Weekend Birds April 21-22, 2012

Is everyone ready for warbler arrival?  I’ve been out all weekend looking and listening.  Here are some birding tid bits from the past week.

Yellow-throated Warblers:  Birders have spotted a Yellow-throated Warbler at Indian Crossings Park in Tecumseh.  I have not been able to get a visual on it yet.  I heard it near the middle spillway.  The weather has not been cooperative.  I’ve gone back twice to look for it but gave up due to either rain or high wind.

White-crowned Sparrows:  Found my first White-crowned Sparrow of the year at Heritage Park in Adrian.  It was in the scrub next to the small wildflower plantation.  The creek that runs behind the Stubnitz Center is a hotspot for migrating birds.  That’s where I’ve seen the most warblers in the past.

Blue-gray Gnatcatchers:  These little guys are all over but still hard to see if you’re not looking for them.  Train your eyes on the canopy of trees and look for tiny darting objects.  The Blue-gray makes a winey call.  Once you learn the call they’re easier to find by ear.  This week Blue-gray Gnatcatchers could be found pretty consistently in Tecumseh and Adrian.

Yellow Warblers:  Yellow Warblers are here!!!  I heard one yesterday along the River Raisin just north of the county line.  Today I heard and saw two in flight at Bird Park in Tecumseh.  Keep your ears tuned in for the Yellow Warbler song….”sweet sweet sweet…little more sweet”.

Osprey:  If you haven’t gone to see the Osprey nest on Springville Highway what are you waiting for???  It’s pretty awesome to see them way up on top of the cell tower.  Today I spotted one fishing at the Onsted State Game Area.  I’m not sure it’s the same one but it’s possible.  It’s only a few miles away.

Louisiana Waterthrush:  Johanna Lentz spotted a Louisana Waterthrush at the Powell Sanctuary near Hudson last week.  Another was spotted this past week in Tecumseh at Indian Crossings.  Keep an eye for these little brown birds along the banks of creeks and rivers.

Red-breasted Mergansers:  Some people don’t get too excited about Mergs but they are still pretty awesome in my book.  A male and female were hanging out by the public access at Devils Lake today.  Also at Devils were many Bufflehead, a Hooded Merganser, and one Horned Grebe.  Devils Lake is also a good place to see Purple Martins.  That’s why I went there but none were seen.

Blue-winged Teal:  I went to Hidden Lake Gardens today for a quick drive by.  The real show at HLG are the wildflowers…they are in full bloom.  If you can take your eyes off the wildflowers and trees in bloom you might see the Blue-winged Teal that were dabbling in the Arboretum marsh.

Pileated Woodpeckers:  If you haven’t spotted a Pileated in Lenawee there are several places to look for them.  The most reliable place in my opinion is Ramsdell Park near Devils Lake.  I got a good look at the Ramsdell Pileated last weekend.  You might also try Bicentennial Park near Tipton or Hidden Lake Gardens.

Ruby-crowned Kinglets:  I’ve spotted these little fellas this past week at Heritage Park, Hidden Lake Gardens and Indian Crossings.

Towhees:  I’ve never seen as many Towhees as I’ve seen this year.  They seem to be everywhere and in good numbers.  Listen for their “towhee” and “drink your teeeeeea”! calls.  But the best way to find them is to listen for the rustling of leaves.  They can usually be found scratching the ground beneath the underbrush.

Swallows:  Today I stopped by Red Mill Pond in Tecumseh and counted no less that 60 swallows skimming the surface of the water.  I couldn’t get a good look at the species due to the distance but they were most likely tree and barn swallows.  I’m betting with that many swallows there were probably some Bank Swallows and Rough-winged Swallows mixed in.

House Wrens:  I’ve been hearing Carolina Wrens a lot but today was the first time I’ve heard a House Wren this year.  I heard it in Bird Park in Tecumseh.

According to warbler forecasters this cold weather may slow down their arrival.  Bill Rapai of Grosse Pointe says we should see another influx around Wednesday.  Stay tuned and keep those binoculars handy.



Southwest Lenawee Birding Tour

 On Sunday, April 15th, Lenawee Birders will head to southwest Lenawee County to explore three birding hot spots.  Everyone is welcome.  There is no fee to participate.  The agenda is as follows…
1.  Hudson Lake State Recreation Area:  Picnic Parking Lot at 10:00 AM.  The entrance to Hudson Lake SRA is located off M-156 just south of Tomer Road.  Participants are encouraged to car pool from this point since parking is limited at Schoonover Production Area.  We will depart from Hudson Lake at 10:15 AM.
2.  Morenci Sewage Lagoons:  Experienced birders know that finding rare species sometimes means going to fowl places.  =)  The sewage lagoons are located northwest of Morenci, MI.  Sims Hwy passes between the upper and middle lagoon.  A service road can be driven to the lower lagoon.  A scope is recommend since a fence surrounds the lagoons.  The lagoons are west of M-156, and north of Morenci Road on Sims Hwy.
3.  Schoonover Production Area:  From Morenci we will drive north on M-156 and turn right (east) onto Canandaigua Road.  Drive approximately one mile and turn left (north) on Medina Road.  A parking lot is located .25 miles off Canandaigua.  Schoonover is owned by US Fish and Wildlife.  See link for more details.
4.  Hudson Lake State Recreation Area:  We will attempt to return to Hudson Lake picnic area by 2 PM.  Birders will meet back at the Picnic Area for random birding and picnic @ 3 PM.  Please bring your own food to grill, drinks and dish to pass.  Gregg Perez will supply the grill and charcoal and give a brief talk on the upcoming North American Migration Count (NAMC) in May and describe how members can participate.
Please RSVP so we know if we need more than one grill.
Johanna Lentz
(734) 478-9410
Gregg Perez
(517) 260-3097

Onsted’s Osprey

Yesterday, Connie Spotts, a Jackson Audubon member, posted a sighting of an Osprey nest near Onsted, MI.  The nest is located on a cell phone tower off Springville Hwy, approximately 1 mile south of M-50.  I went there yesterday after work and took a few pics through my scope.  The pics are not the best.  The nest is far from the road.  I only saw one Osprey while I was there, but Connie reported that there are two.  One of them was actively building/adding to the nest while I was there.

On my way home I stopped by Hidden Lake Gardens to soak in some beautiful spring weather.  During my short stay there I spotted four woodpecker species, a Pileated, Red-bellied, Downy and Sapsucker.  I was hoping to also find a Hairy Woodpecker but none would cooperate.

Hidden Lake Gardens species:  Pileated Woodpecker, Downey Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Bluejay, American Robin, Field Sparrow, American Crow, Eastern Bluebird, Black capped Chickadee, Junco, House Finch, Phoebe, Mourning Dove, Turkey Vulture, Wild Turkey, Golden Crowned Kinglet, Ruby Crowned Kinglet, White breasted Nuthatch, Northern Cardinal, Common Grackle, Starling, Killdeer, Trumpeter Swans, Red-winged Blackbird and Tufted Titmouse.