Sunday, July 7, 2013

Michigan, North of Grayling and Taras City Area

I checked some recent (07/02 and 07/03) reports of Golden-winged Warbler on e Bird that were located only about one hour north of Grayling where I spent the night.  There were two reports on Jordan River Road, one report of three Golden-winged Warblers and a second report of one a few days later.  I chose this location to search, because there were two recent reports close to the same location, which I thought would increase my chances of finding a Golden-winged Warbler.  I had some difficulty with Google Maps in finding this road, because I was directed to a fish hatchery on a road that said Dead End.  I've dealt with this before this year and found that Google Maps is often wrong.  Consequently, I looked at DeLorme and found another way from the north to get to Jordan River Road.  I assumed that the location on the map associated with the checklist was the location where the birds on the checklist were reported.  However, I did not find the Golden-winged Warblers, but am not 100% confident that I looked in the correct location.  The habitat along this road was excellent with a few locations looking good for Golden-winged Warblers.  I drove through the area with my windows down and heard Nashville Warblers, Black and White Warblers, and Mourning Warblers, multiple Veeries and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers drumming along the way.  At an area, that was quite thick with undergrowth of alders and wet, I heard a Canada Warbler singing.  I stopped and pulled over on the narrow dirt road.  The Canada Warbler was about 20 feet off the road in the thick under-brush.  This habitat is similar to the type of habitat where I have found Canada Warbler in upstate New York.  The song was definitely a Canada Warbler, starting and ending with a chip with a jumble of notes between.  To verify that I was correct, because this was the first time that I have heard an actual Canada Warbler in the field since last year (2013) in the spring, I played a recording of Canada Warbler on i Bird Pro.  A beautiful Canada Warbler responded, showing the gray back and wings, yellow throat and breast with the dark necklace of streaks below the throat at the upper breast.  I quickly left the area to minimize  my disturbance.  Another new bird for the year and a target species for this trip.  I never did find any Golden-winged Warblers, but I did find that I could have reached Jordan River Road from the fish hatchery by ignoring the Dead End sign and continuing through the fish hatchery past some garages where there was an open gate to Jordan River Road.  It was not an obvious entry point, at least to me.  I'll need to remember that sometimes Google Maps is wrong and sometimes it is right in these confusing circumstances!  At least I found Canada Warbler for the year.

On my way back through Jordan Road from the south entering near Alba, I was driving with my windows down and heard a Least Flycatcher singing, which I first found yesterday.  I stopped to try to see this one.  There were two Least Flycatchers signing "che-bek" repeatedly on both sides of the road.   I was able to see both birds several times in this shady deciduous woods location as they flew down from relatively low perches to catch insects on the low vegetation and sometimes on tree trunks.  Least Flycatcher is well camouflaged for this habitat.  The gray upper-parts and light colored breast and belly make the bird hard to find unless it moves to chase and catch insects.  As I drove further about 1/4 mile, I heard Least Flycatcher from two additional nearby locations.  I appears that there was a colony of Least Flycatchers in this area.

At noon, I left the Jordan Road area.  There were additional recent reports on e Bird of Golden-winged Warbler at Tuttle Marsh near Tawas City and two recent reports of Northern Goshawk nearby.  I drove to Tawas City and tried all three spots after about 3:00 in the afternoon until just before sunset.   No luck on any of these birds, but I will try again this morning, July 7.  For the most distant from Tawas City Northern Goshawk report, I lost my GPS, but had written out the driving instructions with mileage and am sure that I was at the correct location.  DeLorme names are different than the local names on the roads and some roads only have numbers and not names.  Black-billed Cuckoo has also been reported in the area, which I am looking for on this trip.

Canada Warbler raises the year total to 530.   

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