Saturday, October 10, 2020

Pandemic Pandemonium: Spring at Lake St. Clair

[Michigan. Spring, 2020]

2020. The year of the pandemic. A year that will live in infamy with the corona virus having ravaged every people on the planet with devastating effect. The loss of lives, livelihoods and unprecedented disruption shall indelibly mark humankind's collective trauma for years to come. 

In comparison therefore, the loss of access to a favorite Spring migration venue -- Magee Marsh -- must seem trivial in comparison. Yet, Spring _is_ Christmas for birders; a season that gifts nature's feathered bounty on the yearning, birding faithful. In benign consequence, the closure of Magee Marsh pushed this blogger to avail intensely of other birding opportunities in pursuit of avian gold. And, in North America, avian gold is measured in warblers -- the delightful and desirable assortment of neotropical species belonging to the parulidae.

We shall highlight the season's sightings in roughly chronological order with a focus on Lake St. Clair and its environs in Macomb County, Michigan. April and early May bring the first migrants: Myrtle, Yellow, Common Yellowthroat and Palm Warblers:



Compared to the yellow highlights on white, grey and black, the Yellow Warbler is positively striking:






The maroon streaking on yellow is a diagnostic marker for the male Yellow Warbler:



Let not "Common" in Common Yellowthroat lead to lowered expectations on aesthetics, for this warbler is very pleasing on the eyes:




Palm Warblers were generally observed low or on the ground:








Next, arrive Black-and-white, Black-throated Green and Blue, Magnolia, Cape May and Blackburnian. Starting with the Magnolia:



Cape May Warbler was seen at Sterling Heights Nature Center:



Black-throated Blue showed particularly well:







Black-throated Green:



Magnolia again:



The nuthatch-like Black-and-white:



A Blackburnian which showed poorly this season:


And, we close with American Redstart, Chestnut-sided, Tennessee, Northern Parula, Blue-winged and Bay-breasted:

Starting with Tennessee:






Chestnut-sided:


Blue-winged:






Northern Parula:






American Redstart:



Bay-breasted:



Another Chestnut-sided:


And another Bay-breasted seen at Sterling Heights: 



It is said that in life, when one door closes another one opens. And the lesson for the intrepid birder from the Spring closure of Magee is that there are other hotspots to explore and discover. Indeed, Lake St. Clair and Sterling Heights Nature Center proved to be fruitfully birdy in the dreadful year of the pandemic.

2 comments:

Bob Pelkey said...

I am certainly envious of all your parks and wildlife venues that offer you such stunning opportunities, Hemant. You must have been disappointed to have not had the opportunity to visit Magee Marsh even considering the circumstances. Much thanks for your exploration which has provided much enjoyment.

Digital Plume Hunter said...

It was indeed a devastating loss Bob as it is the highlight of my birding calendar. On the flip side, Magee did open for the Fall and I made a couple of trips to catch some warblers in basic plumage. Thanks for your kind comments.