I did not go birding this morning… My back hurt from doing some work around the house yesterday and I figured I would take the morning off… I thought the rain would come early, but it did not start until late morning… Oh well.. I went by Wolcott Mill Metropark entrance to see if I could hear anything calling in the woods that would make me want to chase it in the rain…. I heard the familiar call of the House Wren… my first one of the year… I pulled out the camera in the sprinkling rain and took a few shots.. He noticed me and scolded me loudly before taking off… An American Kestrel was hunting near the entrance… Stopped by Stony Creek and there was a Common Loon swimming and diving right near the beach… by this time it was raining steadily so I did not try to get out and photograph it… I did run into a pair of Tufted Titmouse hanging out in some pines… they were funny to watch….
I expected a little bit of a wave today.. I was mistaken… it was strangely quiet in the woods… I managed to see a Fox Sparrow and a couple of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and Allen banded a Tree Sparrow… yep, not the signs I am looking for of a big wave coming in…. a couple of Hermit Thrush were still around and I found a Carolina Wren in the Maple Woods…. The Wilson’s Snipe was going crazy in Pointe Rosa Marsh… There were two Yellow Warblers by the first bridge and the Yellow-headed Blackbird was still coming to the feeders… Stopped by Wetzel…. No Clay-colored Sparrows yet… plenty of Swamps and Field Sparrows and Towhee calling… Pied-billed Grebes in the ponds….
Wolcott Mills Metropark is the best place I know of for Eastern Towhee… I counted 5 singing males tonight… One allowed me to get fairly close… It was around 7pm and the sun was beginning to drop in the sky… This afforded me the opportunity to practice with my flash and my Better Beamer flash extender…. I liked the results… I wouldn’t use this during the day for this shot, but it was getting dim and there were shadows over the bird… I also shot a picture of a Brown Thrasher on Kuntsman Rd and 29 mi Rd singing at 8pm at night…. I was getting dark and I could make him out on the branch… Again, I used my flash and managed a couple of fairly sharp images…. Not much else around….
A Big Shout Out and Thanks to Vikki Jones for letting me come and see the Summer Tanager that has been visiting her feeders… I watched for the bird for a couple of minutes when Steve Santner and Mary Trombley joined Vikki and I as we waited for it to show up…. Finally the Tanager came and it was very friendly as it sat in the feeder and ate and then perched on a branch in the tree near the feeder… Nice looking bird to say the least…. Thanks again Vikki!! I posted some pics below… Shot with my Canon 7D and my Sigma 150-500mm.. not the most expensive rig, but I am having lots of fun with it….
My lifelong friend and fellow birder of 39 years (we were 6 yrs old and 7 yrs old when we started) is Mick Seymour… He lives in Traverse City and has been one of the instrumental people involved in getting the Sleeping Bear Birding Trail established. There were a couple of inaccuraticies in the statement that someone posted on birder@Umich so I thought I would post the official release…. Very proud of my friend and look forward to checking all of this out in person… the link to the website is http://sleepingbearbirdingtrail.org/
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 2013
MICHIGAN’S SLEEPING BEAR BIRDING TRAIL CONNECTS THE DOTS
Dave Barrons Chair, SBBT committee (231) 590-2295 firstname.lastname@example.org
` Mick Seymour Operations Director, email@example.com
Michigan’s coastline and habitat diversity have long been a draw to bird watchers and nature enthusiasts. Birders and eco-tourists spend millions each year in the enjoyment of their pursuits. Now, the Sleeping Bear Birding Trail, Michigan’s first birding trail, has been formed to connect exceptional birding areas and promote an area that Good Morning America awarded the Most Beautiful Place in America.
The Trail’s new website, www.sleepingbearbirdingtrail.org, will help guide birders to 35 recommended birding sites scattered along 123 miles of Michigan’s Highway M-22. The website is smartphone compatible and includes a web-based map that will lead travelers from Manistee, northward through Benzie County, around the Leelanau peninsula and eventually to Traverse City.
The Trail is anchored by the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which has over 71,000 acres of public land and 35 miles of beaches, including vital habitat for the Piping Plover, an endangered shorebird that needs vast stretches of undisturbed beach. Another rare species, the Kirtland’s Warbler, nests in an area that is an hour’s drive from the Trail. The National Lakeshore is an Important Bird Area as designated by the National Audubon Society and there have been 321 different species recorded along the Trail.
Birding trails are successful in Texas, Arizona, and along Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Dave Barrons, chairman and co-founder of this grassroots effort says the Sleeping Bear area’s distinct seasons, diverse topography, extensive shoreline and large number of natural areas with public access make it a naturalist’s paradise. Barrons says: “I always knew we had the resources to add birding to the area’s tourism brand but the surprise was just how much access to diverse, public land there is along M-22. We have been able to build from a wide range of birding sites that already have public parking and strong stewardship. Some trail initiatives have to attack that challenge first.” “This is not just a single trail where you get out and hike around looking for birds,” he says. “It’s a travel route, a way of connecting a number of birding sites in a way that allows you to include them in your itinerary and enjoy some incredible scenery.”
Mick Seymour, Operations Director and co-founder says, “Birders have never had a better opportunity to make a difference and contribute to citizen science. We now have the ability to meticulously record what we see and hear through the use of eBird and the built-in GPS technology. Birders all over the world are recording where, when, and how many and this data is enormously valuable to the science and understanding of species distribution and abundance. Our Trail embraces this technology and aims to be a microcosm and model for the eBird initiative.” The Trail is especially committed to developing electronic reporting and interactive mapping features which will distinguish it from existing trails.
The Sleeping Bear Dunes Birding Trail is being developed in partnership with Michigan Audubon, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, The Leelanau Conservancy, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
FACTS AT A GLANCE ………
– 48 million Americans report they are active birdwatchers; approx 16 million birdwatch while traveling
– more than $32 billion in retail sales
– more than $13 billion in state and federal taxes
– more than 863, 000 jobs
………… Us Fish and Wildlife Service: Birding in the US; A Demographic and Economic