Saturday, June 13, 2015

Lake St. Clair in Spring: Wood Duck, Virginia Rail and Yellow Warbler

[Lake St. Clair Metropark. May 2015]

The real estate adage of "location, location, location!" may, with some creative license, freely be adapted to "habitat, habitat, habitat!" within the context of the birding world. For, diversity in habitat implies, inevitably, a corresponding diversity in species as well. And, it is precisely this trait that makes Lake St. Clair Metropark a magnet for birders and birds alike.

A mix of water bodies, woodland, marshes and lakeshore mudflats means that, in season, waterfowl, songbirds, marsh birds and shorebirds may all be found at this renowned hotspot. Accordingly, this post will briefly profile:
  • Virginia Rail
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Swamp Sparrow
  • Marsh Wren
  • Belted Kingfisher
  • Wood Duck
  • Yellow Warbler
  • Indigo Bunting
  • Baltimore Oriole
We start with the rallid -- Virginia Rail can be reliably found at the Metropark. In particular, the ponds found by exiting the first foot bridge (connecting the meadow loop) usually hold a pair or two.



The Virginia Rail is a cryptic marsh bird that is found, in Summer, across the Northern US in a wide swath from East to West. It is migratory in habit and wisely moves to warmer climes in Winter.

While this rail is a small bird, in contrast, the massive Great Blue Heron outsizes it by a couple of orders of magnitude -- here seen in majestic flight over the marsh



The reed beds of the marsh support blackbirds, wrens and sparrows. First, we present a scene that becomes ubiquitous in Spring: Red-winged Blackbirds:




Sharing prized perching points with the blackbirds are Swamp Sparrows:

.. as well as Marsh Wren -- now suddenly appearing impossibly numerous having only recently been entirely absent:


The trill of the wrens is interrupted by the call of a Belted Kingfisher which pierces the air with its machine gun like rattle:

As the Kingfisher flies over the ponds hunting for fish, a Wood Duck drake quietly escorts his mate toward hidden channels for a secret rendezvous with romance on his mind:


Farther afield, in the woodlands, Yellow Warbler is a common breeding species and their songs are heard at every short interval:




Joining the warbler as a breeder is another nester -- the Baltimore Oriole:



Unlike the Oriole, the Indigo Bunting seen here is merely passing through:



The ecological devastation that has historically, and grotesquely, scarred our land seems a distant memory when, in restored or unspoilt habitats, the true wealth of our natural inheritance shines in full and glorious effulgence through wildlife.

1 comment:

  1. May the habitat be forever favorable to the wildlife and aficionados of it, Hemant. An interesting collection of species for one "park" indeed.

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