Heritage Park November Day

It was such a beautiful day today I had to get outside and stretch my legs…oh and look for some birds along the way.  One of my favorite parks for many reasons is Heritage Park on the north side of Adrian along M-52.   There is one place in particular that always seems to hold more birds than the rest of the park.  To get there first find the Stubnitz Environmental Center parking lot.  Follow the main trail leading from the Stubnitz Center until it veers right and down a steep hill.  At the bottom take the trail to the right.  This trail follows a creek and passes a small pond.  The River Raisin is not too far away so much of the area is deciduous floodplain.  Expect to find some mud along the way.  It was an ideal day for birding this evening.  The winds were light.  There was just enough wind to tremble the remaining leaves of an Aspen.  A majority of the leaves have fallen with exception of the Oaks which hold their leaves through the winter.    The usual suspects were easy to spot, such as Chickadees, Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatches, Cardinals and Downy Woodpeckers.  I listened for unusual birds.  I enjoy birding by ear as much as birding by sight.  It’s fun to learn.  I learned by listening to Peterson’s Birding by Ear CD.  But today it was a little quiet.  There were a few Ruby-crowned Kinglets dancing among the branches.  Some of them alighted in the brush within a few feet of me.  It’s not uncommon to come face to face with kinglets.  It’s as if they are just too busy gleaning insects off trees to really pay much attention to anything else.  When they do notice you their body language says, “hey what are you doing here?”  And, then off they go again.  Woodpeckers are always abundant here.  Red-bellies were clearly heard and seen.  Downys made their downward pitched rattles.  I was surprised to see no White-throated Sparrows.  It’s never hard to find Black-capped Chickadees.  What would birding be without them?  They are not shy and seem happy to greet passersby.  Crow are very abundant in Lenawee County.  It’s easy to ignore them when you see or hear them.  But it’s wise to pay attention when you hear their warning calls.  It usually means a predator is around.  Today was no different.  A Red-tailed Hawk was riding the air currents above the tree line.  The trail leads through a cattail marsh.  I was expecting to see Red-winged Blackbirds.  The bird I spotted across the marsh sure looked like a female RWBB.  But upon closer inspection through my binoculars I noticed a very large beak and a very obvious white eye line.  Was it s a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak?!  It sure did look like one.  But the distance was really too great to be 100% sure.  And, it was in RWBB habitat.  As much as I would love to claim a Grosbeak here.  I am not 100% sure.  So I’ll mark it down as unidentified.  This is a typical Fall birding day at Heritage Park.  I like the lowland areas for birds.  But the upland forest can turn up an occasional Woodcock this time of year.  I didn’t have time for that tonight.  But there’s always next time.  I bird here all year-long.  It wont be long before I hit these trails again on a pair of xcc skis.

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