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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Another county tick

Not sure why birding is this way, but like shooting a basketball or playing a slot machine, the hits often come in bursts. (Is this not the true definition of mathematical chaos?). But after a several month drought of new county birds from May through October, I have now hit upon my 2nd county tick in 10 days. This time, I was out checking the ag fields of far NE Kent Co. for American Golden-Plover habitat, when I came upon a field freshly covered in manure and containing 6-10 inch high corn stubble. This field was absolutely awash in the standard open country species such as American Pipit, Killdeer, and Horned Lark. Mixed in were smaller #s of Snow Bunting and Lapland Longspur, and it really felt like an overall good spot for American Golden-Plover. But amongst the 20 or so Canada Geese were 5 swans. Now, swans in a muddy ag field are, in my experience, guaranteed to be Tundra Swans. And we have just now begun to enter the migration period for this species in Kent Co. So I assumed the birds would be so. But upon my first glances I noticed they were in fact a family group of Trumpeter Swans (!), 2 adults and 3 juveniles. This is the first observation of this species away from water and perched on the ground that I have ever made. Realizing the strangeness of the sighting I took extra steps to photograph and videotape the birds, and here they are:



5 comments:

VKop said...

Good find, Caleb! As an interesting side note, I saw the same situation (family group in an agricultural field) a couple of years ago down by the Battle Creek area.

VKop said...

By the way, what's your county total up to now?
Jon Vande Kopple

Zachary DeBruine said...

This is cool! Nice find...

Silly Putty said...

237 I believe, Jonathan. See

http://ebird.org/ebird/top100?locInfo.regionType=subnational2&year=AAAA&locInfo.regionCode=US-MI-081

Interesting you've seen them in ag fields before...

Silly Putty said...

Jon- check that, I am now at 241 with Snowy Owl, Goshawk, and Lesser Black-backed Gull, despite what eBird says. It's b/c eBird doesn't tally my Night-Heron sp. Trumpeter Swan was 238, not 237.