No major news to report form the past two days but the Spotted Towhee continues at the feeders, though it still being relatively shy. Also of interest to some is the recent influx of "Boreal" birds over the past couple days with large numbers of Snow Buntings and Evening Grosbeaks accompanied by smaller numbers of Bohemian Waxwing, Northern Shrike, Pine Grosbeak, White-winged Crossbill, and Common Redpoll among others. Also noted of late were Sharp-tailed Grouse, Northern Goshawk, Rough-legged Hawk, and Short-eared Owl along with the plethora of sparrows and other birds at the feeders which have included a Brewer's Blackbird and who knows what else might be lurking in woods just waiting to be discovered.
What a storm, winds in excess of 55 MPH (I heard that the peak wind speed at Whitefish Point was 63!! MPH) while I was out there and the power is still out at the point with Paradise (my current home) just getting theirs back this afternoon. The storm brought a couple big birds to the point, the best of which was a CAVE SWALLOW which made a couple passes of me on the point yesterday before hanging out around the buildings for the afternoon and evening when I was able to snap a couple pics for documentation purposes.
Other notable birds were as much for the date of arrival as for the species themselves with many of these species not having been recorded since mid-September or early October and in some cases the first week of September. They include
-Turkey Vulture (27th and 28th)
-Tree Swallow (2 on the 27th and 28th)
-Barn Swallow (27th)
-American Pipit (28th)
-Savannah Sparrows (28th)
-Yellow-rumped Warbler (27th)
-Snow Buntings- hundreds arrived off the lake throughout the day on the 27th and 28th
-An Icterid flock composed of 2 Red-winged Blackbirds, 2-3 Rusty Blackbirds, 12 Common Grackles, and 3 Brown-headed Cowbirds which joined the two European Starlings that have been present for awhile to make a pretty diverse blackbird flock for the point
-Common Redpoll- at least 15-20 arrived on the 27th with a number still around on the 28th
-Evening Grosbeak- a female on the 27th
There is also the continuing Brown Thrasher, SPOTTED TOWHEE, and Indigo Bunting among others as of the 28th.
The female Spotted Towhee was still present this afternoon about 4 at the feeders. I guess it remains to be seen how long this bird will stick around, especially with the weather that's on the horizon.
A female Spotted Towhee was found this afternoon by Ken Mettie Jr. at the feeders behind the WPBO gift shop and was still there in the early evening feeding among the other sparrows in the rain. The is an overdue first record for Whitefish Point and only the 7th for Michigan.
The Common Ground-Dove however was not located today despite many searching eyes so it seems we have traded one vagrant bird for another. Also present at the feeders were a Brown Thrasher, Indigo Bunting, and a good selection of sparrows including Fox and Swamp.
The Common Ground-Dove continues today through at least 3 p.m. and with the current weather (35 degrees and snowing as of 5 p.m.) it is unlikely that it is going anywhere soon. Also present at the feeders today were the continuing Brown Thrasher and Indigo Bunting but there were very few other birds present on the point today.
The dove was seen up until 7 or so and was starting to go to roost at that time in the alders behind the gift shop which means it should be here tomorrow morning as long as the weather doesn't get 'em.
Other birds present today included a White-breasted Nuthatch, a Hermit Thrush, a continuing Brown Thrasher, a Yellow-rumped Warbler, a female-type Indigo Bunting, 3 House Sparrows (fairly rare at the point if not all that interesting as a rule), and an increase in Pine Siskin and Snow Bunting numbers with 150+ and 20+ respectively.
The only other notable bird seen in recent days but not today was a Winter Wren on the 18th.
This little beauty was found near the gift shop by Hank Veldman around 11:30 this morning. It eventually settled in nicely around the lawn and feeders adjacent to the gift shop for the latter half of the afternoon and was still there as of 5 p.m. or so. As is typical with this species he stays on (or very close to) the ground at all times and flies it short bursts, heading for cover when he gets spooked. They typically feed in short grass and/or sandy soils which makes the area around the gift shop and the banding trail ideal conditions for this species, at least as ideal as a bird which is normally found no closer than southern Alabama could find in the UP.