I returned to Seney NWR to try for Sharp-tailed Grouse and hope for a better look at the Le Conte's Sparrows. I walked the whole three miles to the end of the C-3 pool. I did not find a Le Conte's Sparrow, but did see a Sandhill Crane along the gravel road. In addition, as I approached the 2 mile point (estimated), I flushed a grouse from the side of the road. This was a Sharp-tailed Grouse, because I could see the pointed tail as it flew west cackling. It was not a Ruffed Grouse, because when it spread its tail to land in the grass and bushes west of the pool, the tail was not banded as in Ruffed Grouse. I suspect that this grouse was a female of young bird of the year, because it lacked the white at the base of a male Sharp-tailed Grouse. I found some ripe low bush blueberries near the three mile point on the road, and enjoyed them before I walked back to my car. I'm getting plenty of exercise this year with lots of hiking and walking. On my way back to my car, I met two college students who are completing a breeding survey of Black Terns for the University of Minnesota and a graduate student working on her thesis. By the time that I got back to my car, it was about 4:00 to 4:30 pm. I decided to try a shorter hike to a wildfire area that the staff person told me about, where a Black-backed Woodpecker had been reported last fall. She was right about the Le Conte's Sparrow and Sharp-tailed Grouse. Perhaps, I would get lucky again, because sunset is not until about 10:00 pm. I arrived at the gate along the wildlife drive where I needed to start this hike. Two close-by Common Loons started calling. It was awesome! It was an easy hike back to the burn site, only about 2 miles. I was expecting a large burn site, but found minimal evidence of a recent burn. Perhaps, I was in the wrong area. On the way in, I saw an American Bittern flying, as well as a Northern Harrier. Close to the location of the burn site, I found a calling Broad-winged Hawk.
A quick note about American Bittern. Usually, they are difficult to find in Ohio. However, since I arrived in Michigan, I have seen about four American Bitterns. I saw one flying at Tuttle Marsh, and one flying when I first arrived at Seney NWR yesterday. I saw another American Bittern today at Seney NWR for a total of two today. If I needed American Bittern on my year list, Michigan surely would have been the place to come to see one.
Tomorrow will be my last day in Michigan. I will make one more try for Yellow-bellied Flycatcher in the morning and then will head south and east to New York state before heading home. As I write this entry, I am east of Cleveland, Ohio and heading shortly to New York state to try for Bicknell's Thrush on Slide Mountain in the Catskills.
Sharp-tailed Grouse is a new bird for the year, yielding a total of 535.