Saturday, July 13, 2013

Forest Road 3345 in Michigan, To New York State, July 10

I made one last try for Yellow-bellied Flycatcher in Michigan.  A Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was reported on Forest Road 3344 near Trout Lake in Chippewa County, and this was on my way to new York state where I would try for Bicknell's Thrush on Slide Mountain.  My GPS worked the whole way to finding the driving route to Forest Road 3344, also known as W. Bobbygay Lake Truck Trail in Hiawatha National Forest, which is a snow mobile route in the winter.  I was able to find this information when I had internet access in my motel in Newberry, MI.  This road was sandy in spots and recently maintained with a road scraper.  Apparently, there was a hump in the middle of the road with vegetation growing, because while the road was leveled by the maintenance, there were clumps of vegetation scatted across the road.  It would be an adventure trying to drive this road to look for birds in a regular non-four wheel drive vehicle.  The report of Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was from e Bird on July 7, 2013.  The route for the traveling checklist was three miles, so when I arrived at the exact GPS location less than a mile from the main road, MI 123, I drove three miles on Forest Road 3344.  I did not find the reported Yellow-bellied Flycatcher.  There was a lot of good habitat particularly where the road got more narrow, and there were more conifers that looked like either spruce or firs.  Birding was interesting along this road.  I found a pair of Sandhill Cranes about one mile from MI 123, and two different singing Olive-sided Flycatchers about two miles in from my starting point.  I had Yellow-rumped Warblers, Black-throated Green, Pine and Nashville Warblers singing.  There were Lincoln's Sparrows and White-throated Sparrows along this road.  I did find some Least Flycatchers, which had been reported along this road by other reporters in June and July of this year.  I drove Forest Road 3344 until it met Forest Road 3145 near a railroad crossing.  Forest Road 3145 is another road where some good Michigan birds had been reported.   I stayed on Forest Road 3344 until about 1:00 pm, and then headed south for Ohio and New York state.  I lived in New York state previously, and I knew that I had a chance for Yellow-bellied Flycatcher in Upstate New York, specifically at Ferd's Bog in Hamilton County, which is not too far north in the Adirondacks and only a few hours from Slide Mountain in the Catskills.  I had checked in e Bird and found that there were still recent reports in early July of Yellow-bellied Flycatcher at Ferd's Bog.  I left Michigan knowing that I still had a chance to find Yellow-bellied Flycatcher on breeding territory in upstate New York.  Below are pictures of heavily stained adult Sandhill Crane obtained yesterday at Seney NWR on the 3 mile walk along C-3 pool and of Olive-sided Flycatcher today on Forest Road 3344 singing "whip three beers."  Note the large bill and the white tuft appearing along the back of the Olive-sided Flycatcher.  It is a special year when I see three different Olive-sided Flycatchers, one in Alaska near Anchorage and two in Michigan!

No new birds for the day.  The list remains at 535.  Slide Mountain next!

Sandhill Crane
Olive-sided Flycatcher


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