Snow Goose at Stoney…. ahh not here…. but the crane was..

Pulled into park at 0700 on the dot… I headed to winter cove, walked across the ice bridge and made my way across the island so I could have a view of bay point beach…. only Canada’s seen, no snow goose…. However, there was a single Sandhill Crane calling loudly and hanging with the geese..(79) Plan to be up in the Mid 80’s by the weekend… got a few birds I am going after…. Screech Owl and Carolina Wren….

Winter Wren – Metrobeach

When I got off of work tonight, I headed to Metrobeach in Harrison Twp… Late day birding kills me in the spring because the best birds are gone by 10am, but winter birding is different… I spotted 6 Red-winged Blackbirds (76) in a tree off of Jefferson and South River Rd….  Then I headed into the park… the service rd behind the nature center was my targeted area tonight… every year since I can remember that I have birded at Metro, I am able to find Winter Wren (77) in the thickets at the end of this road… Today was no different…. once I got past the marsh on my left, heading toward the dead end, I heard a couple of scolding notes from the wren… This is the best way to find them… I patiently waited and looked to the dark areas under the thickets… the Winter Wren is a skulker and doesn’t show itself easily… it took almost an hour before I could get a good look at it and I was finally able to get a photo. It sat on a branch in the open and I snapped a quick photo, and with the click of my shutter, it was gone… “too late my wren friend, I already got your picture”… I also had a Swamp Sparrow (78) singing in the Marsh and with a little phishing got it to come out of the cattails and show itself… there are always a few that hang for the winter at Metro… click to enlarge

Winter Wren

The Great Horned Owls are nesting… one of the Owls was sitting in the Copper Tub…. for those of you who are not familiar with the Owls at Metro, the tub was placed in the tree many years ago when a nest was blown out of the trees (or something like that) and the young were on the ground… they were placed back in the tree in this makeshift nest… all these years later, they continue to nest in the tub every February… it is easily visible from the middle trail behind the nature center…

Great Horned Owl on nest

 

Lesser Black-backed Gull 1st Winter

Took another run to Stoney Creek Metropark today to check out the Lesser Black-backed Gull that was found yesterday morning… I bumped into Kevin R and Jerry L and we observed the Gull together. After getting home yesterday, I wasn’t a hundred percent sure that that was the Gull… I looked at it rather quickly, I was by myself… and I wanted to be sure… So armed with all that I read last night and the many photos I looked at on the web, I went back… I am now sure that this is the Gull (74)… In addition to being much smaller than a Herring Gull, the head neck and throat are much lighter than the rest of the breast.. there is a hint of a circle around the eye when its head is in a certain position. almost looks like a smudge area.  The scapulars were boarded with white,  although not as much as some of the comparison photos I was using, but definitely more than the 1st winter Herring gull… the tail is very black, and I got a chance to see the bird with wings and tail fully expanded… The bill is black… the legs were a pinkish color, although not the same as the herring gulls that were around it… kinda of an unique color… Anyways, a great bird…
There also was a Double-crested Cormorant (75) on the lake sitting with the Geese… He sat there for about an hour and then took off and circled the lake a few times and disappeared…
We had a Cackling Goose still on the lake… My zoom wouldn’t go that far so I used my Iphone and snapped a picture thru my scope… I size comparison is pretty obvious… cute little fellow….
Drove 28 mile home and down Broughton Rd… nothing to report except for the same Kestrel at 26mi and Luchman Rd…. right near my sub…. I see him every day….

Canada Goose and Cackling Goose

Wasn’t planning on birding today, but then again… Lesser Black-backed Gulls dont show up every day

I worked most of the day… I looked at my email at 345pm and saw a posting from Brian McGee that he found a Lesser Black-backed Gull 1st Winter at Stoney… One was seen a couple of days before and I did not want to miss this one, so I got off the couch and headed that way…. Gulls are not my strongest suit and this one was sitting on the ice quite a distance away… even with my scope, it was a challenging ID…. The black bill was easily seen and unlike the 1st winter Herring Gull, the head and neck area appeared lighter in color… the tail was black and there was more streaking on the breast than a smudgy pattern…. I feel confident on making the call, but I would love to have a better photograph…. I might try again in the morning, and if its still near bay point beach area, I may hike over there and attempt a photo from that side of the lake… I will call it a county bird for the year when I have a decent photo to back up putting it on my list…
At the nature center I easily found the Common Redpolls (73)… There were 4 of them and they were calling from the trees above the feeders… I managed one decent picture before the 4 flew off toward the creek…

Good start to Feb – county list still growing

Metrobeach at dawn… before work.. figured I would run to the beach and Huron Point… no Pipit on the beach… just a lone Horned Lark… Waterfowl seen were Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Mallard, Ring-necked Duck and Common Merganser. I bumped in to Kevin Rysiewski while I was there and we managed to spot two Glaucous Gulls (69) circling overhead near the Park headquarters.. Very cool Gulls… I usually see them sitting on the ice somewhere and I forgot how white they are when they take flight… watched them for a couple of minutes… Kevin relocated one of them by the DNR  station later in the day sitting on the ice… Northern Harrier (70) seen flying over the south marsh, way up high… He looked like a spec in my Zoom… oh well… Great Horned Owl (71) seen near copper tub… should be nesting soon…  Heard one sparrow singing in the cattails… sounded sorta of like a fox sparrow, but a different variation and I could not get it to show itself… oh well, another day…. off to work I go…     Stoney Creek Osprey trail after work… looked for Cedar Waxwings that have been seen there with no luck… I did managed to find a Belted Kingfisher (72) near the Osprey tower…

I am tired of eating berries

Belted Kingfisher

Sun is shining in my eyes…. anyone see anything in this picture

Northern Harrier two miles up

Lesser Scaup