Saturday, October 25, 2008

Weather Permitted - 10/25/2008

In spite that the weekend was calling for rain I decided to take Friday off anyway and do a little birding. My first stop was Pte Mouille - Campau Road watch the sunrise and just watch the skies. After a while I decided to head over to Lake Erie Metro Park but before leaving Campau Road I managed to get a few pictures of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Black-capped Chickadee, Yellow rumped Warbler and a young Black-crowned Night heron.

When I got to Lake Erie Metro Park I drove towards the Marina where I stopped to look out over the water. Noticing a wave out a ways I looked through my scope to see what it was. The wave was being caused by what appeared to be hundreds of American Coots just diving in and out frantically. After a while I decided to drive over to the Marshland Museum and take a walk through the Nature Trail. As I circled the parking lot I heard a lot of chatter and saw a lot of motion. Parking my vehicle I grab my camera and approached the trees very cautiously. I walked in to the trail from the side that the Eagles house was - this short little trek would allow me to capture photos of a Hermit Thrush, White-throated Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Hairy Woodpecker, and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Would have taken more photos but my card read full and I didn't bring another.

Saturday morning - headed out for my Latte and then over to Campau Road. Nothing really happening there. It was a nice surprise to see Jerry Jourdan pull up - he actually rescued me from a very nice person who was passing on the "good word." Jerry and I set up our scopes to do a little viewing and I hoped to get a few pictures with the Nikon P5100 that I recently got for digiscoping. First subject a Blue Heron and then walked in a Black-crowned Night Heron. With nothing else to shoot at and the wind really gusting we went over to Lake Erie Metro Park.

As we headed for the entrance of the Nature Trail we were greeted by the White-throated Sparrows, Yellow-rumped Warblers and (as Jerry has already posted) a young Balitmore Oriole. The trees were hoppin with birds, while walking through we heard a Carolina Wren. The list of birds that I photographed in our visit: Downy Woodpecker, Yellow-rumped Warbler, White-throated Sparrow, Hermit Thrush (sorry Jerry), Red-bellied Woodpecker and a Dark-eyed Junco.

After our little trek Jerry had to leave and I decided to walk the trail that takes you down to the boat launch and then along the lake and out towards the Wave Pool. Nothing to shoot but it was a nice walk. Heading back to my vehicle I decided to try once more for a photo of the White-throated Sparrow but had no luck.
I must confess before I end this - I went back into the Nature Trail from the side where the Eagles house is - that's when I was able to get the photo of the Red-bellied Woodpecker. I also went back over to Campau Road (after all I was in the neighborhood) and there I got a picture of a female Wood duck. She was a very good subject - she just sat there so I snapped away. You don't always get such a willing subject. Til my next post.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Another Great Day - Oct 12, 2008

The sun made it's appearance over Lake Erie at 7:38 - (the photo showing is at 7:40) what a beautiful sight. The duck hunters weren't as numerous as the day before from Campau Road, but you could hear them over at Pte Mouillee. The Pied-billed Grebes swam near the landing and the Cormorants stayed out by the Northern Causeway with the Gulls. After about an hour of sitting I decided to travel on down the road and see if there was any activity. I walked up and down for awhile and decided that much wasn't going on so it was time to move on. I had made a decision the day before that if the opportunity arose that I would take a walk around the Nature Trail across from the Marshland Museum in Lake Erie Metro Park.

Birds were flying in and out and all around so maybe this would be a good day. The first bird I came upon was the Brown Cowbird several of them flew in and out of the trees along with the Yellow-rumped Warblers. There was so much talking amongst the birds and flittering that you really didn't know where to look or what to listen for and since I haven't learned the sounds yet I kind of did both. If I heard something I listened, looked, found and then shot. While walking this trail there was one bird that kept flying overhead and I was very curious to see what it was by the end of the trail I will learn that it was a young Cedar Waxwing.
A bird moving in the tree to the left of me caught my eye, trying to be very still so not to startle it and make it leave I managed to raise my camera and snap off at least 36 shots of a White throat Sparrow. To the right of me came the tap tap tap of a Hairy Woodpecker who hung around long enought for me to grab at least 12 shots of him. Moving just a little further up the trail I found my young Cedar Waxwing, and although he/she was quite up there I did get a few shot of it. It is at this time that my memory card is registering full and I have gone around the trail twice. If you have never walked this trail it goes in a figure eight and somehow I forgot to stay to the right.

Finally out of the trail I loaded up my camera and decided to make one last stop. On the way over to Campau Road I noticed that Humbug Marsh was open today so I decided to make one quick trip. There's been quite a few transformations there and I traveled the new trails (wasn't sure if you could still take the old one). On this little jaunt I got a photo of a Hermit Thrush, a Palm Warbler and a Cedar Waxwing (also very high up in a tree).

Before I end this I want to say that I added the Wildlife Refuge to my links, check out their calendar every now and then. For instance on Saturday 10/18 is an Open House from 9 - 4 (walk the grounds on your own) and on November 8th (Jerry you'll like this one) Evening Owl Prowl at 7 p.m. Til my next post.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Few Surprises - Oct 11th

My weekend started on Friday when I woke up and decided not to go to work. There was a meeting that morning so with camera and bike in tow I picked up refreshments, dropped them off and headed out to Campau Road. Although I missed the sunrise, it was quiet and that was what I seemed to need more than anything. After awhile I decided to move down the road and after grabbing a few pics of the Yellow-rumped Warblers decided to head over to Lake Erie Metro Park and ride my bike (with camera of course). There was a lot of chattering in the trees and bushes and the only picture I managed was a Gray Catbird and the Greyhounds that someone was training over in the picnic area by the Wave pool.

