Monday, March 14, 2011

Fading winter

After just writing about not having been birding in my last blog entry, yesterday morning with the sun shining brightly, I went to Belle Isle.

I was quickly rewarded with two good birds.  One cannot sneak up on an Eastern Phoebe.  This is especially true when trying to sneak through mud, large puddles, vines and snapping twigs.  It's never going to happen.

Finally, the bird flew to the fence of the handball courts for this poorly focused and brightly lit shot.  The bird was calling its horse phoebe call nearly the whole time I watched it.  Even though it was one of the birds I hoped to find, it still seems a bit early for its arrival.  I checked Julie Craves' book, Birds of Dearborn (although Belle Isle is in Detroit), and Julie's earliest date for phoebe arrival is March 22nd with the more typical arrival being March 31st.  So, this is an early bird.  It was flycatching in typical phoebe fashion in the sunny location of the handball courts and the woods opposite.

Leaving the phoebe, I startled an American Woodcock from its hiding spot.  

While the morning started out with bright sun, clouds returned and it was suddenly back to being winter.

Setting my clocks forward for the first day of daylight savings time again reminded me of spring.  While not too cold, again it was gray.  On Saturday, there had been reports of Snow Buntings and Lapland Longspurs still present at a traditional location for these two birds - Gotfredson and Vreeland roads and Sunday morning I drove out to see them.

Red-winged Blackbirds are everywhere and their song was heard all along Gotfredson and Vreeland roads.  

Unfortunately, there were no Snow Buntings or Lapland Longspurs seen by me.  There were plenty of Horned Larks around.  This bird was distant, but perched on the corn stalk and I was able to get this photo. 

After finishing up on Vreeland Road, I went briefly to the parking area of LeFurge Woods preserve.  The trail was muddy and icy and walking was not easy or enjoyable.  Tree Sparrows were pecking in the weeds all along the trail, but I cannot resist singing Song Sparrows, my nom de querre.  Winter is fading.  Now for a bit of sunshine to brighten up these photos.


Laurent said...

Nice phoebe! Went yesterday looking for the buntings in Vreeland, but got skunked too. The light was really nice, though, so I managed a couple of nice shots of the larks.


Haven said...

wonderful photographs...........