After my recent post, I had a few requests for directions to Dutton Fields, and answer them all at one time now.
There is a service road south of Dutton immediately east of Lapeer (M-24) behind two pizza places in a mini-mall. If you are coming up (north on) Lapeer from I-75, shortly after the Palace, and just before Dutton Road itself, you will see a sign pointing off to Dutton on your right. This goes to the service road. (Or you can proceed to the corner, and turn right on Dutton, then take the first right).
The area of interest is on the side of the street opposite the block wall. At present, I only seeded the driveway area opposite from and just north of the northern end of the wall, but I think I will try a tad southerly next time, but still opposite the wall. (I do note I only go there occasionally as an opportunistic fair-weather winter car birder so will not promise any attractants).
As I noted in my blog, the area has been cleaned up since the last couple of years.
I had one thought after my last visit. I seeded the same area as in the past two winters – the area by the “driveway” that goes down the hill. (And, no, I never drove down there – it is, after all, private property, albeit seemingly abandoned … besides, now it looks very muddy and slippery and highly NOT recommended). The birds seemed to like this driveway area for some reason. And still do! Those little Horned Larks can sure move their feet to run up the driveway! Just try to keep the camera on them when they are moving! I think they really like running! They seem to only fly when spooked or to talk birdie things with each other away from the “Ground of Silence”. But I am thinking; now with less hiding places, maybe it is better to seed a tad farther south where there is still a bit of weed remnants along the edge of the drop-off. I’ll try it next time. Maybe the birds can hang out over the drop-off and pop up for seeds? When I saw the Snow Buntings on my first visit this year, there were several below the drop-off and only a couple in sight from the road, and they were along the edge.
BTW, when the birds do flee/fly/(fo fum…), in 2011 they often went into the huge open field away from the road, and would often return within about 15 minutes.
I want to thank Ed Lewandowski who had the foresight to start this whole special place for winter birding in 2011! Also, I want to acknowledge Kim Smith for her great blog about her recent experience there. http://natureismytherapy.com/2013/01/17/the-kestrel-and-i-alone-in-a-crowd/ This woman can really write! And, yes, a Kestrel is a definite possibility. I shot my life bird there a couple of years ago.
A prior post from 2011 when things were hopping - or should I say -flapping:
In re-reading my cited blog, I remembered I saw few Buntings originally (like recently), but on successive visits there were many. One can only hope for a repeat if seeds are there. The current timing is the same. One never knows …
Hey! It probably would not hurt to toss out a few handfuls of seeds to your objects of desire … then check back. Please notify me if a flock of Buntings, or especially Longspurs, pop up. I just might have to pass on a nap and grab my camera!
BTW, I really appreciate the help of my friend and mentor Jerry Jourdan for telling me how to get photos into my last blog!!! I updated it. http://drbobsbirdblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/forget-no-here-is-yes-snow-buntings-and.html
It is now SO much nicer to read than having to click on dropped URLs! Yes, I had to get into the HTML code thing, but it was really easy. Thanks Jerry!!! (And … I know most of you did not click on the URLs to see pics! My lovely wife Judy was just at my computer and said “that is a photo of you I took”. Yes – she had looked at my blog but did not click on the URLs! I totally understand!)