August was an enjoyable month for me. The bird activity was starting to pick up again after July's lull. The foliage continued to grow. Late summer wildflowers bloomed while hummingbirds buzzed the trails. I seemed to soak up as much sun as I could, and the woods felt more alive than they had in July.
Enjoy these images of the progress of my photo journal. It can also be viewed week by week and in greater detail on my Little Bird Nerd Facebook page.
August, Spot 1
|Spot 1: August, 2016, Weeks 32-35|
August, Spot 2
|Spot 2: August, 2016, Weeks 32-35|
August, Spot 3
|Spot 3: August, 2016, Weeks 32-35|
Life Birds:After a slow July, my birding kicked back into gear this August. There was never a shortage for shorebird viewing, as one new variety would show up at the beach almost daily. These were some of the best and most close-up views of shorebirds I'd ever had. All of these provided opportunities for study and I felt like I came out of August with a slightly better understanding of shorebird identification. Just don't quiz me on gulls yet; I haven't quite gotten there. ;)
Throughout the month, I saw 5 new life birds or "lifers" (birds one sees for the first time). These included:
Baird's Sandpiper, first seen at Robert H. Long park and later seen at Lake St. Clair Metropark (the pair pictured below). The commonly used distinguishing feature of these little guys is their long wing projections, far past the tail.
|Baird's Sandpipers, LSCMP|
Blue Grosbeak, seen along the M5 Metro Trail in Oakland County. There was a pair of grosbeaks that some hoped would nest along the trail. I was lucky enough to happen upon the male singing constantly, even over loud traffic. I saw him flitting around in the trees above me, but never could get a great photograph with the lighting. As a side note, there was some concern that some people were going off the trail and getting too close to the grosbeaks' possible nest. While we all love a good photograph, it is more important to not disturb a nest or get too close to a bird that might be scared off and never return. Part of sharing the love of birding is sharing the responsibility to take care of the birds.
|Blue Grosbeak, M5 Trail|
Marbled Godwit, seen at Pointe Mouille State Game Area. I took my sister on this adventure where she was absolutely wowed by Mouillee and all the shorebird viewing. She even spotted me not one but 2 American Avocets, one of my very favorite birds, and the first anyone had seen of them that day, even though many bird watchers were out before us looking for the Godwit. Great find, Madeline!!
|Marbled Godwit, Pointe Mouillee SGA|
Red-necked Phalarope, found at Lake St. Clair Metropark, as part of the wave of awesome shorebirds that visited over a few weeks. After photographing this one, the very next day there were two Red-necked Phalaropes! Now the only "local" phalarope I am missing from my life list is the Wilson's.
|Red-necked Phalarope, LSCMP|
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, spotted at Lake St. Clair Metropark with the help of eBird reports and Tom Heatley, who was with me when I was finally able to identify this cute little flycatcher. As any birder will tell you, flycatchers present difficult ID challenges, and are often undistinguishable aside from their calls. This one seemed a little easier than others, with its short stout shape and its yellow hues.
Last year's January through August total species count: 198
This year's January through August total species count: 227