Monday, September 19, 2011

Broadwing Hawk weekend

With visiting birding friends in from England and Pennsylvania, this past weekend turned out to be very nice.  The little birds were generally scarce, but the broadwings did not disappoint.

My camera was able to capture just these few birds out of a kettle of hundreds.  As it turned out, kettles of over a 1,000 broadwings proved common on Saturday, September 17th.  The Detroit River Hawk Watch recorded 190,000+ migrating broadwing hawks flying over the Lake Erie boat launch on this day.

After leaving Lake Erie Metropark we stopped along other areas of Point Mouillee without success before continuing down to Sterling State Park. In last year's shorebird pond - a little too deep for shorebirds this year - there were 75 Great Egrets.

Ceder Waxwings were plentiful this weekend.  There were a few warblers and vireos around, but generally we did not have good luck with these - especially on Saturday.

Other good finds at Sterling was the Fiery Skipper above, followed by this very fresh Red Admiral below.

On Sunday morning we made our way to Belle Isle.  There was a long going on in Detroit - especially in the running and biking categories. Nevertheless we snuck through all the roadblocks and made our way to Belle Isle's nature trail for a very slow walk around.  There were ten or more Swainson's Thrushes.  None were seen.  A few warblers showed themselves.  Perhaps the best was a Philadelphia Vireo.

Finally, on a log in the muddy river running through the nature trail was this surprising turtle.  It's identification stumped me.  A google search revealed that it's a Yellow-bellied Slider.  I don't think I've every seen a Yellow-bellied Slider before.  It's non-native to Michigan belonging instead in Virginia to Florida.  It is, however, a pet trade turtle thus explaining it's presence in the Belle Isle River.  

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