Ages

Birding Updates in Chippewa County

Copyright JR LaCoy

Greetings,

Mike Sefton and I birded portions of the eastern UP on Tuesday through Thursday. We toured the Soo area and south to M48, the Rudyard flats, north and west to Whitefish Point and the Upper Taquamenon Falls, H40 from Trout Lake to Rudyard.  Birding was slow!  We say no owls (we cruised the Rudyard flats twice), hawks, crossbills, purple finches, or siskins.  Most of the major feeder stations we visited (the house at the W end of 11 Mile Rd., the blue house at 4178 Ranger Rd, and Betty Maxson’s house on Lost Lake Rd S of M123) had very few birds and nothing special.  The feeders at the E end of 12 Mile Rd in the Dunbar Forest were an exception but still had fewer species and numbers than in previous early December trips.

Noteworthy highlights included a first winter ICELAND GULL below the Edison power plant in the Soo; BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS in crab apple trees near 300 W Townline Rd S of Pickford, along the entrance to Alvord
(sp) Park next to the Edison Power Plant, and along Riverside Rd about
1 mile S of the Sugar Island Ferry; and a frosty white HOARY REDPOLL at the Dunbar Forest feeders.  We also had a SHARP-TAILED GROUSE on 13 Mile Rd. that decided Mike’s head (he was taking snapshots out the car
window) was a good roosting spot, but Mike ducked and the bird landed on the top of the car instead.  Mike slowly exited the car and the bird stayed put long enough for a couple of quick shots. This experience was worth the entire trip to the Soo!

PINE GROSBEAKS were widespread and common, especially at feeders.
SNOW BUNTINGS were easily found in the Rudyard flats. SHARP-TAILED GROUSE were present at their traditional location near 9 Mile and Nicolet Rds.  We saw a few COMMON REDPOLLS at WPBO HQ building south of Whitefish Point, two at Betty Maxson’s house, and 20-30 at the Dunbar Forest feeders.

Better luck to the next Soo visitors,
Lathe and Mike

Copyright JR LaCoy

13 November 2007

Birders-

A PURPLE SANDPIPER buzzed the point this morning around 9:30 AM.  It was headed NW along the shore before it seemingly headed off due north over the lake.  It was not relocated.

The lingering PRAIRIE WARBLER was found again today near the "Foghorn Pond".

Yesterday, 12 November 2007, an adult BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE was seen from the point early in the afternoon.  Remarkably, this is the 2nd ADULT kittiwake seen here this fall and the 4th kittiwake overall.

PINE GROSBEAKS, BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS, COMMON REDPOLLS, HOARY REDPOLL, and SHARP-TAILED GROUSE have all been seen around the point in the last couple days.

For more details, we encourage you to visit www.wpbo.org and click on the blog sites halfway down the page.

UP Rare Bird Report for October 10, 2007
 
After an extended period of warm temperatures and south winds, a strong cold front moved into the Upper Peninsula today. North winds and evening temperatures in the high 30’s are predicted for the next couple of days. New migrants recorded this week include Long-tailed Ducks, Black Scoter, and Snow Buntings. A number of Harris’s Sparrows are still being reported, and Whitefish Point is having an excellent season for Jaegers with 37 being reported so far this season. Some finch movement has been reported with decent amounts of Pine Siskins and smaller numbers of Red & White-winged Crossbills, and a few Evening Grosbeaks.

October 4, 2007

Strong south winds have been prevalent in the last week, and migration has been a bit on the slow side. Still birds continue to move thorough the UP, some in good numbers (see the WPBO Surf Scoter report!). Harris’s Sparrows continue to be reported in better then average numbers this fall with reports of 35+ birds now. I have finally gotten a few updates in the UPBirders.org photo gallery, including a picture of the Spotted Towhee. The photos can be found in the 2007 bird gallery at www.UPBirders.org

Posted September 4, 2007

A Marbled Godwit made a brief appearance at the Point Today, landing momentarily at the tip. There were decent movements of Buff-breasted and Baird’s Sandpipers today, both hitting double digits. A photo of the Godwit along with birding updates are on the WPBO staff blog, which can be linked through the WPBO waterbird (also with daily updates) or owl blog links on the WPBO homepage at www.wpbo.org.

