Monday, September 17, 2012

Good Birding downstate this weekend

What's that?  A couple of White-faced Ibis at Point Mouillee State Game Area in Monroe County in SE Michigan just south of Detroit.  I was able to bird there this weekend and also saw a Marbled Godwit and a Western Sandpiper two birds I have only seen a few times before in the state.

We had a Plegadis sp., a probable White-faced Ibis in Manistee County near Penny Park in East Lake several years ago.  Marbled Godwits have shown up rarely at the Manistee State Game Area visible from Solberg's boatyard and at Arcadia Marsh.  I have only seen Western Sandpiper once in Manistee at the SGA.  Also this weekend there was great habitat at the Shiawasee National Wildlife Refuge in Saginaw County along the Auto Wildlife Tour Route.  Check it out if you get downstate!

Mudflats visible from the Wildlife Auto Tour Rd. at Shiawasee National Wildlife Refuge.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tough miss on a "great" bird:

After my shorebird survey at Manistee on Saturday morning my wife Maripat and I went up to Elberta for the outdoor "Taste of Benzie" food fair and saw Doug and Sally Cook.  Carl Freeman called at noon and said Alice VanZoren had seen a jaeger sp. at the Platte River Outlet and since Doug was keen to see it too we headed up there.

Doug and I searched the lakeshore for over an hour without luck and returned to Frankfort.  I had promised an errand trip with Maripat to go up to Traverse City so we headed up there.  At 5:00PM when in Traverse City I had a call again from Carl that the bird at the Platte River Outlet was a Great Shearwater, a first record for Michigan!  In agony over the now more distressing miss I called all the local birders and tried to finish the errands as quick as possible.

Both Keith Westphal and Doug returned to the area and searched for two hours without luck.  Maripat was game to try with me and we tried a new spot at Boekolo Rd (sp.?) hiking nearly a mile out to the beach and then again about a quarter mile south before it got dark without seeing the bird.  The next day a group of birders from down state came up and methodically covered the beachfront as I checked harbors to the south.  I received a sad call from Adam Byrne that Caleb Putnam had found the dead bird about 1/4 of a mile south of the area I had checked the night before.  If only I had found it and had carried a bucket of anchovies with me!

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