Friday, February 10, 2012

Summer Fall Winter Spring - 2012-02-10

OK, I just "rambled" on the Michigan birders list. With great personal lazy drivers, I repost it here. Geez! I just have to "reuse"

Begin post:

OK, I miss-spoke about “Spring sprung” broken. We did have one more wonderful day of “winter spring”. Now, I really suspect Spring really sprang and our wonderful false Spring will now be broken in the following days bringing the jet stream down upon us from the north. (I suspect all local birders know Judy and I are “fair weather birders” so we will “hibernate” for awhile…) Judy coined a new word for the winter we have had so far: “uncomplainable”. Cool!

Today was a beautiful day in high 30’s with wind chills in the high 20’s and Judy and I went to Stoney Creek Nature Center to “hang out” and watch the feeders. We planned no big walks, just wanted to see birds,.

With about an hour of observation, we again saw and photographed the Pine Siskins (feisty birds – they “win” over goldilocks at thistle feeders – see pics) and the Common Redpolls (pics). We saw several Juncos and both Downy and Hairy WP as well as many other birds. Great winter stuff!!! Wonderful!

Note: Y’all should visit your local Nature Centers for fun and warm birding at their feeders!!! Forget the walks! At least as far as I have seen, most birds are around feeder areas! No, not the “best birds” who, albeit displaced, know how to “make it” here in winter, but if you want to see lots of cool birds, some area around a place with feeders is best.

Then we went to Winter Cove (the whole parking lot was open again vs. the last time we went here) and saw two Coopers Hawks and two Eastern Bluebirds! Huh? - Bluebirds? Spring!? OK. Now I need to give up on “land birds” and think about the wading birds as possible harbingers of Spring! Hey, you can’t wade in a frozen pond! (See, I am learning!) Really, what IS the true birdie sign of spring in Michigan? And, do not say Robins, or Red-winged Blackbirds (my former choice) or even Bluebirds or Sandhill Cranes! And do not get too fancy (like the Clay-colored Sparrow). SO WHAT IS the birdie harbinger of Spring in SE Michigan? Please, “Come on back Good Buddies”!

I am not sure about summer and fall, but seeing winter and spring birds in the same day was just SO cool!

Now back to winter that as I predicted in my last note was about to “fall” upon us! In “summery” (sic), how often can one see spring Bluebirds and winter Redpolls and Pine Siskins in the same day?

The obscure ref in the subject of the e-mail was to a phrase I remember from my childhood. I remember Mom talking about “Princess Summerfall Winterspring”. Ref: I think I might have seen Howdy Doody on some occasions but it really made no huge impression, but I have remembered that name after all these years. Interesting that today re-triggered the memory.

See my PBase (URL below) for winter and spring birds in the same day.

I don’t know, I just remember Mom’s words. I certainly do not remember why, but I guess it must have been an important moment for her when I was a kid (I assume we shared something important!) , just as like why today was an important moment for me seeing special winter birds at the same time as I got FOY spring bluebirds. It all comes back sometime. I always really think Mom was the reason why I appreciated Nature and the outdoors to begin with! God bless you and the memories I have of you Mom!

Just thinking/rambling: if I could think of anything especially wonderful to do with kids in our area, I would certainly take them to Kensington Metro Park to hand feeding birds near the Nature Center area. In California we had the ocean where Mom liked to go. Yet with all the wonders and treasures of the ocean, I never had a lighter than air being light on my hand! (Geez! Y’all do not know what you miss ….!), I suspect nothing would have compared with a flighty weightless being landing on your hand. Never mind, it is not seasonal, I just went off into another ramble … Point here is half of a memory of a childhood princess triggered today …

I put the pics on my PBase site: Oh, just click around … and enjoy …

Do “next” for a total of 4 new pics.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Recent stuff - Spring sprang and now springing Spring broken?

I posted this on the Michigan Birder's list. I copy it here. I really no longer have the energy to generate more than one "ramble" at a time, and wanted to thank Mich birders for their help. Yes, I often "ramble" on the Mich birders (a very accepting forum!) and ignore my blog ...

