Sunday, October 18, 2009

Good morning

Today began as a perfect fall morning. Temperature was about 38 when I arrived at Montrose Point at 7:45.

I tallied 33 species including a first--black-bellied plover. There were two immatures on the beach, sifting through big piles of green seaweed. I had seen the species before, but only in breeding plumage in Eleuthera. The plovers are the biggest in North America, according to All About Birds. They're listed as "common" in the Peterson guide, but I'd describe them as "local" for the Great Lakes in fall.

I stayed as far away from them as I could, but one plover definitely was alert to my presence. It puffed up into a ball, dropped to the ground and glared at me. It was almost unsettling the way it kept its eyes on me. And it looked strangely like a hawk when it did this; maybe it's some kind of defense mechanism.

Other highlights were both kinglet species, part of a nice fall/winter flock of creepers, chickadees, nuthatches (including red-breasted--a nice find for the lakefront) and winter wren.

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