Moo Count – Third Day

May 16, 2013

0415 – Kevin arrives as we prepare to head to Magee Marsh.. we discussed how we are going to get to my goal of a 175 Species… We need 2 more Warblers to get to 30 species.. Cape May, Kentucky, Prothonotary, Mourning, Kirtland’s…. which one will it be?

0630 – We arrived at Magee… first bird we heard was a Common Gallinule in the marsh area before the parking lot… There was no one there… only a couple of cars… its obviously not the greatest week in birding anymore… The woods are active, but all the birds are up high and not at eye level… bummer.. a good variety and we got a Prothonotary right away… very cool as I hear the Sweet, Sweet, Sweet and then see it sitting on a tree trunk… Kevin and I make it thru the boardwalk practically by ourselves and as we near the end of our first pass, I saw a Black-billed Cuckoo dart across the path in front of us… We walked the trail along the beach area  and looked for the Kirtland Warbler that was seen the day before.. The beach was empty and there were no birds on the water… we head back to the boardwalk… Second pass we came up with a Cape May Warbler… there was a good variety,but we are working on our list, so we are not searching for the Bay-breasted Warbler calling above our heads… We heard that there is an Eastern Whip-poor-will by marker 5 and we headed down and found a large group of people looking at it… awesome bird… We got to see a Sora up close… A nice little boy told us about it… We pick up an Eastern Wood-Pewee and a Willow and Alder Flycatcher for our list. We walk the estuary trail and see a ton of Dunlin and listen to the trumpet call of the Trumpeter Swan… next stop is Ottawa Wildlife Refuge..

1000 – We arrived at Ottawa and found a Lesser Scaup in the pond area near the front… in the marsh nearest the parking lot we scoped it and found an American Coot and a Hooded Merganser, which was a complete surprise ..  We are there for about an hour and then we headed to Metzger Marsh….

1100 – Metzger Marsh is a complete waste of time… a few Pied-billed Grebes but not much else… we don’t even get out of the car… we head to Oak-Openings Preserve Metropark..

1230 – I love Oak Openings… Great habitat and cool birds… Kevin had never been there before and after visiting it, I think he will be back. We pulled into the park and right away hear a Grasshopper Sparrow singing from a field along Girdham Rd… at Girdham and Reed Rd we found Lark Sparrows in the road… we pulled over on Reed Rd and found a pair of Summer Tanagers in about 2 minutes… Red-headed Woodpeckers were everywhere… We found the Blue Grosbeak on a trail that begins on Reed Rd near Girdham… while looking for the Blue Grosbeak, we heard a Hooded Warbler calling… Our 4th Hooded in 4 different locations in 3 days… It flew in front of us and into a tree… I looked at it and there was another bird right below it… Shoot!! its a Yellow-throated Vireo… Nice, very Nice… We spent a couple of hours in the park and then decided to head to Pointe Mouillee. We had 171 birds on our list… My goal was 175 so we had some work to do…

1530 – We arrive at Pointe Mouillee… we are going to hike out to cell 3.. its a long walk and we decided to start at the parking area off of Roberts Road… We immediately see a Black-crowned Night Heron… Hopefully good things to come… Cell 3 was rocking… We found a huge flock number over a 1000 Dunlin. There are Least Sandpipers and a couple of Short-billed Dowitchers.. The two coolest birds in the cell were two American Avocets and three Piping Plovers… We also found a pair of Northern Pintails, a female Canvasback and several Blue-winged Teals… We had an American Bittern calling loudly from the marsh near unit 3… We birded this area to near dark and then we headed home.. I was thinking of Owling, but after 6 miles of walking at Pointe Mouillee, I was too beat…..

American Avocets

American Avocets

American Avocet

American Avocet

American Avocet

American Avocet

American Avocet

American Avocet

Black Billed Cuckoo

Black Billed Cuckoo

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

Short-billed Dowitcher

Short-billed Dowitcher

Flock of Dunlin

Flock of Dunlin

Lark Sparrow

Lark Sparrow

Lark Sparrow

Lark Sparrow

Lark Sparrow

Lark Sparrow

Piping Plover

Piping Plover

Piping Plover

Piping Plover

Piping Plover

Piping Plover

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Red-headed Woodpeckers

Red-headed Woodpeckers

Sora

Sora

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager

Whip-poor-will

Whip-poor-will

Yellow-throated Vireo

Yellow-throated Vireo

Yellow-throated Vireo

Yellow-throated Vireo

 

 

MOO Count – Second Day

May 15, 2013

0530 – Kevin arrived for Leg 2 of our MOO count. Today we attack Michigan. This would not be a high travel day. It is my belief that Macomb County and a couple of places in St. Clair County and Oakland County will provide a good day with good numbers. We headed to Lk. St. Clair Metropark.