Many great days recently! My indicator of spring – the Red-winged Blackbird – appeared twice. Yes, Allen I really appreciated your note to me (relative to robins and my spring RWBB indicator) about your sighting of so many RWBB at Erie Marsh this January and I see some postings on the list about RWBB recently and so maybe I need to revise my spring indicator. So, maybe – like Robins – some RWBB hang around. Or is this a weird year? So if not Robins, RWBB, Bluebirds (Stoney recently and Kensington most years), Sandhill Cranes (most recently at Stoney and I am sure Kensington as in most years) and the Kinglets and “butter butts” also being reported this year, what bird is the true indicator of Spring?

At Holland Ponds we were rewarded with the sighting (and backlit pics) of American Widgeon male and female. (Thanks listers! We rarely go there in winter). This is only the second time we ever saw a Widgeon and never so close! As we were walking the main road to Waterfowl Pond to see the ducks, four Red-winged Blackbirds (“tik”, “chuck”, or whatever the familiar sound issuing forth) flew overhead. Huh? Spring?

The next day a RWBB appeared on my deck! Spring! Geez, it was 50 degrees – could have been spring! There were a few more back in the woods making beautiful “here I am” noises at Streamwood. Silly birds…

And at Holland Ponds, I heard some other weird noises – short whistles! Seemed like the older bird-watching couple across the pond was whistling, but the noise did not seem to come from them. From my books, I learned Widgeons make a whistle. Interesting. It was sure strange! Geez, I sure would love to see a Fulvous Whistling Duck (not in Michigan) just to be able to say I saw one! It is in the books and its name sticks in my memory and just rolls off the tongue enough to make it so fascinating! Well anyway, I think I heard a whistling duck (Widgeon), but not the unrelated Whistling Duck. Or was it just the older couple on the other side throwing their whistles and messing with me? We later saw them walking back to their car holding hands. That sight was a true treasure and a lasting memory of a beautiful day birding!

Also while I was watching the Widgeons, I heard some new sounds. Mallards for sure, but very weird - Judy pointed me to the source and I managed to get a few pics of a male Mallard pushing a female under water while biting her neck. First time we ever saw that. Quick!!! Ah, spring! (Is this the time they DO that? What’s the gestation?)

At Stoney Creek Nature Center, we were lucky to get two Common Redpolls (male and female) and a Pine Siskin – both FOY for us. Again, thanks to the list for steering us there! By chance (binocs are good for people too!) we saw my former best bass tournament fishing buddy Terry across from the observation deck where we started and called him over to the Nature Center. He has now traded his bass boat for optics and is hooked on birding. It sure makes sense! Fishing and birding are not so different – seeking, finding, capturing (pics). Both are addictive! And, it is a heck of a lot cheaper considering the amount of gas the 250 hp engines on a bass boat eat, and also more convenient considering that you can “bird” anywhere at any time! It is cool that Terry is now birding! Anyway, the siskin and redpolls were “lifers” for Terry.

On another recent day, while walking the Stoney Creek West Branch Trails, we were fortunate to meet up with Kevin again. On the phone while I asked about the last location of my nemesis PIWO, he had asked me if we saw the Barred Owl. No, I said. I knew exactly where it was supposed to be, and we looked and did not see it as we had walked by. After we met up with Kevin (Thanks, Kevin for meeting us there!), we looked with “new eyes” on the same tree. There it was! It looks like a “bump on a log”! The streaking on the owl’s breast blends perfectly with the bark pattern of the tree! A beautiful “bump on a log”! Go see: (do “next” for one more pic)

Anyway, I just wanted to thank everyone for reporting your sightings and to pass along a new “ramble” of the brief spring we enjoyed. I suspect from the weather reports I may finally be able to get “doing” what I need to do at home instead of impulsively birding every nice day. (Hey, in Michigan in winter we take any great day as an opportunity!)

Well, if the brief “Spring spring” is rewound and winter cometh, then bring on more Redpolls, Siskins, and Crossbills – and a few Lapland Longspurs would be nice as well! That would be wonderful! And, for sure the Snowy Owls are amazing! Let’s hope they find food and stay healthy!

BTW, I am going to repost this on my blog. I notice I never posted anything since last summer. “Doing” sure beats blogging… and as much as I would like, it seems harder as I age to do both. I sure heartily applaud the people who can do both!!!

2011 Recap

Placeholder! I want to recap our last year.

Lots of stuff to post! Been busy "doing" and not posting. This has been a mild winter in Michigan, so we have been still "doing". I suspect winter will soon be upon us and I wil have time to catch up.