Admittedly I am very far behind on my blog! I tend to go places and see cool birds and then just need to tell the birders of the southeast Michigan listserv about them instead of putting my "rambles" here on my blog and just referencing them with a URL to the listserv. I truly suspect I am driven by a need to give back to Michigan birders for all their help and encouragement over the last few years and just want to directly write my birding friends and heroes immediately. Anyway, I think I will try to write here first and post a URL to my birding friends. Testing - testing ... how does this work?
Judy and I went to Beaudette Park in Pontiac today. Last year it was great for warblers, and I wanted to see if any were there yet.
I did see one Y-R Warbler ("butter butt"), but that was all so far.
But I got two lifers and decent views at a possible really great bird! And I have pics to verify! (Later ...)
1) Yellow-bellied Sapsucker! Geez, I always wanted to see one just to tell people I had done so! I really think this is one of the birds that - when telling the story of conquests - by its mere name really makes non-birders think a birder is nuts! I am slowly climbing the life bird ladder with another name that inspires curiosity among those not inthralled with the subject. It might also inspire much laughter and disdain - or even fear - among those not so inclined to avian pursuits, but I'll take the accolades! Yes, I am nuts over birding, and I just love the way "Yellow-bellied Sapsucker" flows off my newly foreign tongue! Cool!
2) Brown Creeper! Yes, that confirms it! It sounds so mysterious and so potentially dangerous. Another addition to a life list and another addition for casual bar conversation.
On the other hand I do not frequent bars, and most people Judy and I know or meet already know my desire for new avian conquests (to wit: "Are you Dr. Bob"?), and they already suspect I am a bit "touched". Takes all the fun of a surprise revelation out of the equation! Yet I can just imagine and chuckle about a scenario where "Dr. Bob" walks into a bar (... now there is a beginning of a story to explore for humor!) and sits down next to a gorgeous female and we exchange formalities and it gets down to "What did you do today?" "Well, honey, I saw a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and a Brown Creeper!"
I love it!!! What a pickup line!!! Certainly different that the norm! ("Geez! Where did my honey of the night go?...")
3) I think I also got a Wood Thrush! (Yes, I got pics, and it would be a really great bird!). The name does not sound so interesting for casual conversations, and I cannot even use it in a sentence without verification, so I will have to add details for birders. It had strong spots - merging into streaks - all the way down the belly. The back seemed a relatively uniform rufous color - unlike the Hermit Thrush I saw at Metro Beach last week where that color on the back was just above the butt. It went from mid-level in trees to the "floor" near the lake edge, but seemed comfortable in either place. I need input, please! Yes, please guess before I put pics on this blog!
I also tried to get my binocs on a dinky fast-moving pointy-billed "LGJ" (little gray job). I never really had a great view, and could never tell coloration or if it had an eye-ring (not that that feature would have helped ...), but out of dozens of pics mostly focussed on the background, I finally saw a flash of red on the head. OK, forget vireos (my initial thought) - it was a Ruby-crowned Kinglet! They have been reported on the Mich birder's list recently so it makes sense, but they are always amazing. I know nothing about vireos (or flycatchers), but do think I know the Blue-grey Gnatcatcher (another LGJ) because it has outer white tail feathers. I thought vireo, but is the same great spring bird that always flies down a few feet way from us at Magee Marsh in Ohio this time of year. I think I finally learned this year that the Golden-crowns come thru first, and am quite happy I saw them this year.
Sure, we saw other birds as well, but these were my favorites!
1) I happened to speak with GBB (good birding buddy) Ed while there and I told him that I thought I had just seen a lifer Sapsucker. As always he provided positive feedback suggesting that with my growing experience, if I thought I had a new bird, I probably did. His clue was that a quick view of a Sapsucker looked "dirty" compared with the very abundant Red-Bellied Woodpecker that also has a red head. Cool! My pics bear this out!
2) I have told the birders list before that I needed to see a Creeper. The main advice was that (paraphrasing here) a creeper is like a Nuthatch except the WB Nuthatch goes down a tree and a Creeper goes up a tree. The creeper flies lower to the next tree and starts going up again. It did so! Even with purely back-lit silhoutte pics, I could see the curved bill, but I actually got some decent pics of coloring as well to confirm. Again, cool!
Y'all birders are the best! Thanks to the Michigan birding listserv and birders to whom I write this blog!!!
BTW, Beaudette Park is a great place for winter ducks and - as I learned last year - a really great place for spring migrants. Recommended! We often go there. On the other hand, there is a normal "cast of characters in cars" doing their own thing - whatever it is. My personal advice is to never train binocs or cameras in their direction. There are no birds there anyway. Besides, if you never train optics on them and you are approached (never happened yet), all you have to do is say you were looking for a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker as reported on the internet. Not only would they think you are totally nuts, but also that you have connections!
Now to go off and work on pics - to be added later!