UP Rare Bird Report for August 27, 2007
It is beginning to feel a little more like fall. The nights are cooler, the color in the leaves are turning, and of course, there is a big increase in the number of migrants being seen and reported. Shorebird numbers and diversity is peaking right now, and warblers should be in another week. A declining species, Red Knots have been widespread in the last week with several individuals reported. “Winter” Finches are present in low numbers in appropriate habitat with reports of Red & White-winged Crossbills as well as Evening Grosbeaks in the last week. Whitefish Point Bird Observatory personnel are posting sightings on couple of excellent daily blogs. The blogs can be linked to be visiting www.wpbo.org

UP Rare Bird Report for July 24, 2007
 
All is quiet in the northern front. The breeding season is wrapping up quickly, and fall migration is starting up. Several species of shorebirds have been sighted, including both Baird’s & Stilt Sandpipers. The first migrant passerines have also been noted, including a few mixed species warbler flocks. Recent finch sightings include small numbers of both Red & White-winged Crossbills and a few scattered reports of Evening Grosbeaks.
 
Well it has begun- spring migration is underway! Reports of Merlin, American Kestrel, Sandhill Cranes, Ring-billed Gulls, American Robins, Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Song Sparrows have all arrived in the last week.  Please check out by clicking for more information on our Spring Migration.  More to come soon.
The Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Tour led by Scott Terry and Jerry  Ziarno on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 17 & 18, had the following notable  species:   Sharp-tailed Grouse – a flock of 15-20 – Rough-legged Hawk -Snowy Owl -Tow darker birds & one almost pure white bird.

Wednesday March 14, at 8:30 a.m. we were able to find 2 Gray Jays on Basnau Rd (Hulbert).The birds were missed as many did on the February trips. Other Birds that where seen were,many Red Crossbills, 3 White Winged Crossbills, many Pine Siskins, a few Evening Grosbeaks and Purple Finches

Bohemian Waxwing – only ones observed were in a mixed waxwing flock off  M-123 about 3 miles south of Tahquamenon River mouth. Snow Bunting – Large flock at Cattle operation at 5 1/2 Mi. and  Shunk.  Also at several other locations. Pine Grosbeak – Scarce this year but saw 6-8 females at 10 Mi. and Lower  Hay Lake Rd. Red Crossbill – Good looks at several birds on FR 3139 (Dick Rd.) about 2 miles South of M-28 White-winged Crossbill – Several places but nice group at Hulbert  Bog. Common Redpoll – absent from usual places but did find one flock of 20-25  along M-123 about 2 miles South of Tahquamenon River mouth.  Several paler  birds but could not confirm any Hoaries.
 
Evening Grosbeak – 3-4 at usual places on N/S segment of Basnau Rd. Surprisingly absent were any Gray Jays at Hulbert or anywhere else.   Another group reported they had been visiting Hulbert Bog for three days with no sightings of Gray Jay or Boreal Chickadee.
 

UP Rare Bird Report for September 26, 2007

The equinox has past, the leaves are near full color, the nights are cooler, and hordes of birds are leaving the north country. Several large passerine flights have brought many notable reports to the UP this week, including reports of 12 Harris’s Sparrows in 6 counties. Large flocks of Blue Jays have been noted along the Great Lakes shorelines and the number of ground foragers observed (Pipits, Larks, Sparrows, & Longspurs) have gone up. Numbers of warblers and thrushes are quickly fading and diving ducks like Aythya & Scoters are more prevalent at waterbird counts.

  
Shorebirds and warblers make up the majority of the birds being seen in the UP, with 21 species of shorebird and 24 species of warblers being reported in the region this week. Several observers have reported a good influx of sparrows migrating into the region. Large flocks of White-throated Sparrows with smaller numbers of Chipping, Lincoln’s and Juncos have been seen moving along the north shore of the UP. Other migrants reported this week include Philadelphia Vireo, American Pipit and Rusty Blackbird.

While scoping waterfowl at the mouth of the Charlotte
River (by the MSU Dunbar Station), there was observed
a solitary Ross’s Goose in the afternoon of April 1.

Also in Chippewa County that day, a very white Snowy
Owl remained along Centerline Road east of Rudyard.

Well it has begun- spring migration is underway! Reports of Merlin, American Kestrel, Sandhill Cranes, Ring-billed Gulls, American Robins, Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Song Sparrows have all arrived in the last week.  Please check out by clicking for more information on our Spring Migration.  More to come soon…..
For More on these bird sightings click here.

