Thursday, March 24, 2016

Photo Journal 2016: February

February came and went quickly, even though it was a Leap Year. :) Much like January, there were a few snows but nothing lasting, and temperatures stayed relatively mild compared to last year's harsh Michigan winter. At the beginning of the month, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow. The famed groundhog's prediction of spring seemed to be consistent with the early arrival of some migrant bird species. Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, Turkey Vultures, and Killdeer all made appearances on or ahead of schedule.

February, Spot 1:

Spot 1: February 2016, Weeks 5-8

February, Spot 2

Spot 2: February 2016, Weeks 5-8

Probably my favorite picture of Spot 2 to-date is from Week 6 (above: 2nd from left) because there is a trail of tiny paw prints running along the right edge of the snow-covered pond.

February, Spot 3

Spot 3: February 2016, Weeks 5-8

Other February happenings:

Life birds

This month brought one life bird, the Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata), who was found just a few miles from my house swimming contentedly with a mix of other ducks. I got really lucky because this is usually a duck that does not come close to shore. I do not own a scope but my camera, binoculars, and even my naked eye were sufficient to spot this close-to-shore beauty.

From top to bottom: Surf Scoter, Ruddy Duck, Redhead Duck

 Memorable FOYs (first of the year sightings):
Rough-legged Hawk (light morph)
The Rough-legged Hawk found in a field off 28 and Teller Road was a spectacle to see. I sat alone in my car on the dirt road, watching the hawk fly from one treetop and back to another, looking for the best vantage point for hunting. Its presence was no less exciting than the first time I saw one, last year.

Red-breasted Nuthatch on a windy day

Also, the opportunity to see and photograph not one but two Red-breasted Nuthatches was a treat. I see their white-breasted counterparts often, but these little beauties are not as prevalent.


Being a birder and a statistics-lover, I like to look back on last year's birding efforts and results in comparison with this year's. As of the end of February 2015, I had seen 45 bird species in 2015. This year, my January-February species count was 76.

Happy Birding!

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