Friday, July 17, 2009

June 17 - Kirtland's Warbler

Kathy, the inn keeper, did a great job with a 6AM breakfast so we could depart at 630AM. Made the meeting spot in Grayling just in time for the 7AM briefing for the USFW tour of the nesting grounds of the Kirtland's Warbler. The friendly guide had the three cars caravan along the "4 Mile road" to the junction with Stephen Bridge Road where we turned west to a sand road running through the Jack Pine habitat which is so specific to the warbler. We immediately could hear the warbler singing but it took some effort due to the overcast and cool conditions to get us all a look at this so sought after target of North American species. My recent purchase of a laser pointer helped incredibly in getting people to quickly see the target. The warbler was actively feeding.
(not my photo - too bad!)

From here we went to Hartwick Pines State Park which had a wonderful visitors center and fine hardwood and hemlock forest. Birds included great looks at Evening Grosbeak, Purple Finch, and nesting Pileated Woodpecker.

Not too far away was Wakly Lake, east of Grayling. Nice walking trails along the lake with a loon pair and young.

We enjoyed a great dinner at our hotel; nicely done!

A Little Birding Around Here
Went out the other day with friends and fellow birders Jim D., Nick B., and Glenn W., on a mid-Long Island Sound search for pelagic species. Lately, there have been many storm-petrels, shearwaters, and jaegers reported from Block Island Sound as well as a few reports from Connecticut waters.

We traveled to deep water out near Bell 4 and into about 200 foot depths where we were able to attract a lovely group of Wilson's Storm-Petrels right up to the side of the boat. I hope you enjoy my photos.

More on my Northern Tier adventure to come.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

June 16 - RTPI and on to Michigan
Great breakfast at The Oaks and then over to the Roger Tory Peterson Institute for a maxi tour with Mark Baldwin. Stupendous tour of artwork, archives, and artifacts. Peterson has some great art from other artists, received as gifts, which was mostly archived. Turns-out that Mark and I have many mutual acquaintances including Liz Gentile, Paul Spitzer, and Bill Burt.

Mark kindly took us over to the airport and after farewells, off we went across Lake Erie and Lake Huron. Nice weather and views of Canada. John gave us a fine landing on our shortest runway (4,000ft). After a bit of a wait for the car, we went to the hotel in Prudenville on Lake Houghton. Very commercial area with many lake houses and pontoon boats. Nice hotel with large, clean, rooms. Very nice owners (Matt and Kathy - Springbrook Inn).

Went to lunch on the lake and then birded the many marshes up the west side of the lake. Many Black Terns cruised the wetlands. Great views of t his stunning tern. Highlights included three Trumpeter Swans, Least Bittern, two Bald Eagles, Northern Parula, Least Flycatcher, and countless Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and Hairy Woodpeckers.

Back at the hotel, we had a nice dinner at the Tiki Bar with burgers, fish sandwiches, and more. Very kind locals took care of us and were happy to talk and share wildlife stories and locations. Off for Kirtland's Warbler tomorrow!