That pushed me to 211 for the year. Running out of days to get to 215.
This was my first December Shortie, and I was able to add 3 more new December birds for the county. 12/5 a Winter Wren briefly called at Lake of the Woods, a couple of American Wigeon on Duck Lake WTP, and Green-winged Teal on Winnipeg Lake.
12/7 a young Cooper's Hawk took a shot at the feeders. As it sat on a branch looking around a Downy Woodpecker was frozen on a broken limb maybe 20 feet from the Hawk, but just out of view. The tail was so raggedy on this bird, it was the flight really that just gave it away, as the head in my pics looked a little round. Coops always seem so straight-lined when they fly from spot to spot, Sharpies look like a P-51 with a Zero on there tail.
Night of 12/7 as I got some exercise walking laps around my yard I managed to have at least 27 Trumpeter Swans fly overhead into Beadle Lake. I think there were more off in the distance that were farther south flying in there. 12/10 I had the same thing happen, but this time with 52 Swans coming over. One group has 24 in it!!
Also on 12/7 I had this female Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon ssp.) under the feeder for a short while. One day wonder bird though. As of today, still doesn't show confirmed yet though.
The new birding vehicle is working out great. It is roomier, and more comfortable than the Jeep was. The moonroof allows me to look up, even in the chilliest of weather. The gas mileage is a little bit better. Really haven't had any bad weather to see how it works out in that. Looking forward to doing more birding in it this winter.
My exploits in my latest passion, Birding...not Bird-watching;-)