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Dr. BOB Birding notes

May 26, 2011

We never know what we will get at Holland Ponds (Shelby Twp., Macomb County). Today it was the fishing Green Heron (my FOY) that really caught our attention. Lots of pics! (… later …)

I also saw a Chestnut-sided Warbler – my first there and for my Macomb County list, and I think for my Michigan lists. Yes, Allen – I was using binocs; I could never have even seen it – or especially shot it – with my “old way” of “camera first”.  After having great views at Magee Marsh (even a pic or two) this year, I know it well. It is truly a memorable bird! I think it is maybe my favorite warbler!

Whee! FOY Green Heron and fantastic warbler! Great day!

Notes: We met a photographer who kept ducking into the newly cleared “holes” in the Phragmites along the main park road (thanks Dan Farmer and Shadbush for clearing holes???) Now if we could only get rid of the rest of the Phragmites…! After sharing tales and minor bonding, the photographer shared some pics he took two days ago. He had shot a Horned Grebe (crest up and gorgeous!) and 12 little “greblings” – fantastic pics! Neither he nor we relocated them. But the “kids” were obviously young – maybe a first swim? How long does it take for them to fly? I suspect they want to be hidden until they are able to fend for themselves. WOW!

We met another guy – just walking, no optics – who told tales of sighting a Bald Eagle over Pontiac recently. He said he had been told there was a pair nesting on the buildings in downtown Pontiac. He also said that a Bobcat had been sighted at Holland Ponds. (Shush! Do not pass along … believe what you will…) I am not sure what else he might have told us – I went back to shooting the Green Heron.

We also met our friend John who had spent much of the day photographing a Green Frog. He had great pics of all stages of throat-swelling during the process to make the recognizable “boing” sound. So cool – this guy is patient!

The Red – Winged Blackbird nest that Judy so admired (and actually the reason we had to go today to check progress) just off the dock on Waterfowl Pond (I reported this before) had been brought down by the recent storms and lay in the pond below. Now it was just a soggy bunch of tangled weeds. Judy asked if she (the RWBB momma) would be sad.

I offered that birds work more on instincts than feelings. If eggs are there, sit on them. If you have no eggs, make some. Try again. Yes, it was sad. We had been so hopeful to watch the entire nesting, hatching, feeding, etc. so close to view.

The lightly-anchored nest was obviously vulnerable to the recent strong winds and rain. It was lucky for us to observe it then, there. It was the first time we actually saw one – especially with eggs! Normally they are deeper in the Phragmites along the shore and hidden from view. We just hear the sounds.  From my earlier PBase pic y’all could see it was not such a firm foundation. Sad. That’s life- and it goes on…  We had the blessing to see it as potential.

 Anyway, three points:

1)      Warblers are around still – remember that a few days ago I had a Blackpoll at Holland Ponds as well.

2)      If you visit Holland Ponds soon, be especially aware of the small ponds in the Phragmites to the north of the “main road” for the Horned Grebe and “greblings”. Please give me a shout if you see them!

3)      It is probably a good time to get Green Herons there. Look for something that looks like a branch on a log in the water. Unless they move, you might miss them. Some fish do miss heron recognition!

And, sure – for granted – check out the nesting Great Blue Herons! What fun! Where else can you see so many!

“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!

Stop in at Dr. Bob’s Blog at:  Dr. Bobs Bird Blog

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