Sunday, May 2, 2010

Wetzel SRA (Macomb County) Michigan

2010-04-30 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

Judy and I were fortunate to be able to bird Wetzel with Chris Goulart today. Chris is an outstanding birder and knows Wetzel very well. We were especially impressed with his "birding by ear"! Even through the annoying flyovers of Selfridge helicopters, Chris would pick up the sound of a bird, point and make an excellent melodic vocal imitation to tell us what to listen for, and we could hear the bird. So cool! Or sometimes he would call up the bird song on his phone. What technology is available now!

It was really interesting when Brian McGee wandered up. He and Chris would go back and forth with "That's a (some bird)" and all without seeing it. Wow, I have a long way to go!

Chris walked us around a new area at Wetzel we had not visited before - the loop at the northern end of the southern ponds. He had specific birds he sought at certain locations. For the most part we did not find the special birds, but we sure learned a lot! Chris is a great teacher! It was a wonderful day.

I'll post a couple of pics later. Here is the species list. I note that I am including only the birds and critters I saw. Chris' list would include a dozen or more additional ones he heard.

Mute Swans - several, many on nests
Canada Geese - several, including one family with 6 new babies
Mallards - a  few
Forster's Terns - several - two pairs apparently nesting
Turkey Vulture - 3
Red-Tailed Hawk -2
White-crowned Sparrow - several
Savannah Sparrow - uncommon
Goldfinch - several
Blue Jay - a few; one flock of 7 flew by
Yellow Warbler - several
Tree Swallows - a few
Rough-winged Swallow - 2 flying over lake
Cowbird - a few
Bufflehead - 1 female
Spotted Sandpiper - 2 (small; characteristic flight low over the lake with rapid wingbeats)
Black-crowned Night Heron - 1 (being chased in air by two Forster's Terns! Chris said  the only bird he has seen the terns chase is the BCNH)
White-breasted Nuthatch - heard
Northern Flicker - heard
Chipping Sparrow

Some other wildlife:
Leopard Frog (a first!) - a few cooperated for pics
     Mourning Cloak
     Red Admiral (a first!)
     A dinky blue one
     A dinky white one
     A small light yellow one
Tent Caterpillars (finally found out what made these silky homes full of crawlies - I learned that it is a moth)
A fish-fly relative
A medium-sized dragonfly - could not get close enough for a pic

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