Monday, May 13, 2013

A Report from Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery

      Six BBC'ers once again donned their winter gear to bird Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery in Van Buren County. Temperatures hovered around the freezing mark, but the sky was clear and the ponds were like glass.  Many swallows working the ponds gave us terrific opportunities in perfect light to compare field marks of five species. The Trumpeter Swans were on nest duty. Sheryl's sharp eyes picked out an Indigo Bunting in a treetop, although it wasn't the most cooperative bird. With a little patience, we had better luck with a male Bay-breasted Warbler in the woods. Eventually, he came out in the open and gave us all some pretty nice looks.

Lisa and Barb check out some swallows.

     There were quite a few pairs of Canada Geese with downy young.

     And it wasn't just about the birds. 
This bullfrog didn't seem to mind our attention.

Neither did this female Tree Swallow at the nestbox

     When  we were finished at the fish hatchery, we took to the cars and the back roads. The flooded field on 38th Avenue was occupied by three Solitary Sandpipers, although the Blue-winged Teal I had spotted earlier didn't wait around for the group. The special treat of the day was probably when a wary pair of Sandhill Cranes emerged from cover followed by two very small downy red chicks. The chicks' antics kept us enthralled, although, unfortunately, most of us missed the moment when the chicks faced off and did a baby version of the crane dance, stretching up tall and bouncing while waving their stubby red wings! 
     We finished our day with a visit with the Prothonotary Warblers on 44th Avenue, and spent a few minutes communing with the peaceful spirit of the Paw Paw River. I reflect on the day as I walk the dogs for their last outing. The sun is sinking, a Wood Thrush is singing in the woods behind the house, and I once again realize how lucky I am to live in this amazing place.



     Please feel free to join us for a morning of good birding and good company next Monday, May 20, at 9am. Meet in the parking lot at Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery near Mattawan, Michigan.  Hope to see you then!                              

1 comment:

  1. What a great day in the field! We particularly enjoyed the baby cranes and being "buzzed" by a prothonotary warbler.
    Charley and Natalie