Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dolph Nature Area and Stommel Road

Yesterday I met up with Harold and Artemis Eyster and their mom, Diana Newman, to bird around Dolph Nature Area in Ann Arbor. Harold and Artemis were raised birding in this small park and know it like the back of their hands.  This was only my third or fourth visit. Secondary to the migrant fallout of the previous day we thought there was a good chance we would see a lot of birds.  We did see many, as one will always do this time of year, but the hoped for second fallout day didn't happen.  Arrivals to the nature area the day before had probably departed during the night. 

The swamp sparrow photo above was taken from quite a distance and is fuzzy, but I like the pose of this bird as it seems to be the typical style of a singing swamp sparrow.

I moved on to Strommel Road in Superior Township to try to find a kirtland's warbler reported from earlier in the morning by Andy Dettling.  I didn't see or hear the kirtland's, but I did get a photo and video of this charming eastern towhee.  Almost certainly this is my best towhee photo yet as I typically always find them hidden in the bushes or quick to flush. 

The fact that this bird allowed me to shoot video for 1:50 was amazing. I was hoping for the full drink your tea song, but he stuck to his abbreviated simple trill.

A bit further down Stommel Rd. I stopped at some conifers to see if the kirland's may have stopped here.  No luck with that, but I heard the stutter vocalization of the wood thrush. 

I found him quite high up.  Remarkably I was able to get this pretty decent photo, given the distance and poor light, through a window in the foliage.  He was also singing and I took video, but that was too fuzzy to post here or even to save.  At one point this bird and a brown thrasher were singing at the same time.  A bit of a dueling songfest. 

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