Birding (and more) in Calhoun County and beyond
April started off slow until April 9th when Duck Lake paid off with not 1, not 2, but 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Pretty rare gull for this far inland, let alone to have multiples of them. 2 Osprey returned to the nest at the Cell Tower on F DR N on April 10th.
April also saw extremely high counts of Lesser Scaup at Duck Lake WTP. I had a high of 606 on April 9th there. Doug McWhirter had 950 there on April 16th. The lagoons there were packed with ducks for an extended time period this spring. It was amazing. It made it even more challenging to try to pick out the Long-tailed Duck each time there.
April 12th Dr. Dale Kennedy located a Snow Goose at Homer WTP. Homer would pay off again on April 15th with a lone Caspian Tern there. A second Long-tailed Duck for the spring was at Homer on April 21st with a smaller group of Lesser Scaup.
Also on the 21st one of the more unique birds to show up in Calhoun County was found at Duck Lake WTP. Along with the continuing Long-tailed Duck, I noticed a very odd looking Blue-winged Teal. The crescent on the bill was unusually narrow, the bill was fairly large and its sides were extremely rufous. I put it down as a Blue-winged Teal, but took plenty of pictures. After some review of the pics there was no way it was a full Blue-winged Teal. My notes from my checklist:
Dan Toronto and Leah Dodd found a Black-crowned Night-Heron at Meijer retention pond. About 3 years after I found 2 of them in the same spot. This bird may have been hanging around for longer as another one was reported at the nearby airport on May 12th. Another excellent bird for Calhoun this Spring.
Because of the cold weather we endured for most of the Spring I was well behind getting the soft top on my Jeep to do some "mobile hawking". Luckily while leading a Kellogg Bird Sanctuary field trip on April 28th at Woodland Park, an keen-eyed observed noticed a raptor across Gethings Road in some trees. FOY Red-shouldered Hawk was in view for a few minutes before taking off. I was definitely sweating getting this bird this Spring (still have not seen another one as I write this in late June).
One last highlight for April was Yard Bird #136, Great Egret on April 18th. It was a good April, but lacked any extremely high numbers. No record High Day, or record pace. That was about to change with a truly great May for birds in Calhoun.
My exploits in my latest passion, Birding...not Bird-watching;-)