Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What a week....

(LOTS of birds at this stop in middle Indiana)

CT to NJ, NJ to Cleveland, Cleveland to Chicago, Chicago to Columbus, Columbus to Ann Arbor... the Detroit, now typing from Madison, WI.

I camped out in an truly beautiful area about 20 minutes from the University of Michigan Campus, in a place called Pinkney Rec Area, at 'Crooked Lake' camp ground. My early morning buddies for the two days were singing Worm-eating and Magnolia warblers, Chipping and Clay-colored sparrows, YT Vireo, Common Loons, red squirrels, and dozens of catbirds.

I was in Ann Arbor, because I got to see the SOX LOSE against the Tigers @ Comerica Park in Detroit, which was about an hour away in traffic. Another hour trying to find where I parked (a frequent occurrence so far in the big cities... downtown Cleveland, Chicago, and then Detroit). Birding was done when possible (of course I'll squeeze that in!), but timing and driving length to places had me running all over. My first chance to really bird was in Ann Arbor. I set-up camp around 7:15 (est), done by 8:30p, by 1:00 I heard the loons, CanGos never shutting up all night, Barred and GH Owls, Tree frogs, bull frogs, peepers, and the sounds of calling coyotes that, to me, never gets old. The next morning I had some time to walk the area (huge, many lakes,, several many mile long trails through THICK, mature broadleaf woods, some mixed woods, HEAVILY wooded swamps, powerline cut, and the thickets along the lakes and between campsites.

I left out of Ann Arbor around 3-4p (eastern), and arrived at my Motel 6 (my new best friend when I need a good 8 hours and a shower.... $40 bux for a smoking room w/WiFi. Which bring me to now....

It is 6:15a (central time) here in Madison, and I have one day to just chillaxinate, then be outski tomorrow late morn to the Dakotas. A troop from here.... I think about 14-15 hours. My next )planned) destination is Cedar River Nat'l Grassland on the southern ND border. SD is all rain for the next few days, ND is 65-70s and sunny/partly cloudy for the next few+ days. So... easy decision when you are camping.

To the birds...

I have (not even close to joking) have seen at least 6-700 vultures driving these roads. Only Blacks were in NJ when I left out from my buddies house in Nanuet, NJ.

So far, here is my complete (relatively, I have one to nail down to an ID) trip list:

(1) Common Loon

(2) Horned Grebe

(3) Pied-billed Grebe (almost to the Western and Clark's!)

(4) Am. White Pelican (4 fly-overs)

(5) DC Cormorant

(6) Am. Bittern

(7) Least Bittern

(8) GB Heron

(9) Green Heron

(10) BC Night-heron

(11) Canada Goose (close to real ones in MI!)

(12) Snow Goose (a few fly-overs, one of about 200, and 3 loners in a restoration pool in WI)

(13) Wood Duck

(14) Mallard

(15) Northern Pintail

(16) BW Teal

(17) Ring-necked Duck (interesting sounds from these guys)

(18) Hooded Merganser

(19) Turkey Vulture

(20) Black Vulture (NJ)

(21) Northern Harrier (6 Gray ghosts in the middle of nowhere Illinois/Indiana)

(22) Sharp-shinned Hawk

(23) Cooper's hawk

(24) Northern Goshawk (through Pocono Mnts, PA)

(25) RS Hawk

(26) Broad-winged Hawk (several small kettles the whole way so far... one amazing dark adult)

(27) RT Hawk (many)

(28) Golden Eagle (2 so far)

(29) Bald Eagle

(30) Osprey

(31) Merlin

(32) Am. Kestrel (tons in the grasslands, like the harriers)

(33) Peregrine Falcon

(34) RN Pheasant

(35) Ruffed Grouse.... jamming out on the drums... but I can never track one down!

(36) Wild Turkey

(37) Am. Coot

(38) Sandhill Crane (3 separate times, one in a field, 2 fly-over groups)

(39) Killdeer

(40) Gr. Yellowlegs

(41) Solitary Sandpiper

(42) Spotted Sandpiper

(43) Dunlin (same spot as Solitary and spotted, small restoration pool in bumblescum, IN)

(44) Least Sandpiper (same as above)

(45) Am. Woodcock

(46) Wilson's Snipe

(47) Boneparte's Gull

(48) Frankin's Gull (more since the first)

(49) RB Gull

(50) Herring Gull (CT/NJ... none since.. gone north, right?)

