Sunday, April 15, 2018

Horned Grebes - 13 Apr 2018


A major winter storm is hitting the Midwest today, with Nebraska getting blizzards and high winds blasting Wisconsin. North of us is expecting snow, while we in the SE portion of Michigan is forecasted to get lots of rain and falling temperatures. This evening, though, the skies are calm and it is still mild (57F), so I decided to take a ride out and check the Moo.

I arrived a Mouillee Creek entrance at 5 pm and rode out along the Middle Causeway toward the Banana Unit. Water levels were already high in the SGA due to heavy rains earlier in the week. As such, shorebirds were all but absent; I did see one flock of 6 Lesser Yellowlegs fly into the Vermet Unit from the Humphries Unit.

Of the waterfowl variety Blue-winged Teal were the bird of the day. Dozens were scattering before me while small rafts of American Coot also held ducks like Ring-necked, Northern Shoveler, Wigeon, Redhead, and Gadwall. Mute Swans were concentrated in the Vermet Unit and the first Canada Geese babies were swimming behind their parents.  Tree Swallows finally appeared over the water, as well.

Cell 4 held the first of many Horned Grebes that I would see this evening. Common and Red-breasted Mergansers were still around, as well as Greater and Lesser Scaup, and a dozen Bufflehead.

I rode down to the south side of Cell 3 to see if any Snowy Owls were still around. I was actually happy NOT to see any. I believe they've finally flown back north.  I would see more Horned Grebes along the shore of Lake Erie, which was chopping as the winds started picking up.

At the SW corner of Cell 4 I found a nice Horned Grebe just relaxing near shore. It didn't seem to mind my presence, so I stopped and spent a few minutes digiscoping it from about 50' away.



canvas filter

I would find another along the North Causeway as I began my trek back toward the car. As I digiscoped it I noticed the other ducks beginning to scatter out toward the middle of the Huron River. Except for a much larger Common Loon that casually floated about 20 yds. out from shore.




I then spotted another. And another. Five total! But, they were too far out to digiscope and all I could do was scope them through the choppy waters.  I would try to spot them from Pt. Mouillee HQ, but I could not relocate them from the location.


No comments: