Monday, May 10, 2010

Birds And A Bee

With spring springing and birds moving, birders move, too, right? A mid-May day for birders in southeast Michigan can sometimes mean a trip to Ohio's Crane Creek....or Magee Marsh...or whatever they want you to call it nowadays....

In spite of a chilly start, 1.9 million cars and 2.7 trillion people*, Natalie (a fellow birder) and I had a descent day. Only 64 species (20 of which were warblers) were tallied. At no point did we even try for shorebirds at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. Given the day's other commitments, we opted to spend the morning looking for songbirds. By lunchtime, we needed to move along.

The two giant highlights of the day, for me, included Golden-winged Warbler and Mourning Warbler. Despite countless trips to Ohio over the last 10+ years, I have never seen either species in Ohio. I had no idea this was the case until I came home and entered my records into my computer. My Ohio list now stands at 223 species.

Unfortunately, most of my pics were just not very good. While the birds were cooperative, the lighting was less than ideal (very shaded in spots) or the bird was simply in the wrong spot (back-lit). With the dim lighting, I did the best I could with my rig, but many of the pics were just a bit too fuzzy as a result of slower shudder speeds. Oh well. I guess I will just have to upgrade my equipment to something that can handle a higher ISO without the graininess.

The above picture of a Prothonotary Warbler is basically the only real keeper of the day. The poor fellow, interested in the nesting hole he is in, was duking it out with a House Wren (also a cavity nester). To make matters even more exciting for us pseudo-photographers, the whole spat (or should it be "hole" spat?) was taking place just a few feet off the boardwalk. Very cool.

Oh, you probably are wondering what the bee reference? After leaving the boardwalk for a bathroom (and eventually lunch), I stood up out of the car and what did we find? A half-squished honey bee on the seat! Yes, the poor fellow got between my wide load and the seat. There is no telling that he was on "me bum" (to borrow a phrase from the English) when I sat down or was on the seat first. It doesn't matter. It was not a safe place to "bee".

All in all? A fine day to be out. Fortunately, we made it when we did. The weather is supposed to "bottom" out for the rest of week. Rain and cold temps. Ohhhhhhhh, yippee........

* Given the rising popularity of this place, I am not sure I will ever go back on a weekend. If this place is this crazy on Monday, weekends must be a total drag....

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