March 2007

Well it has begun- spring migration is underway! Reports of Merlin, American Kestrel, Sandhill Cranes, Ring-billed Gulls, American Robins, Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Song Sparrows have all arrived in the last week. Though I have not received any reports of Eastern Bluebirds or Meadowlarks yet, I would not be surprised if they have made it as far north as Menominee or Delta Counties. Some finches are still present, White-winged & Red Crossbills are being seen in good numbers and some have been found nesting in the last week. Pine Siskins are also beginning their breeding cycle. Common Redpolls are quickly clearing out of the UP, with reports of a few thousand moving past Whitefish Point this week. Smaller numbers have been seen migrating up the Keweenaw Peninsula. Pine Grosbeaks are nearly gone already with just a few reports from Keweenaw, Luce & Chippewa Counties in the last week. More to come soon…..

For More on these bird sightings click here.

The Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Tour led by Scott Terry and Jerry  Ziarno on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 17 & 18, had the following notable  species:

Sharp-tailed Grouse – a flock of 15-20 on Centerline Rd. North of the North  leg of M-48 on Friday on a scouting mission.  A few others south of the  Sault. Rough-legged Hawk – A few south of the Soo and in the Rudyard area. Snowy Owl – tow darker birds along Centerline Rd. between the two legs of M-48 and one almost pure white bird on a pole on south M-48 just east of Hantz  Rd. The Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Tour led by Scott Terry and Jerry  Ziarno on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 17 & 18, had the following notable  species: For more on these  bird sightings click here.

Chippewa County – February 13, 2007 Report
Betty Maxton reports that a GREAT GRAY OWL has been frequenting Tahquamenon Falls State Park in the Lost Lake Road/M-123 area.

This could certainly be the same bird reported from this location in September & October of last fall. Betty also reports that a BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER was at Lost Lake, and a flock of BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS at the mouth of the Tahquamenon River on the 9th & 10th of February. Brian Zwiebel reported a grounded COMMON LOON in a snow field south of the Soo on the 5th. Amazingly the bird was able to get into flight off the snow and stay airborne. Also notable for this late into the season are a small flock of TUNDRA SWANS along the St. Mary’s River in the Soo. Lathe Claflin reports that at least 2 SNOWY OWLS were still present in Rudyard on the 4th, and 3 GLAUCOUS GULLS were on the St. Mary’s River in front of the Edison Power Plant on the 3rd. A GLAUCOUS GULL was present at the Dafter Dump on the 2nd. A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER has been reliable in the Dunbar Forest feeders in the last week. Good numbers of SHARP-TAILED GROUSE, ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS & NORTHERN SHRIKES have been found in the farm country south of the Soo in the last two weeks.

February 2-4, 2007 eighteen people braved the cold, wind, and snow for a birding excursion to the Soo area this past weekend.  Highlights of this trip, sponsored by the Washtenaw and Jackson Audubon Societies, included:

SNOWY OWL – Two immature-type owls were located on Centerline Rd in the Rudyard "flats".

SHARP-TAILED GROUSE – These birds were plentiful: 50+ birds were seen around the large house on 9 Mile Rd. between Ridge and Riverside Rds.(3374); they eventually flew off in two large groups, quite a sight.  We found another 12 feeding on the ground around the house at the NW corner of 5 Mile and Ridge Rds. and a larger group feeding in a subdivision outside of Rudyard (reached via Glen Rd.).

CROSSBILLS – We located both species of crossbills near the west end of the wooded area of Dunbar Forest on 12 Mile Rd., but they only landed briefly.  We also saw two small groups of White-winged Crossbills on Basnau Rd. (Hulbert Bog) but they were either fly-overs or perched only briefly.

EVENING GROSBEAKS – We had a large flock (30+) of cooperative Evening Grosbeaks at one of the houses near the south end of the N/S leg of Basnau Rd.

PINE SISKIN – A heard only bird in Dunbar Forest and on Basnau Rd.

ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS – As others have reported, these birds are common in the farmland S and W of the Soo; two very dark phase birds were notable.

NORTHERN SHRIKE – Northern Shrike were present in a few locations but were not as easily found as two weeks ago.

PURPLE FINCH were seen at the feeders in Dunbar Forest as were RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, TREE SPARROWS (10+),  WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS (at least 3), and many DARK-EYED JUNCOS (also seen in the Hulbert Bog).  The last three were atypical for this time of year.  A notable miss was GRAY JAY, the first time in memory for me.  Four of our group took it easy Saturday afternoon but did record 3 GLAUCOUS GULLS and
6-7 LONG-TAILED DUCKS along the waterfront east of the Edison powerplant.