Whimbrel Migration Underway - 23 May 2023
The first reports of Whimbrel sightings surfaced yesterday, so I grabbed the bike and headed to Pt. Mouillee SGA to look for birds. It would be my first outing since a week and half ago. Shorebirds had been reported in Cell 1, including Red-necked Phalaropes, so I parked at Roberts Road and biked out along the South Causeway to Cell 1.
Cell 1 has been largely cleared, and large ponds could be seen from the west side. The first pond held several dozen Dunlin and Semipalmated Sandpipers, but no visible phalaropes. As I arrived they took off in flight and made several circles around the pond before settling down several minutes later.
Once they had settled down a scope view failed to turn up any oddities, so I continued along the Banana northward to Cell 2, which consisted mainly of flooded cornfields, but no visible shorebirds. At the junction of Cells 2 and 3 visible signs of construction were apparent, so I looped east along the path separating the two cells and headed north along the east side of Cell 3. There, the beach was empty of birds while Cell 3 itself was a massive expanse of fresh-plowed dirt and new mounds and internal dikes; it will be interesting to see what it turns into.
The south end of Cell 4 was quiet. A few gulls hung out on the barge along the east shoreline with a juvenile Greater Black-backed Gull among them. A pair of Redhead swam along the west side of the barge, and a late-season Horned Grebe was a nice find; the poor guy looked bedraggled despite sporting fresh alternate plumage.
As I approached the Middle Causeway a couple of American White Pelicans floated by on the mild breeze.
Once I reached the North Causeway I turned eastward and headed back toward the Banana Unit. Though backlit by the morning Sun I could see a flock of shorebirds occupying a small spit of mud just opposite the canoe rails heading into the middle of the Vermet Unit. From their size I knew immediately that I had just found some Whimbrel! The icing came in the form of a flock of Ruddy Turnstones that flew in just as I was arriving to join the Whimbrels and more turnstones. They approached, circled once to the west, and returned to roost among the other shorebirds.
I took a few minutes to scope the crowd in case they decided to flush upon approach. I was able to count 12 Whimbrel and 42 Ruddy Turnstones along with 8 Dunlin and a pair of Sanderlings.
I headed back to the car and got myself home in time for lunch.
Pte. Mouillee SGA, Monroe, Michigan, US
May 23, 2023 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Checklist Comments: Calm, overcast, 70F
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 4
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) 12
Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors) 4
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) 1
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 200 Long Pond and Bloody Run Units
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) 1
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) 6
Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus) 1
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 2
Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata) 1
American Coot (Fulica americana) 6
Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis) 2
Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) 1
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) 26
Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) 42 On a small mudspit along North Causeway opposite Vermet. Flew in as a flock and roosted among 12 Whimbrel and 8 Dunlin. Exact count.
Dunlin (Calidris alpina) 220
Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla) 4
White-rumped Sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis) 1
Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla) 16
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius) 2
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) 1
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) 6
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 2
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) 1
Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia) 6
Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri) 6
Double-crested Cormorant (Nannopterum auritum) 1
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) 36
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 2
Great Egret (Ardea alba) 2
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) 2
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) 2
Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus) 2
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) 6
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 6
Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris) 1
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) 2
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) 2
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) 36
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) 2
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia) 12
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) 2
View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/checklist/S1
This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (https://ebird.org/home)