Sunday, June 13, 2010

Wetzel SRA (Macomb County) Michigan - 2010-06-09

Wetzel SRA (Macomb County) Michigan - 2010-06-09

We birded Wetzel with Ed Lewandowski today. Ed is a great birder and a patient teacher. We picked up three lifers (and another) with his help.

I think the most interesting lesson from today is the same lesson we learned the last time we birded with Ed. It is also the same lesson we learned from Chris Goulart (another great teacher!) at the same site. The birds are there - you just have to know what to expect, and you just have to remain expectant on seeing birds. We will probably always keep learning the same lesson!

I think so often Judy and I go somewhere and walk around and keep seeing the birds we know, and missing the ones we would like to see because we tend not to stay very long in spots where we do not immediately see birds. And, we do not bird new habitats very often. Especially, we do not stay very long in the spots where it is difficult (impossible?  ... well almost ...) to get photos. And, on hot days, we are always looking forward to hanging out in the next shady spot (did I ever mention we are "fair weather birders") and tend to miss birds in the more exposed areas. Such is life for seniors or the less inspired among us.

Yes, it is the same story: Keep doing what you always do, and you will get the results you always get.

Here is the species list I wrote on my 3x5 card ("field notes"). I just finished editing and annotating the eBird "shared" list Ed put up. Always the teacher, Ed made me sign up for eBird to see his darn list! Hey! Ebird is easy! I'll tell you about it on another blog.

Here is an extremely hard bird to get! A Sedge Wren! (Lucky shot!)

Sedge Wren !
Yellow Warbler
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-winged Blackbirds
Great Crested Flycatcher !
Swamp Sparrow
American Goldfinch
Canada Geese (communal gosling raising!)
Song Sparrows
Eastern Kingbird
Mute Swans with cygnets
Bank Swallow !
Savannah Sparrows
Bobolink !
Spotted Sandpiper
Catbirds (H)
Indigo Bunting
Forster's Tern
Northern Flicker
Killdeer (on Werdeman Rd.)
Great Egrets
Turkey Vulture
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift "flying cigar" - I now recognize the flying cigar thing, and the next time I will count it as a lifer!
Downy Woodpecker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Baltimore Oriole

I think we had 35 species vs. Ed's 49. Not bad at all for us! (Thanks Ed!)

The best birds were the lifers! I always wanted to see a Bobolink (go figure - maybe it was a Dr. Bobolink?)

I got my best pics ever of Savannah Sparrows!

We saw a Spotted Sandpiper walking on the dam (dike) road! And when I approached too closely, it flew off to the normal habitat where we might expect it.

And we got another lifer with the Bank Swallows. Hey! Did you ever try to shoot pics of swallows? If you ever did, you will surely appreciate the fact that these lousy pics show enough field characteristics (banded collar) to appreciate the effort! Heck, Ed, I'll bet you thought I was just damn nuts for trying! Never overlook the power of luck on such a wonderful day! Lifers!

Just to close, I offer a quite good pic of a familiar bird. When they pose, who am I to resist?! They are always asking for a portrait!


Regarding the eBird thing. I am really quite happy my teacher made "me do it". Many of my heroes on the Michigan birders listserv have suggested in many ways that I start listing on eBird rather than keeping my own lists or spreadsheets. They have suggested personal advantages and also told me that I could be helping science. So why did I resist? Ignoring an obvious stupid answer or self reflection and incrimination, I can just say "I tend to keep doing what I have always done".

I think that is where I started. So - having closed the circle I opened near the beginning of this blog - I can only offer: "I hope you enjoyed the story and the pics of our new lifers"!

And I add, be sure to thank your teachers! From teachers, we learn and advance! From complacency or inertia, we just keep "doing".

Cheers! - "Dr. Bob"

ps., after joining eBird, I found out that Ed and Chris have listed more species from Macomb County than anyone else in the world! Wow! I am truly humbled and honored that they invited us and allowed Judy and I to bird with them!!! We have been truly blessed! And, I really understand. A great teacher makes the difference in the lives of so many people! I think they just have to do it! Please always recognize and thank your teachers! Yes, thank you guys so much!


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