An intrepid group of LWAS birders made their way around Presque Isle Sunday morning, enjoying April’s first “warm” day and Laughing Whitefish Audubon’s first bird outing of 2022. Yes, it was above freezing, and the sun was shining. But what made the outing a success was the people and good birds.
During the first hour, we focused on the bog walk. Before we found a single Grackle or Black-capped Chickadee, we had a Coopers Hawk cruise across the middle of the bog in the bright morning sunlight. Gliding along, showing a long tail and slow wingbeats, the Coopers Hawk cruised toward the back of Moosewood Nature Center. It would not be the only awesome raptor of the day.
We watched and listened to Common Grackle, Red-winged Blackbird, and Crows. In the distance, we heard our only Northern Cardinal of the day. Moving toward the back of the bog, a familiar sound was heard coming from the Alder thickets, a Song Sparrow just back from its winter vacation.
A Red-bellied Woodpecker gave us a rare treat, an excellent look at its often hidden red belly. It was uncharacteristically perched on a small branch at the top of an oak tree, next to an American Goldfinch. People and birds were both grateful for a sunny morning.
Over at the Moosewood Nature Center feeding stations, numerous Common Redpolls were filling up for their trip north. Everyone shared their Redpoll stories from the past winter season. When it seemed nuthatches were taking the day off, a Red-breasted Nuthatch quietly announced its presence but hid from view.
Next, we headed toward the lake, flat dry walking, and warm sunshine. The marina and ore dock waters still had a thin layer of ice, so we moved to the other side of the breakwall. Some waterfowl were spotted too far away for positive identification, so we moved up and along the cliff’s edge to get better views. Then, a loud, slow “rehk rehk rehk rehk” call had heads turning upward for a great view of a Peregrine Falcon as it landed on an overhanging tree limb high on the cliff. And then, it gets better; a kayaker on the water far down below pointed up to a tree behind us. Make that TWO Peregrine Falcons!
We enjoyed beautiful views of two sunlit Peregrine Falcons, then moved on to get that better view of the waterfowl. But, before we got very far, action in the trees distracted us again. A pair each of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Downy Woodpeckers, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers were going about foraging and perhaps nest-finding. Now, those waterfowl. From the viewing platform, we could quickly make suitable identification of Common Mergansers. They ultimately flew off toward the mainland. They knew what was coming? Nature never disappoints the patient. One of the Peregrine Falcons came screaming down from the cliff in an attempt to take a Mallard. It was a failed attempt but very exciting to watch if you did not blink and miss it. When the five Mallards flew up, we realized two of them were American Black Ducks.
An excellent way to end our walk.
We did not do a group tally at the end, but I posted a list to eBird, a respectable 27 species for the 10th of April in the UP. eBird list
Stay tuned to LWAS Facebook and our website for more planned outings and field trips.