Saturday, May 14, the second Saturday of the month, dawned cold and wet. There were freezing conditions forecast, with gale force winds, and it was nearly so at 5 a.m. when my husband, Scott, and I set out from home to begin our Spring Migration count in Lodi Township. All over the county, birders were up early - obscenely early - to count birds. 91 birders, to be exact, 20 more than last year. All pitched in for a massive volunteer effort to count all the birds, all the species in our county.
We are looking for volunteers for our first ever Ann Arbor citywide Chimney Swift count, August 12-14, 2016. Watching Chimney Swifts enter their roosts at dusk is a spectacular sight. Volunteers will choose a known Chimney Swift roosting location and stake it out before dusk, counting the swifts as they enter the chimney, as darkness falls. You can sign up for one night/one location at a time, or count each night of the weekend. Chimney Swifts are in steep decline across North America, so let's help find out how they are doing in our city. Bring your friends along, to show them how these very cool aerial insectivores share our city with us. NOTE: Occasionally the swifts will not use a particular location on a given night due to a predator such as a Cooper's Hawk, or another issue. In that case, "no swifts" will still be good information for us! Email Juliet Berger with your results after the survey, and post it on eBird if you have an account.
Our hardy group of nine Washtenaw Audubon birders braved a 25-degree windchill and heavy-at-times snow showers in search of spring migrants in the Arb. We lingered for a long time where ground litter obscured a Fox sparrow and Winter wren. Suddenly the Fox sparrow perched in the open where everyone had long and close looks; a Hermit thrush perched even closer displaying his profile and straight on. We met Andrew Pawluk at the boardwalk who put us onto a Winter wren.
The Geddes Road construction makes the drive to the Arb difficult. Here are suggestions coming from the north, south and west. Geddes Road between Huron Parkway and the new Geddes Ridge Road is totally closed -- no one lives there so the construction crew has made that area a hub for materials and equipment.
Six teams consisting of 24 people total participated in Washtenaw Audubon Society’s annual birding challenge where teams bird any one road of their choice within Washtenaw County. While the snowfall tried to keep people indoors, birders gotta bird.
In my announcement article from early November I speculated about the possible impact the weather in general, and el Niño in particular, might have on our count. Well, as I’m looking over the results from our efforts on December 19, I can only imagine that the mild conditions that dominated southern Michigan during the fall months and into December resulted in a decidedly interesting outcome.
On Saturday, February 20, 2016, a small group of Washtenaw Audubon members (and friends) took advantage of the extremely pleasant weather to visit Kensington Metropark to see what birds might be about. First stop was the Heron Rookery where a lone Great Horned Owl hunkered down on a nest.
On Saturday (January 16, 2016), 16 intrepid birders attempted to see what sorts of wintering birds could be found. We started by cruising the country roads of the eastern part of Washtenaw County, specifically Vreeland and Gotfredson Roads. We enjoyed a couple of cooperative Kestrels and a nice flock of Horned Larks in the snowy fields, but were unable to locate the previously seen Snow Buntings.
Well, folks, it’s November. The first week of the month did a good job keeping us under the impression that summer might just last a wee bit longer, but this most recent front’s passing has provided for a bit of a reality check. Daytime highs in the 50s, rain and wind, and, wouldn’t you know it: juncos are here to stay us.
“July is hot. And humid. And July can also be downright buggy. So perhaps it is understandable why July is the month with fewer people participating in eBird than any other month. There are also fewer checklists submitted on an average day in July than any other day of the year. But July provides fascinating birding—perhaps some of the most interesting birding of the year.” Excerpt taken from July 4, 2014 eBird Challenge blog