Friday, September 07, 2007

Birding along Lake Erie

July 21, 2007 - Michael Packer had a great idea and invited us along for the ride (well, actually, I drove. . .). We went birding up at some of the wetlands associated with Lake Erie with Bill Whan as a guide to teach us about the shorebirds. What an excellent choice for a mentor. We all learned a lot from Bill and it was a fantastic day in the field.

One of the neat things about this day of birding included looking through a variety of spotting scopes. Steve and I brought a Televue telescope for comparison. Michael brought a Pentax spotting scope and Bill had a Nikon, I think. We liked the Pentax model pretty well because you can use the Televue eyepieces with it. So, we bought ourselves a Pentax scope and have enjoyed using it on our birding trips (more about that later, after I catch up on photo processing and blog posting).

I can't remember all the places we visited, but we saw plenty of interesting birds in various habitats. One of the first stops was a nature reserve that had some forest habitat next to the wetlands.

Here's one of the views we had once we came out of the woods - a pond with more than a dozen great egrets and several great blue herons.

One of several indigo buntings seen or heard during the day.

Hey, this isn't a bird! However, it's a great sighting - a Lake Erie watersnake.

What a privilege to see this rare snake.

A solitary sandpiper living up to its name. It was the only bird working the mudflat of a drained pond.

Short-billed Dowitchers - we saw dozens of them.

Forster's Tern

Greater Yellowlegs

Pectoral Sandpiper

Your guess is as good as mine. This looked like an aquatic guinea pig to me. Anybody know what this is?

Mute Swan

Some dragonfly - I don't know my species as of yet.

Caspian Terns

Lots of shorebirds, but also an Avocet (cool!). It was really neat to watch the avocet feed. It sweeps its bill back and forth through the sediment as it's walking quickly through the water.

Eastern Kingbird. The tail feathers are looking pretty ragged.

Thanks, Bill and Michael, for a great day in the field!


The Quacks of Life said...

the bunting is attractive! the solitary sandpiper looks a lot like our Green Sandpiper.

snakes? shudder. is it poisonous?

Andi Wolfe said...

Hi Pete -

I love indigo buntings - they're one of the reasons I became interested in birding. We'll have to get over to your side of the pond to check out your green sandpipers someday.

The watersnake isn't poisonous (unlike the South African and Australian snakes I've seen and photographed for the blog) and, unfortunately, is endangered. It was truly a gift to be able to see one up close and personal.

Anonymous said...

Hi: Your solitary sandpiper is a Spotted Sandpiper in basic plumage.

Your unknown mammal looks like a muskrat.

Andi Wolfe said...

Thanks for the ID help. I'll have to recheck the sandpiper pics. That huge eye ring seems a bit out of place on a spotted, but the basic plumage seems to match.