Central Lake, MI - 13 Apr 2007

13 April 2007
Up north

1500 Hrs. Robin and I are driving up north for a quick getaway. Weather is supposed to be cold and wet this weekend downstate, and possibly sunny up north. It is sunny and mild right now, so it’s a good evening for a drive. North of Lansing we see a pair of Sandhill Cranes flying overhead. Out at Maple River SGA another Sandhill Crane is seen flying overhead. Still several inches of snow are on the ground, but the roads were clear, and most of it will be gone in a week or so.

14 April 2007
Central Lake, Antrim Co.

0830 Hrs. Its sunny this morning, and cool, 21ºF. No wind. I start out at Intermediate Lake and find a pair of Bufflehead courting in the calm water below the bridge. I Digiscope a few pics before a pair of Canada Geese fly in and stir up the water. A quick drive over to Hanley Lake produce a pair of Lesser Scaup, several more Bufflehead, a pair of Mute Swan, and Hooded Mergansers. I then drive up Co-65 toward Fisherman’s Island State Park. On the way a tom Turkey is displaying on the side of the road to passing cars. I stop and get a couple of pics before he moves off the road. At the Charlevoix A/P an Eastern Meadowlark flies across the front of the car and starts singing in the grass a ways off. Otherwise, it is quiet. American Robins are back and can be seen most everywhere there is bare grass. As I pull off the road toward FISP I spot four Turkeys on the side of the road and get a couple of pics before they run into the woods. At FISP the lake is open and calm. Scanning from the entrance to the park I see several small rafts of Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Common Goldeneye, and Bufflehead. There’s a bit of ice and snow still on the road into the park, and lots of snow still in the woods. I get out and walk the beach toward the island, and find lots of ice/snow still along the shoreline. But its mild, and no wind, so its quite pleasant. I digiscope a Red-winged Blackbird displaying about 50 yds away using the Nikon D70, Sigma 400mm f/5.6 and 1.4TC as a reference. A pair of Ring-billed Gulls from about 100 yds are also digiscoped at all magnifications for comparison w/ the Nikon /Sigma w/ and w/o the TC. Out on the island the main birds are Song Sparrows and Common Grackles. A few Golden-crowned Kinglets can be seen working the cedars. A handful of Goldeneye and Bufflehead are off in the distance. Otherwise, kinda quiet. On the way back to the condo I spot a single Pileated Woodpecker fly overhead. Another Pileated is seen later in the afternoon just across the street from the condo, but it flies off toward Hanley Lake before I can get anywhere near it.

15 April 2007
Mt. Pleasant, MI

1100 Hrs. Driving home down US-127 I spot (6) Sandhill Cranes over the Houghton Dead Swamp Area. At mile marker 164, just north of Mt. Pleasant I an immature Rough-legged Hawk is perched in a tree next to the road and scoping out the ditches.

A few more pics can be seen at http://www.pbase.com/jourdaj/central_lake_0407


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