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The HERONS are Back!

March 7, 2010

I just want to share a great day today! (A “ramble” if you permit me…)

It’s melting! The sun shone all day, and it hit 49 degrees! What more could you ask for in early March?

The day started great when I saw 10 deer in the back while having coffee. This is the most I have seen all winter – fewer than previous winters. I like them now – no garden to eat. Most interesting was the fact that one was a lovely 8-point buck! He was horned but did not overly seem interested in the other deer. Yes, I “shot” him! Good pics! Lovely indeed! I thought they dropped their antlers earlier. Is this late, or is it normal? Now we just have to go looking for “sheds” soon – we have never found any. Silly deer probably drop them on the other side of the river.

On the other side of the interest scale, I thought I just might (camera-ready!) get my second photo of briefly-loving mourning doves (it is so quick!). I have been hearing their cooing for over a week. On our deck the larger one was certainly interested and followed the smaller one around for quite awhile, but then they both decided that food was still more important. Oh well – maybe soon!

Judy and I wanted to enjoy the weather and – having heard from Ed Lewandowski that he had spotted some herons recently at Chrysler – we went to Holland Ponds (Oakland/Macomb county border) to see if the Great Blue Herons had arrived yet. Yes! They were there in the treetops! As we were arriving from Ryan Rd about 3 pm, we saw one on a nest. We walked the long way around the park, and by the time we got to the rookery, there were six on nests (one nest with a pair) about 3:45 pm. As we were leaving at 4:00 pm, we counted two more. Cool! Our friends are back! Last year was the first time we saw nesting herons – thanks to Jan Olesen’s post on March 13. Jan’s post was really the start for us to not only visit Holland Ponds frequently thereafter, but also to start visiting other places pointed out by the birder’s list. Darn! This birding stuff is addicting!

If you visit, be sure to wear your 4WD boots – it is muddy, slushy, and if you go in the morning, probably very icy on the trails.

We met a Shadbush Nature Center person in the park, and she said the first heron had arrived on Feb 12. Now just why would a wading bird leave Florida (or wherever) to come to Michigan in Feb? – A true “snowbird”?

I started thinking – I still need to plot a course on a map to see if the heron I observed on six separate occasions at the same location (Middle Bend) over our condo property starting in mid-January between 1:30 and 2:00 pm would lead it to Holland Ponds -Maybe a really fanatic “snowbird” living at Holland Ponds? Or maybe he was the last kid to fledge, and had no one left to show him the map south? Or where was he going? Fascinating!

Not too many other birds seen. There were two pairs of Mallards in the completely open pond, 5 crows, and we heard a chickadee and cardinal. Else it was pretty quiet. It was really wonderful to get out!

To top off a great day, I found my wedding ring! I had lost it about a month ago while shoveling a new deep snow, and found it near the feeders where I had been clearing a path through the snow. I do not know why, but this is the third winter when I have lost it. I think my ring finger shrinks in the winter – it would never happen in the summer! Judy and I figured we would start a big time search in the spring after the melt, but today when I was filling the feeders, some of the piled snow was gone and there it was! Moral – good things happen to those who appreciate and feed winter birds – or maybe just give to others – or maybe just believe! Give and you shall receive!

Keep positive, enjoy each day, and enjoy our spring as long as it will exist now and whenever it happens to last! Get outdoors!

And, please keep telling me where to go! Like I said, this darn birding thing is addictive!

“Dr. Bob” Setzer

Streamwood Estates, Rochester Hills (Crooks & Hamlin), Oakland County

“Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day.” Teaching a man to “bird” is much harder!

Blog: http://drbobsbirdblog.blogspot.com/

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