Sunday, November 28, 2010

No Sabine's Gull for me

On Saturday, amongst thousands and thousands of mostly Ring-billed Gulls, some Herring Gulls, an even lesser number of Bonaparte's Gulls and one Lesser Black-backed Gull, several Michigan and Ohio birders searched for a Sabine's Gull that has been well seen by many at Metzger Marsh over the past few days.

Everyone present who has seen Sabine's Gull elsewhere said they typically associate with Bonaparte's Gulls.  So when the above Bonaparte's landed in the water of the inlet and floated around for awhile, I thought this might be the Sabine's invitation.  No luck, however.  

The bird had been seen on Friday by James Fox and Karl Overman. James posted this photo of the Sabine's Gull from his Flickr site.

I had an afternoon commitment and so had to depart relatively early. When other Michigan birders who stayed on reported also not seeing the bird, I didn't feel so bad.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bird-friendly coffee

Recently Julie Craves was on the public radio program The World discussing the benefits of shade-grown coffee to help preserve bird habitat.  The segment ends with a pithy little quote that I have come to know is typical of Julie.

Read or listen to the November 10th The World segment, Bird-friendly Coffee.

I spoke with Julie the other evening.  She commented that a producer for The World said that this program segment received more tweets and comments than is typical for The World's program topics.  You can also read more about sustainable coffee and Julie's comments about the show on Julie's coffee blog, Coffee and Conservation.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Florida beach birds and others

This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit Naples, Florida for the lavish wedding of my niece.  In between the quite spectacular festivities, I took the opportunity to do some nearby birding.  Well ... I wouldn't say birding exactly ... more like looking for photo opportunities at nearby locations where the possibility for seeing something seemed likely.  I had really hoped to find Piping Plovers, but no luck with this.  All of the photos below are of birds one would expect to see in southern Florida - shorebirds, gulls, terns and pelicans.  I saw very few little birds.

Laughing Gull (Larus atricilla) with fish.
Delnor-Wiggins State Park

Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) looking for the bait.
Delnor-Wiggins State Park

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) checking the bait supplies.
Delnor-Wiggins State Park

Same Snowy Egret

Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
Delnor-Wiggins State Park

Willet (Catoptophorus semipalmatus)
Delnor-Wiggins State Park

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)
Delnor-Wiggins State Park

Worn Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)
Delnor-Wiggins State Park

Spiny orb-weaver (Gasteracantha cancriformis)
Delnor-Wiggins State Park

Brown anole (Anolis sagrei)
Tigertail Beach, Marco Island

Sandwich Terns (Sterna sandvicensis)
Marco Island

Sandwich Tern

Royal Tern (Sterna maxima)
Marco Island

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Marco Island

Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
Tigertail Beach, Marco Island

Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus)
Tigertail Beach, Marco Island

Sanderlings (Calidris alba) doing what Sanderlings do.
Delnor-Wiggins State Park

View from the Sunset Grill on Marco Island

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Golden-crowned Sparrow, Belle Isle

Finally, the first chaseable bird in southeastern Michigan for quite some time.  And close!  Nice to leave the hospital - something I never have a chance to do - for a slightly extended lunch hour to see this bird and many other chasers I have an opportunity to see only at special occasions - like a Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla) in town.  

The bird offered good viewing through binoculars, but not the greatest photo ops.  Many of those with big lens DSLRs got some pretty decent pics.  Unfortunately, I had to hit the delete key pretty hard. All photos were taken through the feeder viewing window.  

For many reasons, the birds were skittish this morning.  One reason was the juvenile Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) perched just above the feeders. Prior to my arrival others saw the hawk pounce on a rat, but somehow the rat escaped.  Another time, Canada Geese flying over dispersed the birds.

This happens to me often - the backside view is often the most in-focus photo.  Go figure.

Sean Bachman reported seeing a "female-type" Purple Finch.  Later when most other birders had left, I saw the Purple Finch perched alone high in a leafless tree.

The Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus) flew down to join the others in the open and reasonably close to the viewing window.  

While the photos are fine for me to remember the sparrow by, I'm sorry they are not better for viewers of my blog.  For really sweet photos of the Golden-crowned Sparrow, check out Jerry Jourdan's blog.

Very well spent lunch time today.  

Monday, November 1, 2010

Crosswinds Marsh

I actually managed to go somewhere new this Sunday morning - westbound this time and just slightly further away than Belle Isle.

Generally a quiet walk but there were a few birds around, including eight species of sparrows if I include the single junco making its smacking sound.  Many of my first of season American Tree Sparrows were found at a variety of locations.  A single Fox Sparrow was also seen.

A little out of season, an Eastern Bluebird
checks out one of the nest boxes.

Then perches nicely on top.

These Swamp Sparrows appear to be in a mirror.

Swamp Sparrow

Ubiquitious this morning, this was the best photo I could
get of an American Tree Sparrow.

Thanks to an upcoming family event I have the opportunity to explore further afield next weekend.  Hopefully, I'll have time to get some birding in.

When I checked the blog Urban Dragon Hunters, (in my blog list at right), I found a reference to the blog Michigan Odonotes, which offers a nice description of Crosswinds Marsh.  My title box photo shows one of Crosswinds' many views from one of the boardwalks.