Sunday, April 25, 2010

Louisiana Waterthrush (lifer #303)

My family was in Ohio on Friday and we were able to stop by the South Chagrin Reservation which is south of Cleveland. I wasn't able to find out anything about it on the Ohio Ornithological Society's website so I got the impression that it is not considered a very good park for birding. I was rather surprised to find the park very hilly with many clear, rocky streams as I don't associate this kind of habitat with Ohio. The species variety was not very high, I only found a little under twenty but I found four Louisiana Waterthrushes chipping and singing while chasing each other around. Later three of the waterthrushes left leaving only one that I was able to get some pictures of.
At first it was singing in a tree but then it flew down into the stream where it was foraging a little over ten feet away from me.
I was also surprised to find singing Dark-eyed Juncos, I figured that the ones in Ohio would have headed north by now. While I didn't find many other birds, I did find some other interesting wildlife. There were many Redback Salamanders under the logs and I found some interesting stuff in the streams.
I think that this fish might be a southern redbelly dace but I could be wrong. It had a little patch of the stream that it was guarding and chasing all of the other minnows away from.
This is a perloided Stonefly larva, I'm not sure exactly which species it is but I have had one
person who suggested that it might be Clioperla clio. Unfortunately I have not been able to find any photos of this species.
Here is a picture of one of the waterfalls to give an idea of what the park looked like.
Here in Michigan, I found a few new arrivals this weekend. At the American Center Marsh on Saturday I saw my first Double-crested Cormorant of the year (I'm not quite sure how it took me so long to see one) and heard my first Virginia Rail of the year. The highlight for me though was the Vesper Sparrow in the vacant lot north of the marsh. It was the first one I have seen at the marsh and this spring was probably the last chance I had to see one there as they are building a new building there. Today I went to Robert Long and Indian Springs Metropark. At Robert Long I saw a pair of Blue-winged teal and a Caspian Tern. At Indian Springs I saw another Vesper Sparrow, two Brown Creepers, several Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and I heard and saw one Louisiana Waterthrush and possibly heard another. All things considered, it was not a bad day for late April, I had several new park birds and the Louisiana Waterthrush was new for the state.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Red-backed Salamander

I went to Woodland Hills today but didn't see a whole lot of birds, the highlight was finding a Red-backed Salamander under a log. Ever since I visited some friends up north five or six years ago and they showed me the salamanders under the rocks I have always been looking under rocks and logs for them without any success until today. I also checked the nest box in my yard today and found a Black-capped Chickadee nest with eight eggs in it. Although I was expecting chickadees to nest in it again this year I was not expecting that many eggs this early. Last year the first egg was laid on April 17th and only a total of seven eggs were laid so this is over a week earlier.
I have been birding a lot lately but haven't had much time to post. The best bird I saw in the last week was a Common Loon flying over my house on Monday. Mike Mencotti tells me that they are actually fairly regular migrants here, he usually sees a few fly over each spring. I also Saw a Vesper Sparrow at the Novi Wetlands and three Blue-winged Teal at Robert Long on Sunday, migration is really starting to pick up.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

More Spring Arrivals

With the warm weather we've been having the passerines are starting to return. I heard my first Eastern Phoebe of the year about a week ago and saw one today at Woodland Hills. The highlights of my trip there were two male Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and two Yellow-rumped Warblers. I did get a few shots of the Sapsuckers but they really don't show just how cool these woodpeckers look.

After I got back from Woodland Hills I found a flock of Golden-crowned Kinglets in my backyard, I think they are the 70th species of bird I have seen in my yard.

The other kinds of Swallows are returning as well, yesterday I saw one Northern Rough-winged Swallow and two Barn Swallows with the Tree Swallows at the American Center Marsh. There were also two Savannah Sparrows in the field north of the marsh, but sadly it looks like they are going to build another office building there. It seems to me that they could just fix up one of the many vacant buildings around here but I guess that would cost more money.