Friday, June 17, 2016

USA....16th and 17th May...

Instead of pounding the dark cold forests, we headed for a proper wildlife refuge - Seney.

This park was a huge complex of pine forest and marsh with large open lakes. There were two drive around routes so birds can be viewed from the car of from various stops.

Above  - Seney Wildlife Refuge.
The most easily seen birds were the 34+ Trumpeter Swans scattered around the place.  It was while watching these birds we saw our first Common Loons ( Great Northern Divers to us) on breeeding territories. We also had a close flyby from a male Northern Harrier.

As with most wetland areas, there were a lot of birds and the list began to rise -

6+ Hooded Merganser, Least Flycatcher, 5+ Ring necked Duck, 10+ Caspian Tern, Shoveler, Chipping, Swamp and Song Sparrows in the rushes, Bald Eagle at the nest, many Red winged Blackbirds, 1 male Sora showing well right next to a Virginia Rail. 2 Pine Warblers were pished down to too close to focus distance, 8 Spotted Sandpipers, 2 Ospreys and a Yellow rumped Warbler.

Pine Warbler male.
Common Loon

Virginia Rail


Nice Beaver
 2 Beavers were seen very well swimming across open water. They surprised me by their very large size.

A nearby back road gave us an easy Black backed Woodpecker on a tip off.  This was a tick for the whole team so the more experience nearctic travellers were well pleased.

Male Black backed Woodpecker in favoured burnt pine habitat.

From here we had a drive back up to Whitefish Point, where a lone male Piping Plover was displaying and showing quite well albeit at a distance. Sparrows at the feeders had increased with 100+ White crowned, 3+ White throated, 2 Lincolns and 6+ Chipping. Lots of raptors were migrating over head in large 'kettles'. They were mainly Sharp shinned Hawks, Red tailed Hawks and Bald Eagles while lower down 100s of Blue Jays continued their journey.

2 Killdeers showed very well at the road end turning circle before we began the drive south to Grayling again.

On the 17th we had a day out to Tawas Point to look for migrants. This was a 2 hours drive from our digs at Grayling but well worth it. I think I enjoyed the 'spurn point feel' about it better than Magee.

Many passerines were moving through all in sparse low cover affording good views. The list goes like this -
2 male Orchard Oriole, 1 Chestnut sided Warbler, 3 Black and White Warbler, 6 Rose breasted Grosbeak, many White crowned Sparrows, 7 Baltimore Orioles, 7 Northern Parula, 4 Tenessee Warblers, 1 Palm Warbler, 9 Yellow Warbler, 3 male American Redstart, 1 Nashville Warbler, 1 male Mourning Warbler seen very briefly in the open close to before melting back into the thicket, 1 male Yellowthroat, 2 Orange crowned Warblers, several Yellow rumped Warblers, 2 Downy Woodpecker, 4 Least Flycatcher, a showy male Ruby throated Hummingbird, 1 Cliff Swallow, 2 Bank Swallow, 1 Northern Rough winged Swallow, many Barn and Tree Swallows and a few Purple Martins, 2 Red eyed Vireo, 1 Philadelphia Vireo, 1 Brown Thrasher 3 male Scarlet Tanagers, 4 Bonapartes Gull, 3 Goosanders, 1 Clay-colored Sparrow, 1 Brown headed Cowbird, 2 male Indigo Bunting, 2 Northern Flicker together on one branch, 1 Merlin hunting, 1 Belted Kingfisher

Tawas Point Feeding Station

Tawas Point Lighthouse

The home of migrants...

The lads looking unsuccessfully for the Mourning Warbler we saw only 15 minutes earlier...

Baltimore Oriole, what a stunning bird.

Immature male Orchard Oriole we also saw an adult male down the point.

A very common Grey Catbird, but this one sat just feet away right in the open.

The abundant White crowned Sparrow.
Turkey Vulture

Scarlet Tanager

Savannah Sparrow, one of my favourites.

Least Flycatcher, I think.

Philadelphia Vireo

Ruby throated Hummingbird. 
A short detour to another wetland called Tuttle Marsh resulted in me dipping golden winged warbler, but I did see Belted Kingfisher, Black Tern, Bald Eagle, male Blue winged Teal, Osprey on its nest, 2 male American Redstart and a Veery.

Just along the road we snatched a glimpse of a singing male Bobolink just before it flew off distantly.

It was now time to move south ourselves as our trip was coming to an end...


Alan Whitehead said...

Really enjoyed reading your report

Stewart said...

Cheers Alan..