Thursday, October 9, 2008

Into the Woods at Whitefish Point ...

This past weekend, October 3rd through 5th, I organized a group of nine other birders for a trip to Whitefish Point in Michigan's upper peninsula. We also took a late afternoon trip to Tahquamenon Falls State Park (photo of the Upper Falls above) for dinner (except Winter Wren we did not see any birds of note.) Our trip was very successful with Long-eared Owl, Parasitic Jaeger, Black-backed Woodpecker, American Golden Plover, Spruce Grouse and others being seen well by everyone. There is something very special about Whitefish Point; the remoteness, wildness, light, woods, water and sand make this place possibly my favorite in Michigan.

Wild blueberries (Vaccinium sp.) were everywhere we went. Every so often we would lose a birder or two only to find them hunched over a bush dripping with plump blueberries. This photo does not really show their abundance, but of the photos I took I liked it best for the color.

Two species of butterflies were seen; Cabbage White and this Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) was one of three. I thought seeing three Painted Ladies this far north at the beginning of October was impressive.

Spruce Grouse (Dendragapus canadensis) is a much sought after bird in the upper peninsula. Down Vermillion Road we flushed up approximately eight. Spruce Grouse can be quite calm and tame. Photographs like this one are often possible. There is nothing special about my camera; this is just a very cooperative bird. All ten of us savored the experience of seeing this bird (a life bird for six in the group.) For me, it's a life bird every time I see it.