Friday, February 8, 2013

Oct.-Jan. Avian Photo Essay--Part 1

Wading Birds:

Great Blue Heron, Nov 22.  It was nice to see one on this particular
day, what with the cold air and  bone-chilling winds.


Western Grebe, 26 Nov.  This very rare bird turned up at Lake Lansing in the middle of November  and stayed an astonishingly long time there.  As you can see, these pics were taken through my spotting scope.  Ingham County has hosted a crazy amount of rarities this  fall and winter, including several Nelson's Sparrows, Northern Mockingbird, Townsend's Solitaire, 2 Franklins,  several Lesser Black-backed, and 1 Greater Black-backed Gull, 1 Cattle Egret, several Surf Scoters, at least 5 White-winged Scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, 2 Buff-breasted Sandpipers, 1 American Golden-plover, 1 Black-bellied Plover (rare in the county), 1 Baird's Sandpiper, 2 Hoary Redpolls, many Bohemian Waxwings, a couple of Evening Grosbeaks, and both crossbills! 

Snow Goose, Oct 27. Cool birds!  One white morph and one blue morph.  I saw these with
Sean Williams on MSU campus.  A LOT of rare geese showed up in the MSU farm fields this year.
I think Sean Williams told me that it's the first fall ever that there have been five--or six, depending on how you
look at it--species reported(Greater White-fronted, Snow, Ross's, Canada, and Cackling, plus an
 "uncountable" Greylag Goose at MSU Ponds). 

Horned Grebe, Oct 15.  I was very excited to find these two Horned Grebes on the small lake at
Hawk Island Ingham County Park.  Crummy picture I know, but an exciting find nevertheless.

Canada Goose, Jan 1.  My second species photographed for the new year!  At Fenner Nature Center.

Cackling Goose, Dec 15.  A cool bird to see in the middle of December!  In some fields off College Road.
"Cacklers" were actually fairly easy to find in the MSU farm fields this fall and early winter.  The one on the right is totally bizarre: no lightly colored breast like a normal Cackling and a really wierd but cool-looking white necklace.

Tundra Swan,  Oct 24.  These Tundra swans that made an appearance at Maple River State Game Area
were a tiny bit on the early side of Tundra Swan migration.

Black Scoter, 10 Nov.  Seen on an Audubon field trip to Allegan County.  There was a Northern Shoveler, of all
things, mixed in--in this picture it's the third farthest to the right.  I believe the furthest to the left is a Surf Scoter.

Long-tailed Duck, 10 Nov.  Seen at an inland wastewater treatment plant in Allegan County
on the same field trip that I saw the scoters.

Birds of Prey:

Bald Eagle, Jan 3.  There were at least seven of these on the ice of Lake Macatawa.

Cooper's Hawk, 28 Nov.  "Coops" visit our feeders frequently, but once we got this House Sparrow trap some
young ones decided that there was something to gain by sitting on top of the trap watching the sparrows inside.
It turns out there isn't.

Golden Eagle, 10 Nov.  This rarity was seen above some Allegan County farm fields while on the aforementioned
Audubon field trip.  What a cool bird!  I loved its wedge-shaped tail and tail pattern.  A very graceful bird.

Barred Owl, 13 Nov.  I was at Fenner Nature Center looking for crossbills when I looked up to see this
owl staring me straight in the face!  I was captivated and its gazed pinned me to the spot.  Luckily, I got my
wits together and snapped a few photos.


 Dunlin and Pectoral Sandpiper (middle) and Killdeer, 10 Nov.  All of these shorebirds were seen at Wade's Bayou on that very productive Audubon field trip to Allegan County. All of them were late for their species except for Killdeer, of which there were about 40 on the mudflats.  You can't really tell from the top photo the ID of the birds, and I only know what they are from being there.


Just a couple of good shots of the endearing young Mourning Dove that visited the feeders during the months of October and November.


Rufous Hummingbird, 7 Oct.  This rarity was at Black Swamp Bird Observatory's
feeders from September through January, nearly 4 months!


My two favorite shots of a Red-bellied Woodpecker.  I love the action in the top one.   It was so fun to
watch the woodpecker ward off the jay.  

This female Downy Woodpecker ran into a window on 23 November and perched on our window sill 
outside until she recuperated enough to fly away.

A female Hairy Woodpecker at the feeders, 26 Oct.

Part two will be coming soon!

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