0615 – Kevin and I parked near the Point Rosa Marsh. We were going to walk the boardwalk in the Marsh and pick up Virginia Rails and Sora as they called… The wind was picking up… it was going to be a very breezy all day… Other than the Marsh Wrens, the Marsh is quiet… I am not happy… Not a good start… We headed to the marsh near the gazebo… same issue.. too quiet… Marsh Wren, Yellow Warblers and Red-winged Blackbirds are the only birds making any noise in the marsh… We headed for the woods..  A Tennessee Warbler was calling loudly from the willow near the first Bridge… we saw him sitting toward the top… Woods were fairly active. Blackburnian Warblers are around… A couple of Lincoln Sparrows were moving about the meadow loop… We heard the first Chebek of the day… Least Flycatcher… As we were coming out of the meadow loop and onto the trails behind the Nature Center, we spied a bird in the middle of the trail… its a Thrush… No notable eye ring, uniform brown, no Buffy color… Sweet, it was a Gray-cheeked thrush… I shot some quick pictures of it as it jumped up on a branch, and then it was gone… Just then we looked to the right and a Hooded Warbler was moving about the brush!! Wow, now the adrenaline is flowing… We move up the trail… I can hear Black and White Warblers… Yellow Warblers are everywhere… I see Tom Heatley on the trail with a couple of birders… They were looking at something… It turned out to be a Hooded Warbler… Wow, possibly two of them were there…. I got some good looks, took some pics and we were on our way… We birded the rest of the woods and found a Wilson’s Warbler, Northern Parula, American Redstart, Northern Waterthrush and Wood Thrush. On the way out, we stopped and looked at Point Rosa Marsh.. Thru the scope we found Semipalmated Plover, Least Sandpiper and a possible Pectoral vs White-rumped Sandpiper… We called Tom and he went and looked at it and called us back and confirmed that it was a White-rumped Sandpiper. Kevin thought he saw the white rump, but its a long ways off and I wanted Tom’s expert Shorebird eyes on it.. A very good bird for the count…  At the beach we striked out on Pipits… a few Dunlin around…. we headed to Mt Clemens for the Peregrine Falcon..

Kevin and I sat in the parking lot of the Police Station in Mt Clemens scanning the Macomb County building for the Peregrine Falcons that nest there… No luck, so we moved to another position to see the SouthEast corner where they are currently nesting.. Nothing… we decide to leave and head to Port Huron… We are driving down Cass toward the County Building and I am making a joke on how I am going to beep my horn to scare the falcon, when all of a sudden it flies over my car and lands on the ledge… Wow, sometimes its better to be lucky than good… we laughed and headed to Port Huron State Game Area.

1100 – Kevin and I are driving down Shoefelt Rd. We are going to bird Port Huron State Game Area… I love this place… it was Kevin’s first time and I know he was going to really love it… I heard a Pine Warbler and we stopped and looked at it… Blue-winged Warblers were calling… in the parking lot I heard a Scarlet Tanager in one direction and a Rose-breasted Grosbeak in another… We headed down the trail and soon heard a Hooded Warbler calling overhead… They breed here and as it was sitting on a branch, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird came out of nowhere and chased it… Awesome!!  we heard a  Wood Thrush calling… there were many different kinds of warblers around… Our target bird was a Cerulean Warbler…. I told Kevin that when we get to the end of the trail, we will follow the treeline around the river and listen for them…. we came down the hill into the open field area, walk over to the woods and heard one call immediately .. I grabbed some photographs and Kevin is thrilled to see this lifer…. Target birds gotten, we moved on back to the car… Next area was Wetzel…

1245 – We arrived at Wetzel and our two target birds are Clay-colored Sparrow and Sedge Wren… they both nest in park… We found both of them… the Sedge Wren was harder to find, but Tom Heatley was there before us and directed us to where he had it.. we got it to make some noise but it was very shy… the winds were very strong and birds were spooked by it… Birding was getting tough… We looked for the Bobolinks, but with no luck…. This bird would end up frustrating us by the end of the count… Next was Wolcott Mills Metropark… On the way there we saw a Coopers Hawk fly across the road…

1400 – Wolcott our target bird is Eastern Meadowlark… I was worried that they would be silent with the wind… They were… we walked the field and flushed one… I was hoping the Bobolink was going to be here… it wasn’t… Neither was the American Kestrel that is always sitting on the wire… Birdathons or big day counts are like this… We go by the Wolcott Farm and Witness a Sharp-shinned Hawk chasing a sparrow.. No bobolinks here either. Onto Grasshopper Sparrow spot…

1530 – We arrive at the field at 29 mile rd and Mound Rd and within 5 minutes we heard the Grasshopper Sparrow calling… Off to the Osprey Nest…

1600 – At Inwood Rd near the Inwood Trails parking area there is an Osprey Nest on the cell tower… We saw one come in and land on top of the tower… We also checked out some marsh area nearby and find a Sandhill Crane… Onto the Osprey Trail at Stony Creek Metropark…

1700- Osprey Trail was quiet… very quiet… We find a White-breasted Nuthatch calling.. a Great-crested Flycatcher was along the creek area flying from tree to tree… The lake was dead… a few mallards…

1800 – We hit the trails at West Branch and find the Pileated Woodpecker drumming… there also is a Brown Creeper in the marsh area near parking lot C.

1900- We checke out the area along the creek behind the nature center… we were looking for Yellow-throated Vireo that are normally there, but it was not vocal… Not much was around… We leave and before we called it a day we head to our Louisiana Waterthrush spot and get it right away….  We called it a night… the next day we were getting up early and heading to Ohio…

We ended the day with 113 species.. Not the total I would have liked, but its ok… Highlights were the Cerulean Warbler, Louisana Waterthrush, Pine Warbler and White-rumped Sandpiper… We had 26 Warblers on our list… we made a goal to get at least 30 after we bird Ohio the next day.. Total list of Species after day 2 is 152.

Cerulean Warbler

Cerulean Warbler

Grey-cheeked Thrush taken at dawn

Grey-cheeked Thrush taken at dawn

Hooded Warbler eating

Hooded Warbler eating

Hooded Warbler singing

Hooded Warbler singing

Hooded Warbler

Hooded Warbler

Hooded Warbler

Hooded Warbler

MOO Count – First Day

May 14, 2013

0330 – Kevin Rysiewski arrived at my house. We are beginning what will be 3 days of intense birding in Michigan, Ontario and Ohio. I first heard about a MOO count from Tom Heatley and I always wanted to do one.. For some unknown reason, I chose this year.

0545 – Kevin and I arrived at Point Pelee National Park. The first place we headed to is the Marsh Board walk… it was still pretty dark outside and we decided to drive up the road and do a little bit of Owling. While driving toward the DeLaurier Trail we heard a Peent!! A Woodcock, which we also heard in my yard before leaving that morning.

0615 – We arrived back at the Marsh Board Walk and began our walk… We could hear the Marsh Wrens going crazy. We were hoping to hear Least Bittern or Virginia Rail call, but had no luck.. Soon as it began to get light out, we saw a Black Tern flying over the Marsh. Common Yellowthroats are calling from every where.. I hear the familiar sound of Swifts flying overhead and spot them.. There were a number of Swallows flying all over the marsh. As we headed back to the car, we heard the call of a Northern Waterthrush in the wet area near the parking lot. We almost hit a couple of Wild Turkeys who were displaying right in the middle of the the road.

0645 – We arrived at the Visitors Center. There was a whole group of people waiting for the Tram to head to the tip. I told Kevin, that we would walk the trails behind the nature center and slowly make our way to the tip. We are both glad that we made that decision. Within a couple of minutes of being on the trail, we see a bird dart across the path in front of us and land on a bent over branch… A singing Worm-eating Warber. I did not bring my camera into the woods because of the threat of rain, but Kevin was able to get video of the Warbler.. Awesome looking bird… We continued down the trail and the woods are moderately active. We see and hear Black and White, Chestnut sided, Yellow, Blue-winged warblers are about.. We hear the first of several Carolina Wrens. Kevin spies a bird off to our right and exclaims that he has a Golden-winged Warbler… It gave us a few good looks and it was gone. There are several Orchard Orioles throughout the trails. White-crowned Sparrows are everywhere..

0800 – We arrived at the tip. There are Common and Red-breasted Mergansers out in the water on the eastern shore. We found a couple of Cedar Waxwings resting in a tree.. The point had a group of 40 Common Terns, Caspian Terns, Bonaparte Gulls and Herring Gulls. We walked along the beach on the eastern side of the point and found a Red-headed Woodpecker on a piece of driftwood. There  were a pair of Eastern Kingbirds there.. Barn Swallows were sitting on the sand and allowing some close approaches… No rain, I was regretting leaving my camera in the car.

0900 – We arrive back at the nature center as we slowly work the trails back from the tip. We saw some Nashville Warblers and Lincoln Sparrows… We were going to hit Tilden Woods next. Just as we are about to leave the trail, we look to our left and see a Hooded Warbler sitting near a wood pile… Sweet!! Kevin verbally says out loud, “we have a Hooded Warbler” and of course the rush starts as everyone runs for there spot to view it… Love it!!  I took a quick break and when I come out of the restroom Kevin was showing a couple of people inside the center his video of the Worm-eating Warber… It wont be the only time he shows off that video during this day. So cool!

