Sunday, May 28, 2023

May 2023 Highlights


A Solitary Sandpiper was at Black Oak Heritage Park for well over a week. 

Its amazing how fleeting time is. As a birder, I wish for May to come around, but then its here and it passes.  I birded (and exercised) a lot over the course of April - May - and I had a few highlights. Which I hope to share in this posting. 

I think the single most eventful thing that happened this May was a message I received through WhatsApp which hinted that a friend had a Western Tanager in his back yard!

Black Oak Heritage Park

The thing that I love about Black Oak Heritage Park is that its just so darn close to me. Its literally 5 mins away. I really birded this wonderful place alot this May --- going almost daily.

Western Tanager (Near Puce ON)  - May 6th

I must admit that I can't help but wonder about the chances of a real western rarity showing up in a friends yard. The odds are --- almost unimaginable. But -- My friend does have a gorgeous back yard with a pond and feeder habitat. One funny (or crappy) thing about this sighting was that my camera (for some reason) had its settings screwed up - the aperture was set to F19 or F22. So, the whole that the light was going through was really small, so the shutter stayed open for longer.  Anyway - here are some images that I had from briefly viewing the Tanager that morning:\

May 16th - Rondeau 

Perhaps one of my best birding days this month was a day off that I took and went to Rondeau. I was talking to a woman about how good the day was - when she stated that she had  been there for the last two weeks. It dawned on me that birding while one is working is quite different when compared to someone who can spend the whole peak migration period at a migrant hotspot. 

May 20th - South Cameron Woodlot

I really love birding casually from my back yard.  I had seen a Bald Eagle come into view and was about to land in the hedgrow behind my house. I had seen it about 15-20m above the ground with talons dangling. Then, it swooped up and out of view. I went right to the back of my yard to watch it fly away when I noticed a sparrow fly into the hedgerow. I was amazed to see a Clay coloured Sparrow! Click here to see this Ebird Hotspot!

May 22nd - Greyling and Tobico Marsh Nature Area (Bay City State Park)

May 27th - Pointe Mouillee (Rockford MI), Petersburg SGA, Kitty Todd Nature Preserve, Irwin Prairie, Oak Openings (Toledo Ohio).

This trip, along with many of the trips listed in this posting probably deserve its own posting, but for the mostpart - it was not overly filled with any particular rarities. 

Point Mouillee- Black Tern, White Pelicans... Rumour of Fork-tailed Flycatcher
Petersburg SGA- Wild Lupine Habitat, possible Karner Blue Butterfly (not seen)
Kitty Todd Preserve (Toledo Ohio) - Summer Tanager, Eastern Bluebird
Irwin Sedge Prairie - Red Shouldered Hawk, Swamp Sparrow Singing
Oak Openings - Did not bird much as it seems to be closed to foot traffic

So all in all - its been a fun May. I spent most of it at Black Oak, just near my house, but I did make a few special trips to PPNP, Rondeau, and even Grayling MI. One other closing thought for this posting is that I have made more and more efforts to use E-Bird this year, and also, I enjoyed using "merlin app" to "listen" for birds. It can be good at times - but it is certainly not perfect as it clearly misses lots of things that I would hear, and it often hears things I would have missed, and of course, it gives false positives and positive false reports. So one must be cautious reporting sightings based on merlin.

Good Birding, 


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