Plans for going up north Saturday morning had changed so I packed up and headed out to Campau Road once again. As I turned down the road I heard alot of boom boom boom, unaware that it was opening day for duck hunting I traveled the road anyways. The sunrise was beautiful as ususal, and in the fog that rose above the water just along edges of the little islands you could see the silhouettes of the hunters. After watching and waiting for the sun to get to a good height I traveled down Campau Road and watching all of the movement from tree to tree I decided to pull over and walk the road. The Yellow-rumped Warblers were moving from one side of the road to the other while the dear! dear!dear! diddy-dear diddy-dear ji-jiddy-jee-ji-jiddy-jee sounds of a Rudy-crowned Kinglet could be heard in the trees behind me. As I turned to watch the branches bob up and down a Ruby-crowned Kinglet sat on a branch not three feet from me, since she was so cooperative I couldn't help but take advntage of the moment. As I turned my back to her to get some shots of the Yellow-rumped Warbler I heard a russle over my left shoulder, sitting on the wire not ten feet above my left shoulder was a Sharp-shinned Hawk.

When all was quiet I decided to make a stop at Lake Erie Metro Park to see if there was anything exciting out there. I walked down the little boardwalk towards the boat launch. A Kingfisher landed on the railing of the first little stretch where a little creek runs under, across the street there were five Wood Ducks that I managed to get a few shots of. The walk around the path was quiet and serene and now it was time for me to go home. Unfortunately errands were calling my name, so til my next post.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Crisp Morning - Good Birding 10/4

Saturday morning I decided to grab my gear and head up to Pte Mouillee SGA, catch the sunrise and hopefully maybe get a few good photos. The weather was nippy - definitely needed a coat and gloves if you were going to stand by the lake. Upon my arrival the sunrise silhouetted a Blue Heron in the tall reeds with the Seagulls flying everywhere and diving for breakfast as the ducks and geese sang their songs in the background. I sat for the longest time watching nature and the guys coming to launch their boats to do a little catching of their own.

After awhile I decided to head down Campau road; there's always a lot of activity and watching is just half the fun. This road so far hasn't to let me down, it's where I got my first photos of a Bald Eagle, an Indigo Bunting, a Cedar Waxwing and recently a Black-billed Cuckoo. The sun is to my back and the birds are flying from the right to the left which is perfect. The bushes are full of white, red and purple berries and Yellow-rumped Warblers. I brought my Canon Rebel with me which has a 500mm zoom lens which is great to point and shoot and these guys are very cooperative. Being so cooperative I decided to digiscope a few with my Nikon CoolPic P5100. While viewing them with the scope another birds movement got my attention - a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Unfortunately he moved around so much that I couldn't digiscope a photo and he dissappeared before I could grab my Canon. Although there's no picture it was nice to see.

As I walked down the road a familiar vehicle came around the corner, it was Jerry Jourdan. If you've ever had the opportunity to meet Jerry you would know that he is an encyclopedia of knowledge. He not only knows digiscoping - he knows his birds.

Continuing to walk down the road and listen carefuly to the sounds around me I hear the "dear! dear! dear! diddy-dear diddy-dear ji-diddy-jee ji-jiddy-jee" of a female Ruby-crowned Kinglet. As I watch the branches move he suddenly appears, with Canon ready I point and shoot all the while telling myself "this isn't a good idea, the suns not in the right spot." After taking the pics of the warbler I realized that time has gotten away from me again and I better get going home. Before I get to the end of the road I have taken pictures of female Blue Jay, a European Starling and a Bald Eagle soaring over one of the ponds. What a great morning. Til my next post.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Last Weekends of September

Fall is upon us and the last weekends of September on the Ausable are the best. The last weekends of September basicly bring out fly fishermen wading near the shore or in the middle of the narrowest sections of the River. Canoers are few so the roudies are gone. I saw an Osprey for the first time on the Ausable, he flew low, and close to the water then landed on a tree across from us. He didn't stay long but he was a sight to see. Further down the river we'll interupt a Hawk fishing for dinner and watch a Blue Heron standing on a branch watching his swim back and forth before he decides to fly off somewhere else that will put him just a little lower to the catch. As we go further down another Osprey will be spotted sitting high up on a tree top when he flies off you can see that this one definitely had his dinner.

The next morning I packed up my camera and grabbed my tripod and headed out to the back of our property and sit in my blind. All of the suet cages are filled, the suet plugs are in the dead tree where I have drilled holes to accomodate the plugs and the single bird feeder is filled. The squirrels test to see how close they can get before I let my presence known and the little chipmunk (whose home is just outside of my blind) also sits and waits.

Slowly the birds start to come around, a single White-breasted Nuthatch is the first on the scene and then a Black-capped Chickadee follows. At first you think these are the only kinds of birds you're going to see and then suddenly a surprise will happen. My very last weekend not only brought me the usual: White-breasted Nuthatch, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Black-capped Chickadees, Downy and Hairy Woodpecker, oh yes and the Blue Jay - but this weekend I also had Tufted Titmouses and a Yellow Rumped Warbler. Always good to see something new in the area.

I did hear the Pileated Woodpecker but never saw him or her, so there's always something to look forward to. We had eight Turkeys under the bird feeder behind the house on Sunday and later that afternoon there was a mom and baby walking through the woods. So until my next outing and posting - bye for now.