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Friday, March 02, 2012

A Few Birds, One Rude Coyote

Felt like seeing some birds this morning so I headed out for a big loop drive. I take Sunrise onto Kiefer Road that crosses over a little bridge at Blodget Reservoir. Until I checked a map, I thought the spot was just a mucky area. Reservoir? Really? I think of it as my own personal stash of Tundra Swans. Here below is the view from the ensie bridge.

View of Reservoir over my spotting scope
facing the swans in the photo just below

Only through binoculars or scope can you see the birds

Tundra Swans; unseen in the foreground,
Greater Yellowlegs and Wilson's Snipe

My next stop is closer to the Kiefer Landfill. Today there were loads of livestock, I think Sheep to graze the grass, and goats to eat any shrubbery.

Sheepies and Goats

There was an airshow going on overhead; the odd Northern Harrier, and 2 different amorous pairs of Redtailed Hawks. One pair was being harassed (or maybe I'm wrong and they were doing the harassing) this Rough-legged Hawk.

Had to photoshop a bit to even see this Roughlegged
Hawk's underwing pattern - a bit of it anyway

After watching some Redtailed Hawks flying at each other with their legs fully extended, I went right on to Jackson Road, left to Dillard and left again onto Meiss Road. That's where last week Don and I viewed a Prairie Falcon and Ferruginous Hawk - no such luck this week on the Hawk front. Did notice that the year's first Frying Pan Poppies; last weekend they were non-existent.

a few Frying Pan Poppies

I looked for Grasshopper Sparrows and Burrowing Owls, but no such luck yet. Loads of Savahnah Sparrows.

Shot this Savannah by a Kiefer Road Pasture

At the end of Meiss Road, its right onto Ione Road, then right again onto Twin Cities Road. Loads of oaks & Lewis Woodpeckers, a host of raptors: Red tailed & shouldered, Ferruginous, Rough-leggedhawks Hawks, Northern Harriers, Prairie Falcons, Kestrels and Merlins. Driving on Twin Cities I took a right onto Desmond Road and found myself looking at a massive flock of wild Snow Geese. Crummy shot here, but the birds were quite a distance off. I spotted at least one nice blue phase goose, but no way I could accomplish a shot of it.

View of Snow Geese flock

I decided that at 4.17 a gallon of gas, I'd gone far enough for one day. I headed back, hitting a few odd spots along the way. For example, on Michigan Bar Road I managed the best photo to date I've managed of a beautiful Lark Sparrow. I recall they used to be so exotic to me, and now I see this species at least a few times a week.

An amiable Lark Sparrow

I haven't said much about Michigan Bar in the past but it is beautiful and full of great country birds. I only did a quick drive down to its bridge and back. As I came back over the bridge I spotted my first California Quail of 2012 - a cock and a hen out for a stroll.

Shot taken through my car's windshield

They both took off when they realized I was there. I followed the cock to his little hiding spot where he hunkered, quite certain the evil, fat human couldn't see him. Right!

You can't see me!

Hum... well maybe you can - I'm outta here!

I made a v. quick stop at Sailor Bar where for once, the Common Merganser hens were close enough to get reasonable pix of. Love the sharp demarcation between their rusty heads and their nun-gray bodies. Live to get a photo of Red-breasted Merganser hens like this.

Common Merganser Hens at Sailor Bar's dabbling duck spot

Earlier today I saw the Mute Swan - way far off - on Kiefer Road. I was tickled to see no less than 3 mute swans near a housing complex just off Sunrise Boulevard; exotic and oh-s0-pretty.

That's one elegant little swan

In the same pond were numerous American Widgeons, a ton of Coots and several nice floatillas of Ring-necked Ducks.

Lovely Ring-necked Ducks

Totally enjoyed my little Grand Tour. Loads of birds, and one mammal; a coyote that I'd spotted, not far from a dirt stretch of Kiefer Road. The coyote stared at me glumly, then trotted on.

Turned tail and headed off
Woman? You still staring at me?
In retrospect. That was one rude coyote.

Want something to stare at? I'll give
you something to stare at!

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