0920 – Tildens was quiet. I informed Kevin that its a good place to see Northern Parula Warblers and with in 5 minutes on the trail we heard our first one. There were lots of American Redstarts. We found a Swainson’s Thrush. A couple of Indigo Buntings buzz by us. We decide to cut this short and head for the DeLaurier Trail.

1000 – Delaurier Trail is great for Eastern Bluebirds. It did not dissapoint as we saw one near the parking lot. We had Northern Waterthrush in a couple of locations. Yellow Warblers were everywhere… We had a finch like bird fly by us and it was making this little buzzy call… we chase it down and sure enough we had a Pine Sisken. It wont be the last one of the day. Eastern Towhee’s were calling from multiple areas in the open field/brush areas. There were a few warblers around, American Redstarts and Nashville Warbers mostly. Next up… Onion Fields

1045 – We starting heading down the roads leading to the Onion Fields.. these are a series of roads north of the park with lots of farm land. Its a great place for sparrows and Black-bellied Plovers. We heard a Savannah Sparrow and we closed out our list of swallows.. We hear a Ring-necked Pheasant call from a hedgerow bordering a farm.. We also found a pair of Black-bellied Plovers in a field. They are sharing there space with some Horned Larks. We have a flyby of an Imm Bald Eagle… heading toward Hillmans Marsh.

1130 – We arrived at Hillman Marsh. on the south side of the marsh we saw lots of Great Egrets, Forster’s Terns and a few Mallards… a small flock of ducks flew overhead and we  quickly looked at them and they were Gadwalls… We headed to the north side of the marsh. We park at the Hillman Marsh Conservation Area and headed down the trail toward the shorebird habitat… Awesome conditions. We see flocks of Dunlin, Black-bellied Plovers, a couple of Ruddy Turnstone, Lesser Yellowlegs and Least Sandpiper.. The flocks took to the air suddenly and we looked as a Merlin comes out of no where and almost grabs one before it flew away… there are Green-winged Teal, Red-head and Gadwall on the water. We had out to go down the road and look at another wet area. We see an elderly lady on a bridge looking at something and then looking at us like she wants to tell someone what she has… We roll down the window and she says she thinks she has Willets… We pulled over, grabbed the scope and sure enough there were 3 Willet and 1 Long-billed Dowitcher… Very cool…

1200 – Lunch break and strategy session. Passerine migration is slow.. strong southerly winds is putting the birds on the move and the woods are getting quiet.. we decide to head to Wheatly Provincial Park.

1300 – Wheatly is slow. We add Great-crested Flycatcher, Hairy Woodpecker and one other bird to our list before we are gone… It cost us 14 dollars to enter the park and we were there for about an hour.. thats $4.67 cents per bird… Hmmm, that does not sound like a good deal… LOL! Next up is Stoney Point bordering Lake St. Clair…. On the way there I found a Vesper Sparrow sitting on a wire near Comber…

1430 – Stoney Point – Trembely Beach. This turned out to be a cool area for the day. Black Tern in the Sewage Lagoon.. Not many Sandpipers but there were a few Least Sandpipers and Spotted. There were Ruddy and Wood Ducks on the water… The woods bordering the parking lot were full of Warblers.. Palm, Canada, Am Redstarts, Nashville, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Yellow, Yellow-rumped, Northern Waterthrush and tons of Magnolia Warblers… There was a stunning Scarlet Tanager low in the trees… A Northern Harrier was working the fields… A flock of 14 Pines Siskins came and landed in a tree near us….

1800 – Heading Home… Ontario was fun but a long day. 127 Species. The great thing is the amount of unusual birds that we saw… Anytime you are doing a count, the more atypical birds that get on your list, the more room for getting the easier ones and building the count… Highlights were Worm-eating Warbler, Golden-Winged Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Willet, Long-billed Dowitcher, Ruddy Turnstone and Merlin…

American Redstart

American Redstart

Black Tern

Black Tern

Black Tern

Black Tern

Black-throated Blue

Black-throated Blue

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

House Wren

House Wren

Least Flycatcher

Least Flycatcher

Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

American Redstart

American Redstart

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanager

Swainson's Thrush

Swainson’s Thrush

 

MOO Count

I just finished my first day of my MOO count (Michigan, Ontario and Ohio in three days)… I spent today in Point Pelee and vicinity… 22 Warbler species and 126 total species of birds… I will provide a full synopsis on Friday when I am done…

Tomorrow I start my quest…

My 72 hour Bird-a-thon starts tomorrow… by 530 I will be at Point Pelee and ready to start my day.. Kevin Rysiewski is joining me and I will be showing him the finer points of a birding marathon… I remember the first time I did one with my great friend and birding buddy Mick… we were competing against many teams in the Cincinnati bird-a-thon and we ended up coming in second or third… It was a blast… This year is a challenge… we are not competing against anyone this year, but we are competing against previous years numbers, and we hope to hit 150 min and 175 max….. Stay Tuned….