Monday, May 25, 2009

Kentucky Warbler, butterflies and family history at Maybury Sanatorium

This morning I went to Maybury State Park to see the Kentucky Warbler that was found by Jeff Fisher approximately one week ago.  The hardest thing about finding this bird was the directions.  I ran into another birder who had just seen the bird and he was able to give me more pinpoint directions.  Closer to the bird's location, however, it was difficult to miss his lusty and persistent singing.
Kentucky Warbler (Oporornis formosus)
The bird sang just overhead for the whole time of my visit.  Finding it was difficult, but once in sight it was then easy to follow as it flew around its territory.  At one point it chased away (or flew to) another bird of similar size.  I wonder if it has a mate?  Hope so.  I would have stayed longer but two things happened - my camera batteries failed and I was being attacked by mosquitoes.
I also found this butterfly at Maybury, a "battered" (as described by Roger Kuhlman) Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon).    In flight the butterfly had a distinct blue color.  When it landed on the blacktop trail with closed wings and the bright sun, it essentially blended into the blacktop stones.

One Maybury non-birding point of interest for me was the origin of Maybury State Park.  Maybury was  once a tuberculosis sanatorium started back in the early 20th century.  It was in operation through the 1930's at least, because a family history story exists about the TB sanatorium.  My maternal grandfather was sent here secondary to a diagnosis of TB and my grandmother was told that he would not leave alive.  My mother even has a memory of going here with her mother and siblings and standing on the grass beneath my grandfather's window and waving up to him.  Upon hearing that her husband would not leave the sanatorium alive, my grandmother returned home and began washing her kitchen walls because if her husband was going to die, "the house would need to be presentable for his wake."  Thinking more on this now, I'm sure that this was just a mind-numbing task to help my grandmother alleviate her worry.  Around this time, my grandparents had an infant daughter, my Aunt Margaret, who came down with whooping cough while my grandfather was in the sanatorium.  The story goes that he signed himself out of the sanatorium so he could go home to help my grandmother.  He never returned to the sanatorium and lived until the age of 75.  The trail entrance the leads to the Kentucky Warbler still has the old black metal sign for the Maybury Sanatorium and an educational kiosk that tells the history of the TB sanatorium and shows old photos of the sanatorium buildings. 

From Maybury State Park, I drove to my family's cottage on Commerce Lake on Oakley Park Road in Oakland County.  While waiting for other family to arrive, I drove to Commerce Township Hickory Glen Park on Glengary Road approximately two miles from the cottage.  I found hardly no birds at all here, only Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) and Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalamus), but the park was hopping with butterflies and dragonflies. 
Little Wood-Satyr (Megisto cymela) with wings closed.
And open.
A beautiful American Copper (Lycaena phlaeas).  I got several photos of these. 
And with wings closed.
I was torn between Peck's Skipper and Hobomok Skipper for the identification of this butterfly. I emailed Roger Kuhlman and he confirmed Peck's Skipper (Polites peckius) definitely.  I think I knew it was a Peck's, but the habitat, as described in Kaufman's guide, was better for Hobomok Skipper (Poanes hobomok).  I was hoping for this because I have never seen Hobomok.  

I also saw one of the ladies (vanessa sp.) but cannot say which and a fast flying, very dark butterfly, possibly a Wild Indigo Duskywing (Erynnis baptisiae), but could not get photos of either.  No opportunities for dragonfly photos either (to fast), though there were many.

Happy Memorial Day!  While it is a holiday and a day off work for me, I wonder if this day should truly carry the word happy as a modifer?


Anonymous said...

You have some very nice photographs here. I am especially fond of the birds. You have some that I have not seen on My Birds Blog.

Mayburysanatioriumgirl said...

Hello there. i also have a damily connection to Maybury. I worked on the signage project and have the website. Would love for you to share your story with us. It is always so neat to meet others with a connection to there.