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Michigan Trip Over the Weekend

semi-overcast 80 °F

Hello all,

This is the report on the small trip my mom and I just took to Michigan from Sunday to today. My dad couldn't come because of work and since we were planning to get back around early afternoon on Tuesday, Pearl would miss her school if she came with us, so it was only my mom and I who went to Michigan.

We left on Sunday after church, so we were probably on the road by about 8:45am. I managed to fit in a bit of birding early on Sunday and I captured a decent photo of this MOURNING WARBLER, which was lucky because they usually tend to skulk in very dense bushes:
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I also saw but did not photograph a CANADA WARBLER, which was another nice find.

Then, my mom and I started on our three-hour-long drive to Michigan. It went by very quickly because the traffic was extremely agreeable, even on the Dan Ryan, which is usually a mess!

I saw many birds on the drive there including a few GREAT EGRETS, many hunting RED-TAILED HAWKS and TURKEY VULTURES, as well as my life bird REDHEAD! I saw the Redhead (which is a species of duck) swimming along with a few MUTE SWANS in Wolf Lake, which we always pass by on the way to Michigan.

We were at the campground that my mom owns in southwest Michigan by about 1:00pm or so. It turned out to be a beautiful, pleasant afternoon with a good number of bird species seen, including my surprise FOY (first-of-year) BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO (not photographed), four species of flycatchers, four species of swallows, and five species of woodpeckers, as well as the birds pictured below:

BALTIMORE ORIOLES were abundant, but most of them hide up in the canopy of the taller trees. This male bird, however, posed nicely for a photo in a nearby bush:
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When I was helping clean the outside of the cottage we own, I happened upon a bird nest that had been there last year. I assumed that it was vacant, but when I checked in the nest just to make sure there was nobody inside, I came face to face with three squealing baby birds of some sort. Later, I checked on the nest and thankfully, a female AMERICAN ROBIN had returned:
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GREAT BLUE HERONS are my mom's favorite bird at the campground. This one was relatively tame and allowed for this photo:
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The star of the afternoon, however, was an absolutely stunning (FOY) RED-HEADED WOODPECKER that I photographed in a tree literally right above the cabin we own on the campground. This species is federally threatened due to habitat loss and an accompanying massive decline in this bird's population in recent decades, so it was very pleasant to see this fellow:
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Here is the species list for Sunday, May 25. A very respectable total of 57 avian species were heard or seen by me. Bird-of-the-day to my life bird REDHEAD and runners-up to the BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO and the RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, which were both FOYs for me.

Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Bluebird
Indigo Bunting
Northern Cardinal
Gray Catbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Sandhill Crane
American Crow
BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO (FOY)
Great Egret (FOY)
Northern Flicker
Great Crested Flycatcher (FOY)
American Goldfinch
Canada Goose
Common Grackle
Ring-billed Gull
Red-tailed Hawk
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron (FOY)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Blue Jay
Killdeer
Eastern Kingbird
Belted Kingfisher (FOY)
Mallard
White-breasted Nuthatch
Baltimore Oriole
Eastern Phoebe
Rock Pigeon
REDHEAD (life bird!)
American Robin
Chipping Sparrow
House Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow (FOY)
Tree Swallow
Mute Swan (FOY)
Chimney Swift
Caspian Tern (FOY)
Tufted Titmouse (FOY)
Red-eyed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Turkey Vulture
CANADA WARBLER
Magnolia Warbler
MOURNING WARBLER
Tennessee Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Cedar Waxwing
Eastern Wood-pewee
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER (FOY)
House Wren
Common Yellowthroat

Yesterday, Monday May 26, Memorial Day, my mom and I woke up around 5:30am so that she could drive me to the nearby Yankee Springs State Recreation Area. YSSRA is my "secret spot" to find nesting endangered Cerulean Warblers, as well as other vulnerable nesting forest species such as Acadian Flycatchers, Red-headed and Pileated Woodpeckers, and Hooded Warblers. I was also hoping that I could snag some migrant bird species since it is still the tail end of migration. YSSRA is a beautiful preserve, with the recreation area being over 1,000 acres of mainly wooded habitat and with the adjoining, huge Barry State Game Area, the total acreage of connected forest is probably somewhere around 3,000 beautiful acres.

I birded the Chief Noonday Trail at Yankee Springs National Recreation Area from 6:00am-8:45am and saw some absolutely amazing birds, including five species of flycatchers and eight species of warblers, including 2 stunning, sky-blue, endangered CERULEAN WARBLERS!

It was Memorial Day, after all (all of the photos below were taken at Yankee Springs)!

Red: SCARLET TANAGER (male)
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White: EASTERN KINGBIRD
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Blue: CERULEAN WARBLER (male)
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I also saw a rare ACADIAN FLYCATCHER feeling a bit left out:
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It was a great outing with a stupendous array of rare forest birds.

Then, my mom and I headed into the tiny town of Otsego (my mom's hometown) to watch the Memorial Day Parade. It was quite a spectacle for just a small village:

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When we arrived back at the campground shortly before lunch, there were a number of good birds waiting for me:

This strange GREEN HERON was perched towards the top of a dead tree:
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My mom and I both had fantastic views of this GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER:
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After a Subway-sandwich pig-out at the picnic table in front of our cottage, I went birding on our property, and as well as seeing the birds photographed below, I saw and heard the two rarest species of woodpeckers at the campground: PILEATED and RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS.

Male INDIGO BUNTING:
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I searched for and found this WOOD THRUSH belting out his absolutely magnificent, ethereal, and almost haunting song in the middle of the woods on our property:
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Then, I found this surprisingly friendly GRAY CATBIRD by following its classic "meow" call to the bird itself:
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Cute EASTERN PHOEBES are common at the campground:
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It is always nice to see a beautiful TREE SWALLOW perched like this one:
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This MALLARD was the only duck species seen on the lake bordering our campground on Monday:
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Finally, to round off the evening was a nice CEDAR WAXWING:
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I positively identified 60 avian species yesterday (which is my best one-day total so far this year). The bird-of-the-day yesterday and the bird-of-the-weekend goes to the CERULEAN WARBLER, which is always a huge treat to see, and runners-up for yesterday's award goes to ACADIAN FLYCATCHER, SCARLET TANAGER, and WOOD THRUSH. Full species list for yesterday is below:

Red-winged Blackbird
Indigo Bunting
Northern Cardinal
Gray Catbird
Black-capped Chickadee
Brown-headed Cowbird
Sandhill Crane (FOY)
American Crow
Mourning Dove
Northern Flicker
ACADIAN FLYCATCHER (FOY)
Great Crested Flycatcher
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (FOY)
American Goldfinch
Canada Goose
Common Grackle
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Red-tailed Hawk
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Eastern Kingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Blue Jay
Mallard
White-breasted Nuthatch
Baltimore Oriole
Ovenbird
Eastern Phoebe
Rock Pigeon
American Redstart
American Robin
Chipping Sparrow
House Sparrow
Song Sparrow
European Starling
Barn Swallow
Tree Swallow
Chimney Swift
SCARLET TANAGER
WOOD THRUSH (FOY)
Tufted Titmouse
VEERY
Red-eyed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Turkey Vulture
BLUE-WINGED WARBLER (FOY)
CERULEAN WARBLER (FOY)
Chestnut-sided Warbler
PINE WARBLER (FOY)
Yellow Warbler
Cedar Waxwing
Eastern Wood-pewee
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
PILEATED WOODPECKER (FOY)
Red-bellied Woodpecker
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
House Wren
Common Yellowthroat

Today my mom and I spent a quiet morning of sleeping in and cleaning up at our cottage. Before we left I had a few nice birds including fly-over GREEN HERONS and a flock of TREE SWALLOWS with a random CLIFF SWALLOW mixed in. The drive from our cottage in southwest Michigan to Chicago took less than three hours and it was uneventful with the only good birds seen along the way being a few MUTE SWANS at Wolf Lake. Full species list for today is below.

Red-winged Blackbird
Northern Cardinal
American Crow
Great Egret
Great Crested Flycatcher
American Goldfinch
Canada Goose
Common Grackle
Ring-billed Gull
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Eastern Kingbird
Rock Pigeon
American Robin
Chipping Sparrow
House Sparrow
European Starling
Barn Swallow
CLIFF SWALLOW
Tree Swallow
Mute Swan
Chimney Swift
Tufted Titmouse
Warbling Vireo
Turkey Vulture
Yellow Warbler
Cedar Waxwing
Eastern Wood-pewee
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Common Yellowthroat

It was a very nice weekend of relaxation and fantastic birding. Bird-of-the-trip and bird-of-the-month so far to the Cerulean Warbler at Yankee Springs State Recreation Area.

Good birding and stay tuned,

Henry
World Life List: 667 Species (1 life bird this weekend: Redhead)

Posted by skwclar 19:33 Archived in USA

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