Friday, May 14, 2010

Lark Sparrow at the shack

Looks like the southerly winds did the business last night, combining with a bit of rain to bring down the birds. The walk to the shack was agonising this morning, as it was obvious from the large number of birds calling that lots of birds had arrived overnight. However, i'm a pro, so i soldiered on to the shack, nonetheless trousering Philadelphia Vireo, Least Flycatcher and Cape May Warbler on the way without breaking stride! Goodness knows what got missed this morning.
Clementine was again on the case, picking out a Piping Plover which was swiftly reported to myself. On having a look at the bird through the scope, it appeared to have no bands. 3 shorebird spp were also reported. A few hours later, a couple of lads from the PP Project base at Vermilion Point called in to say hi. We directed them towards the PP, and lo! there was another one with 2 Least Sandpipers. This bird was banded. Local birder Ken got some shots to read the bands and also photographed a Ruddy Turnstone, as well as a couple of new warbler spp.
The waterbird flight was fairly quiet, with about one third of the birds being uncountable due to the fact that they were flying the wrong way. I am more and more convinced that loons just like a headwind to provide some lift. Rather like swans, they're heavy but powerful birds and need a headwind to fly into. Their powerful pectoral muscles can provide the forward thrust no problem. The 747s of the bird world!
Our best day for Long Tailed Ducks this spring was on Wed when no less than 585 flew past the Point. That was also our best day for Surf Scoter with 19. Bonapartes Gulls have also started to pick up the last few days. Today was our best day for Red Throated Loons for a while with 27, although Commons were quite few. But best of all was a Lark Sparrow which spent most of the afternoon with a White Crowned and a Savannah feeding on Nyjer seed scattered about 20 yards from the shack. I understand this is less than annual at the Point, so is surely the same bird which had been present at the HQ until a few days ago?


Anonymous said...

Wow! sounds like alot of interesting birds are moving through. I wish I was up there now instead of two weeks ago, the first weekend in May. So many more bird species! I forgot to mention that the only really interesting shore bird I saw were three Spotted Sandpipers at the Upper Falls at Taquamenon, spotted by my brother on the far side of the falls. Qiuck question; have you seen or heard any Chaffinch this year because last year my brother and I found a pair at the feeders. We recognized them quickly because we read our bird guides when not birding. Just wondering. Cheers!

The Owl Ranch said...

Hi Mike,

Also interesting to note is that the NMU class found a Lark Sparrow at the sewage ponds down at the Tahquamenon Falls rivermouth campground on Tuesday evening. I had wondered if it was the staff house bird, but there have been a couple of birds here in the central UP in the last 2 weeks so perhaps its just an excellent spring for this species.
Very nice, I had a day several years ago were a Lark Sparrow kept me company at the WB Shack.


WPBO said...

Yep there's new birds arriving all the time. not had any Spotted Sands tho! We had a female Chaffinch for a few days in mid April, it sounds like there was a great escape a few years ago.
Interesting about the Lark Sparrow at the campground, it does sound like a good spring for them and as you say, increases the chance of them being different birds.

marcbuzzard said...

Sounds a great day Mike. I can see you being frustrated at having o walk through all those grounded birds - being a man that likes to 'trouser' every bird possible! Warmer winds picking up here too and a rush of commoner migrants - 1000+ Swallows an hour today was impressive while Spot Flys etc arriving on mass by now. Bird racing season is amongst us - a North Wales contingent got 115 species in Ceredigion yesterday - a county record I'm led to believe.

WPBO said...

Yep it was difficult but i've trousered quite a few new warblers in the last couple of days fortunately. Nice one on the bird race! A new record, what was the previous?! The Orme sounds nice at the moment, got a good pasage of hirundines here too!
TTFN Mike.