Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Winter in the Rear View Mirror at Last!

After a winter that seemed like it would never end, a few brave wildflowers finally raised their heads last week. I think I have the ID's correct - any corrections more than welcome!

Rue Anemone
Spring Beauty peeks out of last fall's leaves.
Dutchman's Breeches is one of my favorites. Too bad they bloom so briefly.
Toad Lily dresses up the junk pile.

May Apple always tickle us with its sudden appearance - like an alien army that appears overnight.
All photos by Dixie Burkhart. 

Thrill of the Chase

Recently birders in southwest Michigan were in a frenzy over the presence of, not just one, but two birds that are megarare for the state. A Black-bellied Whistling-Duck found a haven for a time at the dairy at Andrews University. And, after some initial confusion, a Snowy Plover was identified at the harbor in New Buffalo. In general, I am not much of a chaser when these rarities show up. But these birds were withing fifty miles or so of where I live, and even if I didn't find them, Berrien in the spring is always a worthwhile birding destination. Results of my chase are in the photos below, even though the duck photo deserves some kind of award for Worst Identifiable Picture. Plus, I share with you the gorgeous Glaucous Gull that shared the beach with the Snowy Plover and his Sanderling buddy that day.

This first winter Glaucous Gull was hanging with the gull flock at New Buffalo.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

    Hmm. Somehow I managed to take a picture that showed only the field marks for this duck. I wish I could attribute it to quirky awesome photographic skills. I can't.   

Sanderling, left, Snowy Plover, right.
            This little western plover stayed close to his Sanderling buddy throughout his stay. Actually, the Sanderling was unusually early, and elicited a details request on ebird. For some reason, most viewers only used him as a landmark for the Snowy Plover. "Look for the Sanderling." "He's still there with the Sanderling." "He's to the right of the Sanderling." Sort of like the rare bird stepchild. : )

All photos by Dixie Burkhart. Use with permission only. (Except for the duck - use that one anywhere, as long as I don't get credit!)