Last weekend Artemis Eyster and I took a long weekend trip to the UP just for the fun of it. When we got to US 23 around Ann Arbor it began raining and the rain continued all the way up and well into the afternoon. We stopped in the Mio area, got lost a little bit, but drove around looking for suitable Kirtland's warbler habitat. We were hoping to break-up the drive, but with no suitable habitat and the rain we didn't even get out of the car. The jack pines have really grown up in the Huron forest around the Mio area and we did not see or hear anything except a few blue jays and Nashville warblers.
We stopped briefly at Hartwick Pines SP and saw evening and rose-breasted grosbeaks at the feeders before continuing north to our overnight stop in St. Ignace. We stayed at the Driftwood Motel across the road from Shepler's ferry service and heard an American restart and red-eyed vireo singing from the neighborhood trees there.
On Saturday morning we checked out of the motel around 8:30 am to try to find Teets Road. On an early June trip in 2009 I saw my life LeConte's sparrow here and was hoping for the same again.
Along Prairie Road, just north of Teets, Artemis heard a buzzy song from the car window that, at first, we thought sounded like blue-winged warbler. We corrected that and coaxed this clay-colored sparrow out of its dense habitat to perch in a roadside tree and sing for these (@#$% fuzzy) photos. The sun was very bright and perhaps it was a bit hazy from humidity or whatever, but I am really beginning to be disappointed at this photo quality. But, I love this bird and its song. This is the first I've seen for the past couple of years.
Cut to the chase, there were distant savannah sparrows in the [former] LeConte's sparrow field, but no LeConte's. The habitat seemed to have changed and appeared less wet - even in this wet spring. Also, behind the grassy meadow the field had been planted with some kind of crop, perhaps wheat.
We began hearing and then seeing Bobolinks. My first this year. The payoff for the drive to Teets Road was this cooperative, singing sedge wren. The wren family is Artemis's favorite and this bird is completely cute.
Again, best not to enlarge these photos unless you want to see the full, pixilated version.
As we watched this charming little sedge, Artemis made a beautiful ink drawing of it.