Sunday, April 15, 2012

Yellow Bellies, Rumps and Throats

New Scope Purchase
My entry into the birding world has been a slow burn from the start. I birded for the first year without binoculars or a field guide (don't laugh!). The second year, I birded without a scope... So for my third year of birding, I treated myself to a scope. I bought a Bushnell Elite 80mm scope even though I was tempted to get the gorgeous Vortex Razor HD 85mm scope or even the Kowa 88mm scope. The Bushnell Elite scope has Bak-4 prisms and some Flourite Lenses, along with a new eyepiece that has twist-out eye cups. I wanted to buy a Kowa or Vortex so bad, but I just have so many upcoming purchases (minivan) , wide angle lens (maybe), my first cell phone and the list goes on and on. With my own budget in consideration, and the amount of usage I will get, the sub $1000 range is where my budgetary equilibrium landed me.  I lined up all three scopes at Pelee Wings and looked at a distant card stapled to a tree across the road from the store. Long story short, I'm quite happy with the performance of the Bushnell, even when compared to the Vortex and the Kowa (77mm)!

Yellow Bellied Sapsuckers
After visiting Pelee Wings, I walked Point Pelee's Delaurier Trail & Woodland Nature trail with hopes of seeing any Mid-April migrants. As you can see above, I had "soul satisfying views" of Yellow bellied Sapsuckers! One was working a tree along the Woodland Nature Trail and swooped right in front of me as I was walking! Another YBSS tried to use this one's sap wells, and this one chased it off, right in front of me. I'm really happy with the way these photos turned out. My first photos of the YBSS were up high, with a cloudy sky in the background, but later, the bird repositioned lower on the same tree (Shagbark Hickory?) with a nicer backdrop.

Inaugural Scope run at Hillman Marsh
Were you expecting a Vireo or Warbler?  :-p
Upon arrival to Hillman Marsh, I bumped into Richard Carr, who quickly pointed out this large turtle in the middle of the shorebird cell at Hillman Marsh. This turtle was looking up, sticking its head up in the air as if he was saying, look at this obvious yellow throat! I'm a Blandings Turtle! (turtle lifer!)

While scoping out the shorebird cell (flooded field) at Hillman, we noticed something was stirring things up. A distant falcon profile was seen and later it flew by us heading north. Richard and I thought it was a Merlin, but maybe it was an American Kestrel. Later on as I was leaving, I saw this Kestrel perched about 500m north of Hillman. 

Thousands, possibly millions of Red Admirals were everywhere today.

Well...Back to work!!!

PS: You have to see this Great Horned Owl nest in S.E. Michigan!!

I wanted to learn a little about the Exit Pupil concept and other technical specifications of scopes and binoculars a found this good resource: Nikon info guide for choosing binoculars (or Monoculars ie Scopes).

PSS:  Amazing Video of Osprey Catching fish...

Good birding,


  1. Have fun with the scope!
    I hope Richard Carr is OK after you "bumped" into him.

  2. Great photos! Hope you enjoy your new scope! The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is gorgeous!

  3. Some nice pics indeed! The scope sounds like a wise investment; I'm sure it will "earn its keep" in short order.

  4. An excellent series, and congrats on the scope!!



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