Thursday, December 15, 2011

Winter Birding in Kingsville and the Detroit River

Last Saturday morning, I did a quick birding drive hoping to see Short Eared Owls, but did not find my target species. This drive was similar to last winters posting: Running a Fools Errands. Out near Arner town line, there is some great open field habitat that always gives good views of hawks and other winter birds. Some birds seen include (tundra?) Swans, Northern Harrier, Rough Legged Hawk, Red tailed Hawk, and Eastern Bluebirds. I don't think I'll ever tire of seeing Eastern Bluebirds!

Backlit Bluebirds
The Detroit River had a nice assortment of duck-like species. Sandpoint Beach  had Bufflehead, Common Merganser, Horned Grebe among others. Further down the river, Bald Eagles could be seen on Peche Island and Ring necked Ducks and Surf Scoters were seen.

I rarely see Horned Grebes!

Got Snowies?

I came across an Ebird Article entitled: "Got Snowies?" so I had to read it. It discussed how the eruption of Snowies is caused from the natural cycles of its main food item (lemmings). It reminded birders to consider the ethical treatment of Owls with the following great paragraph: "An important word of caution about this striking and photogenic species--the birds we see in the states are already stressed, since they moved from locations in the north due to a lack of food. One of the southeast Wisconsin Snowy Owls in Ozaukee County was seen for a few days and then found dead by a farmer. Apparently the bird was extremely emaciated, so it likely starved to death. While very beautiful and often approachable, life for them can at times be very difficult, and keeping a good distance so as not to disturb them is the best approach. Please don't use live mice to lure them in to roadsides for photography. Flushing a large raptor, especially a white one can catch the attention of nearby crows causing unnecessary mobbing. We want these birds to successfully over-winter and then return back to the tundra to breed next spring."(Galick). Read more in this great article here:

This is partly the reason I did not disclose the location of this Owl in my posting. The photos (and video) I took were from 70-100m and heavily cropped with a 500mm telephoto lens. I left the bird as I had found it and did not flush it. That being said, check out this video I took to capture its essence, its 'gestalt', its fluid and strange head movements. I wanted to edit the video a little, but when I export the video project from Premier Elements 7.0, the video is really grainy. I have to figure out why its doing that.

This article shows a few photos of 200 new species discovered, including a new Warbler!

Well I have an exam on Saturday, so from this weekend on, I will try birding a little more. I've just been too busy to bird and too busy to blog!

Good birding,

Galick Sam, "Got Snowies?",, November 30, 2011,

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