Sunday, May 16, 2010

Weekend Birding

I have been birding a lot this weekend and I have seen several good birds. On Thursday my lifer Black-billed Cuckoo popped out of a bush at Carpenter Lake allowing good views for about a minute. I have now seen both cuckoos there. On Friday I found my first Marsh Wren and Black-crowned Night-heron of the year at the American Center Marsh as well as a Lincoln's Sparrow. On Saturday I went to the bird count at Kensington. I birded with the Spring Hill picnic area group and we identified 75 species although I only had 72. We found some very unusual birds for the count, the best of which were a Henslow's Sparrow and two Bobolinks. We saw nineteen species of warblers with the highlights being Blue-winged, Northern Parula, Blackburnian, Blackpoll, and Canada warblers. Here is a picture I took of one of the Bobolinks.
Today I went to Woodland Hills and Heritage Park early this morning. Woodland Hills had a few warblers, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green and Blackpoll were the best. I also saw a Swainson's Thrush and there were lots of Wood Thrushes singing although I didn't see any. I was rather disappointed with the warbler variety at Heritage Park, I only saw five species. A Veery was a park first as was an Orange-crowned Warbler (year bird #200) singing in the thicket at the intersection of the Estate and River trails. This was completely unexpected as I had only found Orange-crowned Warblers in the fall before. After this I went home. When I came out of church a few hours later I saw I had a message from Mike Mencotti so I quickly called him back. He had found a Northern Mockingbird (Michigan is on the very edge of its normal range) near the sledding hill at Heritage Park, about the only place in the park I hadn't checked in the morning. Since my mom had the van I quickly jumped on my bike and raced off. When I got there about fifteen minutes later I quickly found the Mockingbird foraging in the grass near the parking lot. I was able to get a few pictures before it flew back into the bushes and started singing. It was interesting to note the similarities to the song of the Brown Thrasher which I had heard just the day before. The phrases were slightly more musical and all were repeated three times in a row as opposed to two for the thrasher. For the rest of the time I was there it alternated between singing and eating Sumac berries. It was a great state lifer.

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