Willet - 08 Jul 2024

I parked at Roberts Road this morning and rode the bike out to Cell 3 to join (?) Patricia and Moxie to look for shorebirds. At 8:15 am skies were partly cloudy but warm, breezy and humid. Temps were 75F. 

As I rode the path between Cells 1 and 2 I heard the song of a Marsh Wren and saw it atop some phragmites about 30' to my right. I was able to get some pics w/ the Sony 600/4 but the bird flew off before I could get the scope set up.

As I reached the Lake Erie shoreline and headed north along the east side of Cell 2 I caught up with Moxie and Patricia, who were on foot. We'd scan the shoreline and see several Spotted Sandpipers along w/ several Lesser Scaup swimming out from shore.

We finally reached Cell 3 and looked for an opening in the Giant Parsley and phragmites that choked the east side of Cell 3. A shallow ditch made for an entry point and we pushed our way through the vegetation for several yards before coming out next to a shallow pond along the Cell 3 shoreline. Several Lesser Yellowlegs and Least Sandpipers were foraging in front of us. 

Geoff Malosh was scoping the Cell from the dried mudflats on the opposite side from where we were standing. Walking a bit north we found footing on dried mudflat and headed in his direction. Geoff reported that the Willet reported a couple days ago was still present, and we were able to spot the Black-necked Stilt in the SE corner of the Cell.

Pat, Moxie and I headed to the NW corner of Cell 3 where we found the Willet and a dozen Short-billed Dowitchers, several Lesser Yellowlegs, several Least Sandpipers and Killdeer. Along the way Patricia found a Killdeer nest w/ 4 eggs.

We spent some time photographing the dowitchers in the NW corner while waiting for the Willet to come into view. I plopped myself on my stomach and tried getting ground level photos of the yellowlegs and dowitchers from about 50' away. I would learn that ground level photography today was worthless as moisture and heat currents rendered all images distorted (much like photographing from the car during winter).

We then spent some time photographing the Black Terns that were flying back and forth w/ fresh-caught minnows. 

After some time the Willet appeared in front of us and we were able to get images from as little as 30' away. When I stood up and photographed above ground images were tack sharp and without any heat/moisture distortion.

But, when I tried the ground-level photography the images were again blurred and distorted.

At one point it flushed and flew past us before returning to its original location. Having exhausted our memory cards we headed out toward the north end of Cell 3 and walked back to the cars at Roberts Road.

Pte. Mouillee SGA (permit required Sep 1-Dec 15), Monroe, Michigan, US
Jul 8, 2024 8:00 AM - 10:30 AM
Protocol: Traveling
5.2 mile(s)
Checklist Comments:     Ptly cloudy, warm, 75F, Humid. SW wind at 5-10mph. Pat and Moxie. Parked at Roberts Rd. and rode to Cell 3 and back.
48 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  32
Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors)  2
Gadwall (Mareca strepera)  2
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  6
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)  1
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)  6
Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata)  1
American Coot (Fulica americana)  16
Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis)  3
Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus)  1     Cell 3. Continuing in SE corner in shallow water.
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)  18
Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus)  46
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius)  6
Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes)  17
Willet (Tringa semipalmata)  1
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca)  2
Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla)  22
Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla)  1
Bonaparte's Gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia)  1
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  6
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)  8
Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia)  12
Black Tern (Chlidonias niger)  10
Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri)  58
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)  7
Great Egret (Ardea alba)  4
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  2
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  2
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)  3
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  1
Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii)  1
Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia)  2
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  2
Purple Martin (Progne subis)  2
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  2
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)  1
Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris)  2
Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)  1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  38
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  2
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  2
Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)  1
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)  1
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  16
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)  1
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)  2
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  2
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)  1

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/checklist/S186078741

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (https://ebird.org/home)