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Monday, May 21, 2012

Kirtlands Warbler @ Mio; Brown Thrasher @ Tawas

May -- and when the occasion for an Oakland Audubon Society field trip to Mio and Tawas arose, I jumped on it. The itinerary included the Mio Ranger District  (this is the place to see our rarest warbler -- the Kirtland's), the surrounding areas, and Tawas Point State Park.

If you've read the excellent Kirtland's Warbler book by William Rapai, you will be familiar with the remarkable comeback story of this signature warbler of Michigan.

[photo taken of a female in migration, Magee Marsh]

[singing male kirtland's at Mio]

Like Pandas, Kirtland's are fussy breeders -- they need young jack pine habitat -- and lots of it -- to breed. Clearing of woodland and prevention of naturally occurring forest fires were both detrimental to their breeding success and populations were near extinction at 500 birds in the mid 1900's.

There are some other specialty birds in the nearby area as well -- Upland Sandpiper and brewer blackbirds.

Brewer's males and females have different colored eyes with the male resemble a grackle. The Upland sandpiper was seen in the fields looking quite curlew-like.

Onward to Tawas Point -- a migrant trap that definitely deserves a visit in May. Getting a clear shot of a brown thrasher was definitely a highlight but there many warblers, vireos and tanagers as well.

Overall, a very productive field trip with the Kirtland's being the star.

1 comment:

Bob Pelkey said...

There are so many books I want to read when possible, Hemant.