I had a really nice start to 2010 when I saw my first Thayer's and Iceland Gulls at Visteon Pond on January 2nd. I almost got all of the winter gulls in one day as I saw both Lesser Black-backed and Great Black-backed but didn't see a Glaucous Gull. I have continued to do well this month with a Northern Hawk Owl a few days later near Petoskey. We were skiing near there and my Dad took my younger brother and me up to see the owl. When I spotted the bird in a tall pine tree near the road he tried to pull off the road and got stuck in a snowbank. Fortunately someone came by who had a rope and they were able to pull us out. While Hawk Owls are present almost every winter in the UP they are very rare in the Lower Peninsula. Here is a picture I took.
While the birding in Oakland County hasn't been anywhere close to as good as last year when I had Pine Siskins, Common Redpolls, and White-winged Crossbills in my backyard, I have been able to find a few nice birds. The best so far have been a Northern Shrike at the Novi Wetlands and a Northern Goshawk at Heritage park. There has also been a Catbird wintering at Heritage park which is very rare in the winter in Michigan.
This isn't the best picture but Catbirds are awfully hard to photograph due to their sulking habits. I look forward to many more exciting birding experiences in 2010.