Here is a photo I took today of a Common and Forster’s Tern next to each other on the beach.. The obvious darker primaries of the Common and wings that extend a little beyond the tail contrast nicely to the Forster’s with an overall frosty pale appearance and long tail… I have seen multiple reports from people with Common Terns at the park and finally got my butt down there to see if they were still around. In most springs not a very common bird to the park, although they can usually be seen a few times… I was hoping someone would photograph one and was glad I got the opportunity today.
Lots of excitement today with the report that the 4 Whooping Cranes found last friday were still around in Macomb County. Operation Migration showed up today and the Cranes are from the Wisconsin population. They are fitted with gps transmitters so there location was tracked by the team that takes care of the Wisconsin Population… Tomorrow they are going to attempt to get the Cranes in a pen and transport them back to Wisconsin where they will be better protected. I was amazed at how much larger they were than the Sandhill Cranes they shared the pond with… So cool!!
Back story on these birds as provided by Andrew Simon tonight on Facebook Birding Michigan page. Thanks Andrew for getting the story!
“Operation Migration, the organization responsible for helping Whooping Cranes come back to stable populations. As it turns out, these 4 young Whoopers were born last May, not even a year old at this point. They were successfully raised and migrated ON THEIR OWN, to the Mississippi Basin where they spent the winter. They began their migration back up to Wisconsin and somewhere along the way were blown off course. Not having adults to lead them and teach them how to come back, they ended up in northern Macomb County. They have been in the area for several weeks as Operation Migration gave them time to settle in and make sure they weren’t going to move again. The reason OPMI came is actually to collect the cranes and bring them back to Wisconsin where the possibility of them finding mates and rearing more of their own kind is much greater than if they were to stay here in Michigan. I knew that Whooping Cranes were extremely endangered, with less than 500 individuals in the wild, but I did not know that the Wisconsin population consists of less than 100 individuals, and 4 of them happened to find their way here! The team from OPMI also informed us that the cranes were on the same latitude as if they were to have flown to Wisconsin, just the wrong longitude. Meaning they flew as far north as they needed to for a successful migration, just didn’t correct themselves after being blown off course. The woman who actually raised these young birds as part of the program was one of the people on the team who came here today to collect the birds and return them “home”. It was pure luck that we happened to be there the same time the team arrived. Their plan is to bring their portable corral out to the field and gently heard the birds into it so they can be properly transferred back to their home. Pardon my bad pictures, they were taken at quite a distance so as not to disturb the birds. Best of luck and safe travels to Operation Migration and their precious cargo.”
Winds were straight out of the north today… My boss gave me the day off so I didn’t care that it was cloudy and wet from a rainy night… I started at my friend Jeff’s place and got my FOY White-crowned Sparrow… there were a ton of White-throated Sparrows there as well as American Kestrel and a Tree Swallows on territory in the nest boxes… I moved on from there to 29 and Omo road where there were 3 Dunlin, Spotted and Solitary Sandpiper. Next was Waldenberg Park with only one warbler, a Black and White.. I also had a Blue-headed Vireo, a pair of Eastern Phoebe and a dozen Ruby-crowned Kinglets… Last stop was Nicholson Nature Center…. very slow but I managed to see another Blue-headed Vireo and a Baltimore Oriole….
I just got back from a 6 day trip to South Korea… It was a business trip and I did not have much time to myself, but I managed 11 Life birds… Today I went birding even though the weather sucked and got 7 FOY birds… At LSCMP I photographed Least Bitterns and Virginia Rails and saw a Baltimore Oriole and a Chimney Swift… The woods were quiet with a few Yellow Warblers around and some Brown Thrashers… At Stony Creek Metropark I had a nice group of warbler at Lakeview Picnic area and there were at least 20 Yellow-rumped Warbers, Nashville Warbler, Palm Warbler and a Blue-headed Vireo… At the Osprey Trail I bumped into Christopher B and we saw a Palm Warbler… Overall not a bad day considering I had been out of the country the last week… I am pumped that may is here!!
Migration is slowly picking up… I got a call from Andy Weirauch that there were Pine Warbler and Yellow-rumps at a small park in Sterling Heights… There were at least 30 Yellow-rumped Warblers and 2 Pine Warblers… I also had Ruby Crowned Kinglets… LSCMP has a huge number of Sora and Virginia Rail and yesterday I found 3 Common Gallinule in the South Marsh.. Woods have been slow except an influx of White-throated Sparrows and a couple of Brown Thrashers on the trails behind the nature center… I am still seeing Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers although the numbers are declining as we get ready to move into may.. This morning I had some Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and a female Purple finch on the trails behind the center… Rusty Blackbirds can still be found in the flooded area of the Maple Woods at the end of the service drive.