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Monday, July 27, 2009

Banded Semipalmated Sandpiper!

Today I found a rarity. Not a rare species, but a rare banded individual shorebird, an adult Semipalmated Sandpiper at the Muskegon Wastewater Complex. The bird was hanging out with a large group of Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers, and other than its 2 yellow color bands on its left tibiotarsus and aluminum band on its right tibiotarsus, it did not stand out. Here are the best photos of the bird I could manage, given the late afternoon overcast skies and distance.
I anxiously await hearing of this bird's origin, and will report back once I learn it.

Other highlights from today's visit include the following:

-Melanistic Ruddy Duck (1): 1 with 217 normal Ruddy Ducks birds in the east lagoon viewed from the center dike. Presumably the same bird seen on and off for months now. Photo:
-Pectoral Sandpiper- 1 adult, south central infiltration basin. Photo:
-Semipalmated Sandpiper- 15 adults, mostly in south central infiltration basin
-Least Sandpiper- 15 adults, south central infiltration basin and aerator basins
-Lesser Yellowlegs- 15 adults, south central infiltration basin and aerator basins
-Semipalmated Plover- 3 adults, south central infiltration basin
- juvenile Horned Lark- 2 in westmost aerator. Strange plumage, often mistaken for Sprague's Pipit. Photo:

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Non-Avian Post

Over the July 4th weekend, with bird singing behavior beginning to subside and the resulting long hot afternoons, I spent quite a bit of time catching dragonflies at Pine Lake in the northern Manistee National Forest. I am a decided beginner when it comes to these creatures, but it is really fun to not know what I am holding and be forced to figure it out.

The clear highlight was my first ever Dragonhunter (long-awaited), which I had in th
e net within 1 second of spotting. What a beast!

The Prince Baskettail was quite common, most individuals appearing much less heavily marked than those in my books (someone please correct me if the ID is wrong).
As often seems to be the case with clubtails, I was unable to arrive at a confident ID with this one. It was dying (cause unknown), and was quite small (about the size of the body length bar for Least Clubtail in "Dragonflies of the North Woods"), but did not seem to match up with any of the species in that book. Does anyone know what this is?
Finally, on a kayaking trip near Cleveland OH (Cuyahoga River) the weekend prior I caught my first ever mosaic darner and was pleased to identify it as a Cyrano Darner. Its flight pattern was more obliging than most others I have seen. The book seen in the background is the fantastic Dragonflies and Damselflies of Northeast Ohio, a must have title for those in our region.