Monday, September 6, 2010

Shorebirding at Pointe Mouillee MI

Marbled Godwits - Incredible Shorebirds!
After a great day at Holiday Beach yesterday, I went all out this morning with a long awaited road trip to Magee Marsh, with a stop at  Pointe Mouillee MI. I also attempted to stop at Open Oaks Metropark in Toledo, but did not really have time to do more than a quick drive through.

Back in July, I saw my first Pileated Woodpecker, and using my PPNP birding checklist book, I counted about 175 birds on my life list. An informal count recently brought me to 193... and I think this trip pushes me to the 199-200 mark! I am really excited about that!

Anyone going to Pointe Mouillee should print out a map and realize that its huge. The first time I went, I did not do this planning and found myself on a 5 mile walk (un-equipped with water and granola - not fun). This time, I brought my bike in my trunk, water, hat and some good cheer! It seems best parkinglot to use is the southernmost lot, just before Mouillee Creek bridge.

The first bird I noticed when I arrived was the giant Marbled Godwits. I was like wow! Lifer! Then, I walked down to the other end of the shorebird cell and noticed a birder. As I approached her, I noticed Buff breasted Sandpipers around! (Lifer!) They stayed at a comfortable 20 yards from me, but were very tolerant of humans... comparable to Killdeers.

Buff breasted Sandpiper
Then, I noticed the circular foraging strategy of a Winter plumaged Red necked Phalarope. (lifer!)

Red necked Phalarope

This Green winged Teal was walking around. This is a lifer as well for me! Its funny because I had ignored the duck with all the other great shorebirds around, but as I was photographed other birds, it would come into the frame of my camera view and shine bright green into my eyes almost like a mirror, beckoning my attention!

Green winged Teal - Shining green into my lens

I believe I photographed some Stilt & Pectoral Sandpipers as well this afternoon... really kicking up my life list total to 199!

Pointe Mouillee Birds~
Least Sandpiper
Marbled Godwit (lifer! 194)
Stilt Sandpiper (lifer! 195)
Red necked Phalarope (lifer! 196)
Baird's Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper (lifer! 197)
Lesser Yellowlegs
Green-winged Teal (lifer! 198)
Buff breasted Sandpiper (lifer! 199)
Baird's Sandpiper
? Long billed Dowitcher (lifer 200!)

Pied Billed Grebe
Assorted Terns, Gulls, Egrets and Herons
American Goldfinch

Savannah Sparrow

Canada Goose

Anyway, I visited two other great sites after Pointe Mouillee, but I will leave them as a separate postings

Great birding!

PS: Is it possible that there is a Long-billed Dowitcher in this photo? If so, that could be my #200th bird!!!! I will be conservative and call it a Short-billed and leave the 200th bird celebration for another day!


  1. So close!!! Sounds like you had a great weekend all around. If this isn't number 200 for you, is there any particular bird that would make hitting the 200 mark even more special?

  2. Crystal,
    A great question! In fact, I was going to add a life list wishlist at the end of this posting.

    Some birds I'd still love to see are:

    Cerulean, Kentucky, Prothnotary, Worm-eating

    Sedge, Winter

    Lewis's, Acorn, red-naped sapsucker, black backed, three toed

    Golden Eagle, Saw-whet owl,

    Boreal Chickadee, Grey Jay, most of the Winter finches, American Avocet, American Bittern, and last but not least, a south-american Royal Flycatcher! (see: for a photo)

    Once I see all of the above birds, I will probably call it quits!

  3. I see your wish list range is moving west. That Acorn Woodpecker is such an awesome bird. Time to invest in then one on tropical birds!



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