Monday, May 16, 2011

NAMC 2011 - Dearborn portion

Saturday, May 14 was the North American Migration Count. My husband Darrin O'Brien coordinates the count for Wayne County, and as usual we covered the UM-Dearborn campus, as well as some other spots in Dearborn. It was a pretty lousy day weather-wise, and many of the migrants that we enjoyed last week had moved on. Although we were only able to thoroughly cover campus and one of the Ford fields (with quick peeks at a few other locations) we still managed to have a pretty good day. On campus we tallied 83 species, including 19 species of warblers. None of the warblers were recorded in numbers over 10 individuals, but we had great looks at Mourning Warblers which is always a treat. Most of the warblers were feeding rather high in oak trees, typical of mid-migration as they are among the last trees to leaf out. Other highlights included a flyover Broad-winged Hawk, and the first Gray-cheeked Thrush of the season. We spent more time than we budgeted at the Ford field in the southeast corner of Hubbard and Southfield. We ended up with 48 species there, including 13 warblers species feeding in the oaks along the margins. This field, along with several others, has been planted in a cover crop of clover. While the Bobolinks present there earlier this month have moved on, there were many Savannah Sparrows on territory or with nests, along with Ring-necked Pheasant, Eastern Towhee, and some lingering White-crowned Sparrows. One of the better birds of the day was a calling Eastern Meadowlark in field #8. This is no longer an easy bird to find in Dearborn. Please note that these fields are now posted "no trespassing" so should only be viewed from public roads. RRBO has permission from Ford security to survey them. One last surprise was a big roost of Double-crested Cormorants (above) at Fordson Island. Between the birds perched on the dead tree and the ones flying around the Ford Rouge Plant, we counted 102. Back at home in east Dearborn, we had one of the Pine Siskins nesting in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, we did not have the time to walk along the Rouge River channel, or hit a couple of other birdy spots. Overall, we had 98 species (23 warbler species) in Dearborn for the day.

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