(51) Caspian Tern (lifer)

(52) Common Tern

(53) Forster's Tern (all terns on large lakes or in CHI)

(54) Black Tern (bigger of the lakes in Ann Arbor)

(55) Mourning Dove

(56) Rock Dove

(57) Black-billed Cuckoo (TONS on tent caterpillars in my campground)

(58) GH Owl (juv. response is so neat)

(59) Barred Owl

(60) E. Screech Owl

(61) Whip-poor-will (still haven't actually seen one, heard 3 times in life... Ann Arbor)

(62) Common Nighthawk

(64) Chimney Swift

(65) RT Hummingbird

(66) Belted Kingfisher (one saved in CT very recently from Silver Sands, released next day)

(67) Red-headed Woodpecker (almost numerous in the woods of my campground)

(68) Red-bellied Woodpecker

(69) YB Sapsucker

(70) Downy Wp

(71) Hairy WP

(73) N. Flicker

(74) Pileated WP

(75) E. Wood-Peewee

(76) Yellow-bellied Fly

(77) Willow Fly

(78) Least Fly

(79) E. Phoebe

(80) GC Fly (calling all day in Ann Arbor... well, technically Pinkeny, MI)

(81) E. Kingbird

(82) RE Vireo

(83) Warbling Vireo

(84) White-eyed Vireo (2 places)

(85) YT Vireo (another morning singer at campground)

(86) Blue Jay

(87) Common Raven (leaving NJ)

(88) A. Crow

(89) Fish Crow (drive from Stratford to NJ...actually in BPT)

(90) Horned Lark

(91) Purple Martin

(92) NRW Swallow

(93) Bank Swallow

(94) Tree Swallow

(95) Cliff Swallow

(96) Barn Swallow

(97) Tufted Titmouse

(98) BC Chickadee

(99) WB Nuthatch

(100) Brown Creeper

(101) Carolina Wren

(102) House Wren

(103) Winter Wren (campground trails)

(104) Sedge Wren

(105) Marsh Wren

(106) RC Kinglet

(107) BG Gnatcatcher

(108) E. Bluebird

(109) Am. Robin

(110) Wood Thrush

(111) Veery

(112) Swainson's Thrush

(113) Hermit Thrush

(114) Gray Catbird (I had to tell them to shut up... about 5 around my site)

(115) N. Mockingbird

(116) Brown Thrasher

(117) Euro. Starling

(118) Cedar Waxwing

(119) N. Parula

(120) Orange-crowned Warbler (never heard one sing until this one)

(121) Tennessee Warbler (FOY)

(122) Blue-winged Warbler

(123) Nashville Warbler

(124) Yellow Warbler (tons, everywhere)

(125) Chestnut-sided Warbler

(126) Magnolia Warbler (morning singer at campground, both days)

(127) Cape may Warbler (Lake Shore Blvd in d/t Chicago.... excellent migrant spot)

(128) Cerulean Warbler

(129) Blackburnian Warbler

(130) Yellow-rumped Warbler

(131) BTG Warbler

(132) Palm Warbler ('brown/western')

(133) Pine Warbler

(134) Bay-breasted Warbler (same spot in Chicago)

(135) YT Warbler

(136) Worm-eating Warbler

(137) Prothonotary Warbler

(138) B&W Warbler

(139) Am. Redstart

(140) Ovenbird

(141) No. Waterthrush

(142) Mourning Warbler (Ann Arbor rec area powerline cut)

(143) Common Yelowthroat

(144) Wilson's Warbler (female)

(145) Canada Warbler

(146) Hooded Warbler

(147) Yellow-breasted Chat (lifer.. finally!!)

(148) Scarlet Tanager

(149) N. Cardinal

(150) RB Grosbeak

(151) Indigo Bunting (FOY, somehow)

(152) Dickcissel

(153) E. Towhee

(154) Field Sparrow

(155) Clay-colored Sparrow (with chippers, had to ID by song)

(156) Chipping Sparrow

(157) Grasshopper Sparrow

(158) Henslow's Sparrow ** (not Baird's, not that far west yet, my mistake)

(159) Savannah Sparrow

(160) Vesper Sparrow

(161) Lark Sparrow (lifer)

(162) WT Sparrow

(163) WC Sparrow

(164) Song Sparrow

(165) Swamp Sparrow

(166) E. Meadowlark (I was on the line... white malar)

(167) Bobolink

(168) BH Cowbird

(169) Yellow-headed Blackbird

(170) RW Blackbird

(171) Brewer's Blackbird (lifer)

(172) Common Grackle

(173) Baltimore Oriole

(174) Orchard Oriole

(175) House Finch

(176) Am. Goldfinch

(177) House Sparrow

I need to ID (think I did), but have an good idea already, was either Henslow's or LeConte's Sparrow. I am leaning towards Henslow's due to a smaller bill, rustier wings, no white/gray lores, white eye-ring, and a pretty thick bill. I'm on the fence to add it... either would be a lifer, but one thing that stood out was the lack of white tertials on the bird. So I say Henslow's.... but hey, that's birding.

3, maybe 4 lifers and few FOYs. I'd love input on my notes on the Henslow's/LeConte's

The beach along Lake Shore Blvd in Chicago must be a resting point for northern breeders, it was a GREAT stop!

Birding was done by hiking, driving, song IDs, and random pull overs in bumblescum. Waking up in my tent I IDed about 20-25 birds before I even sat up.

I am in Madison until tomorrow morning, so I think I'll look for a nice spot to bird for the day.... after I take a swim in the indoor pool (!) and shower.

So long for now,


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