Well, Once again Tom Hince found a rare bird for the county. I am beginning to believe that he has a special implant in him that makes him a literal bird magnet. He found a Lark Sparrow this morning at Bradenburg Park. What a great find for the county. I was told that the bird hung out most of the day and may birders got a chance to see it.. Awesome Find!! Thanks Tom!!! I owe you one. or two. or three….. Gosh I am in a lot of “bird debt”… LOL
I started off the day in Port Huron… I was hoping to get a better view of the Little Gulls, but no luck. I did see a Red-necked Grebe, White-winged and Black Scoters and about 60 Long-tailed Ducks. I headed to the location in Macomb County where I saw the Northern Shrike found by Tom and Kathi Hince. I couldn’t get photos of it yesterday and I was hoping for a second chance. I drove by a field where a flock of Killdeer flew when a Red-tailed Hawk flew over the field. I immediately noticed two peep sized sandpipers in the flock. the flock circled around the field and landed. I stopped and pulled out my scope. The first of the peep sized pipers had juvenile plumage. A long black thin bill is what I first noticed. Slight drooped at the tip and almost thinner looking at the tip. It was standing with the Killdeer and looked half its size. It had black legs. The head and neck looked grayish and the face looked pale. throat and breast were white with faint streaking on upper breast. what caught my attention was the rufous row of feathers in the upper scapulars while the lower scapulars were very gray in appearance. The second bird was some what dull grayish looking all over with white throat and breast with smudgy streaking on both sides of chest. This bird also had a long thin black bill that was slightly curved at the tip. When taking flight and moving around the field the birds had a very high pitched flight note. I called Tom Hince and told him I thought I had Western Sandpipers and would this be late in the year for them. Needless to say he headed my way and before he and Kathi could get there, flushed when the hawk buzzed the field again and we could not relocate them. A really sweet find for the year for me and I was bummed I did not get to share it with anyone… Across the field from the Sandpipers there were a pair of Northern Harriers that were quite entertaining…
Northern Harrier pouncing on a mouse
Northern Harrier preening
I had planned on being in Port Huron at day break to look for Yeagers… Unfortunately that did not happen when the wife blew both of her tires…. So she took my car to work and I worked on getting her car back on the road… I was finished with that around Noon… I headed to Port Huron… Nice strong winds from the North, maybe I would find something interesting… There were a couple of Black Scoters that few by and Long-tailed Ducks are beginning to arrive… There was a good number of White-winged Scoters today. I found a Little Gull by the DNR station and was able to get a few subpar photos since I was in the middle of being pelted by an ice pelt storm that formed on the lake… It was crazy out there today…. Huge waves and strong winds… I got a text from Tom Hince that he and Kathi had found a Northern Shrike near 29 mi and Omo and I headed that way to check it out… I got quick glimpses of the bird in the top of a tree about a 100 yards from the corner and then it flew off low behind an old silo… I tried to relocate but no luck… I am going back tomorrow to try and get some photos… I love my Shrikes!!
Redheads and White-winged Scoters…. Lets not forget about the single Ruddy bringing up the rear