Friday, February 5, 2010

2010-02-04 Great Duck Beaudette Day!

Yesterday Judy and I went to Beaudette Park in Pontiac for the first time. I had been reading on the southeast Michigan birders list about the species being encountered there, and wanted to see if they were still there. They were! It was a pleasant day - a tad over freezing (35 degrees) and there was little wind chill. All in all, it was a great temperature for February in Michigan. We saw and shot several new species for us ("lifers") ... which is still not too hard since we are still relative "newbies".

I highly recommend Beaudette Park for a winter excursion. Almost all of the water is open. I believe Sylvan Lake drains into "Dawson's Mill Pond" as the water around Beaudette is known. Following a trip through the pond, the water cascades down a dam and becomes the Clinton River (I think). The water was rushing through the dam. The pond was only frozen around the edges, probably due to the moving water.

It was just fantastic to see aquatic birds so closely when compared with seeing many of the same birds at Belle Isle. At Belle Isle, they are halfway to Canada. At Beaudette, they are halfway across a small pond! It sure makes for better viewing and photos!!! We will certainly return as the temperature agains returns to above freezing!

The most fun was watching two Trumpeter Swans honking and flapping with each other (mating?). The prettiest birds were the Hooded Mergansers. New birds included Ring-necked Ducks and Redheads.

A fantastic treat!!! A flying "hoodie" in focus!
(This is one of my best pics ever - even if I do say so myself!)

We heard some new-to-us very musical noises coming from the swan area of the pond, and immediately hurried back to see what was going on. The notes did indeed sound like trumpets or horns of some type! I shot several pics of the two birds causing the commotion.

Let's dance...
I suspect they were mating, but what would I know about when and how swans mate?

I wonder now about the Mute Swan in the pics who looks like he is yodeling. I also wonder about the much smaller swan near the action. Is this a kid, or possibly the smaller Tundra Swan species?

You seem interested!

A flapping good time was had by all!

(I suspect for "purchase" - like birds do not have hands...)

Obviously this was a remarkable and memorable encounter! We had seen Trumpeters at the Detroit Zoo before, but here they were in the wild - doing wild things!!! Did I really catch them mating?

Here is the list of aquatics:
Mute Swans – lots
Trumpeter Swans – at least 2
Mallards – abundant – most common
Canvasbacks – lots
Hooded Mergansers – several
Ring-Necked Ducks – several
Common Goldeneye – 2
American Black Duck – few
Herring Gull – 1 (oddly, the only gull seen)
Bufflehead - 1
Redheads - at least one pair

We saw both males and females of most species. I have lots of pics and eventually will post them to my PBase site, but I wanted to share the highlights here now.

Ring-necked Ducks

A Great Duck Day, indeed! And trumpeting swans as an extra bonus! Wow!!!