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Entries in bird watching (61)


Photo 172/365


Photos 123/365 (series)

The birds are back!

Blue-winged Warbler (summer resident)

Least Flycatcher (summer resident)

Black-throated Green Warbler (migrator)


Photo 61/365


Big Week Highlights 2017

Birding was hard for us this year. As Calvin gets older he has an increasing number of responsibilities and scheduling conflicts that we have hitherto avoided with our more traditional, non-traditional homeschool schedule. In particular, the public school band times have cut into our early morning bird hikes, and since intermediate school band concert was the same week as Big Week, added rehearsal time shortened our birding further. In the end we cut back on kitchen table school requirements in order to fit bird watching between other commitments along the way.

The other thing that made Big Week tough this year was weather. Although many of the migrators that we look for follow instinctual cues to decide when to head north more than any other signs, the physical forces of nature can either push them forward or hold them back. This year, following an early warming trend that instigated early tree leafing, we were swallowed up by northerly winds that brought chilling temperatures, but, more importantly, kept southern birds from heading north into such debilitating head winds. So while we waited in the increasingly green woods, the birds were waiting for favorable winds to arrive in the south. Eventually the birds trickled in, but even when they did arrive the growing leaves made it difficult to see them.

We did manage to see most of the migrators on our list with a few special sightings to boot, but photography was near impossible with the increased foliage, so while we enjoyed several highlight birds this year, our photography "highlights" are more along the lines of "decent shots of your run-of-the-mill birds" and the handful of "it will do to prove a sighting", but in the end, we really enjoy them all.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (summer)

Hermit Thrush (migrator)

Great Horned Owl (resident)

Black-and-White Warbler (summer)

Mallard (resident)

Black-Capped Chickadee (resident)

Tree Swallow female (Summer)

American Robin (resident)

Yellow-rumped Warbler (migrator)

Red-winged Blackbird (summer)

Canada Goose (resident)

Ovenbird (summer)

Warbling Vireo (summer)

White-breasted Nuthatch (resident)

Palm Warbler (migrator)

Red-bellied Woodpecker (resident)

Nashville Warbler (migrator)

Northern Parula (migrator)

Blue Jay (resident)

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (summer)

Scarlet Tanager (summer)


Getting back to nature

Michigan spring is always iffy, but this year has been particularly offensive. In late February we were enjoying highs in the shorts range, and the warming trend continued, albeit sporadically, so as to fool us all into expecting a warm, early spring. The tree buds were early, the tulips were early, the grass was already greening. Then good old Mother Nature ripped the rug right out from under us and sent us, not even beautiful late snow, but nasty, wet, cold, cold, cold weather. The kind of cold that doesn't necessarily nip, but absolutely chills you to the bone. Plus drizzle, and ice rain, and sleet, and slush. It didn't help that we were, once again, battling respiratory crud, thank you public school experience. So only in the past week or two have we ventured back to our favorite birding spots and daydreamy woods spots, with the late morning sun just beginning again with the promise of warmth and rebirth.