Friday, May 14, 2010

Let the Sun Shine

For the first time this week, we ventured out without long johns and gloves, and it was terrific to see sunshine again. In fact, the sunlight was either too bright or too shady under the trees. Of 319 photos on the card, I deleted about half of them since they only showed leaves and empty branches. The warblers were in full force today, chowing down on bugs galore.
As we walked down the boardwalk, we ran into some friends from the Beckham Bird Club, who said, "Can't stop to talk. There is a Kirtland's Warbler down at the beach!" The crowds dropped dramatically as birders rushed to the beach to see the rare Kirtland's Warbler which only breeds in one small place in Michigan. We decided to enjoy the peace on the boardwalk while we could instead of running with the crowds.
At last, a Common Yellowthroat perched on a cattail long enough for a photo!
Cape May Warbler
The Warblers were wonderful today, and we saw quite a few life birds, including this Cape May Warbler, a Bay Breasted Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Wilson's Warbler and Canada Warbler, and Northern Waterthrush. Yes, I know that last one says "thrush", but it's included with the Warblers. Warblers are hyperactive by definition, so I didn't get photos of all of them, but we have to leave something for next year, right?
Black Throated Blue Warbler
We felt pretty good about identifying all these Warblers, then we discovered that many of the birds we could not identify were just females of something we thought we already knew. It's like learning two species instead of one.
Bay Breasted Warbler
American Redstart
Back at Ottawa NWR for the evening program, a cocky Ring Necked Pheasant posed, gazing into the sunset. Hoping to see the parent Great Horns, we headed back to the owl's nest. Only one owlet watched us from a secure perch, but he never let us out of his sight.
Heading back to the car, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset in the marshes.

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