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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Long time no post

And not for lack of good birds- just for lack of time! I will not go into a ton of detail with this post, but just provide some bullet points for what has happened in Kent Co. the past 10 days or so.

First, a tight group of 16 young Bonaparte's Gulls with 3 Common Terns mixed in, which were present on Reed's Lake briefly this morning. All of the Bonaparte's are last year's young, which is not surprising given this very late date. After the flock flies behind the trees in the video, I never refound them. Trying to find terns in this county is very difficult b/c the few birds that make it rarely stick around for more than 15 minutes. This was my second observation of Common Tern in the county after getting my county lifer last week at the same location.

Next up are a group of Brewer's Blackbirds at a NEW location: some black earth celery fields in NW Kent Co., which I bumped into yesterday evening:

Next a brief diversion from Kent, a very-difficult-to-chase California Gull found by Tim Baerwald at Tiscornia Park. I was very lucky to arrive shortly before it left and was not seen for the rest of the day:

Next, one of my neatest Kent Co. listing experiences was had several days ago when I pulled up to one of the county's best fluddles (=flooded field X puddle, coined by Sean Fitzgerald), at 13 Mile and Berrigan Rds NE of Rockford. As I pulled up this is what I saw in terms of habitat (the best in memory):Note the bird flying over the mudflat (more in a second). There were LEYE, SOSA, and 3 Least Sandpipers working the mud's edge, literally the first arctic shorebirds I have had here all year! As i was watching these birds I heard the local Starling imitate a Black-bellied Plover perfectly. Then I heard another Black-bellied Plover whistle, but coming from overhead, not in the tree the starling was sitting in! Indeed, it was the real deal, but he wasn't stopping- the bird was beelining NE very high up, probably 400-500 m. So, I rushed back to the car, fired up the iPod and wildlife caller, and blasted the recording of Black-bellied Plover. To my astonishment, the bird, which was nearly 1 mile away, did a quick 180 and buzzed my head, briefly landing on the mudflat, then settling in across the street in a dry ag field. This is a GREAT bird for Kent Co. given our paucity of habitat, and several were able to chase it.

And two final loose ends. I have been chipping away at the less common breeding species in between targeted chases of the rarer life county birds such as Black Tern and Yellow-breasted Chat, and this also included the following two local breeders: Prothonotary Warbler (at the only Kent breeding location: the Grand River near Millenium Park):

and this cooperative Hooded Warbler (near Cannonsburg SGA) which I learned of through Jill Henemeyer via her recent eBird post):

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