The White Wagtail is a small, attractive bird found mostly throughout Europe and Asia, as well as part of north Africa. This species is predominately a permanent residents within their range, but northern birds will migrate to Africa in winter months.
Worldwide distribution of the White Wagtail. Yellow denotes summer range, green year round range, blue winter range.
There is some speculation, discussion (debate?) that this bird might be the race that breeds in NE Siberia. No matter it's orgin, it is interesting and some what mind boggeling that a tiny little bird from far away lands made it here to Michigan.
So when Adam Byrn found one at Pointe Mouillee (Monroe County, Michigan)Saturday, April 9, 2011, I knew I had to make plans to go and chase this cute little guy.
Since this would be Michigan's 3rd record of this species and given the high scale rarity of this bird, I was rather excited at the prospects of seeing it and making this bird the 371st species for my Michigan list and a new lifer to boot.
I had to work all day, Saturday, so my plans would have to be for a Sunday morning chase, hoping th bird would not be yet another "one day wonder."
I did not take my camera gear due to the fact that the bird was being resported as "skittish" and"staying quite a ways out from people." Given these two factors and knowing there would be terrible heat distortion, I left my gear home to make my long walk to the bird a lighter one.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
A map of Cozumel. Unfortunately, we didn't have a whole lot of time to explore this island. We rented a Jeep and covered some area on the south of the island and in the middle. I wish I had about three days to bird here. The people are very friendly and I never felt unsafe in the least. I will go back soon and bird the island intensively
Cozumel still has much vegetation left and much is begining to recover after being battered by two huge hurricanes in the past. This view is from my 10th floor balcony on my ship as we docked into port on Cozumel. I sat here scanning for birds as I waited for the "ok" to debark and explore the island with my three friends 2/6/2011.
This is the sunrise I awoke to as we entered "Mexican Waters" We were still quite a ways from docking in Cozumel, but the sunrise was absolutelty beautiful
This is my first bird for Mexico. This female Magnificient Frigatebird was an hour and a half from the port in Cozumel. It was fun watching her cruise by our ship, sailing effortlessly on the wind, so far out from land.
The incredible blue waters of Cozumel. This photo does not do it justice by any means. This was taken looking into the water from my 1oth floor balcony on the ship
I would personally like to thank Tonia, Kim and Lori for a fun vacation and allowing me to bird at a handful of stops, while they shopped. I got to explore the jungle, jungle edges, mangroves, ponds, mudflats, beach and other "birdy spots'. Also, thankyou for allowing me to be a passenger and not the driver while we raced around the island in our rented Jeep, while I birded at 75 MPH. You did a fine job with the Jeep, "Cabbie" Kim!
74 species. 26 lifers. Not outrageous, but not bad considering I wasn't doing any hardcore birding and that I have never been to Cozumel before. I imagine if I "knew" where to bird there, my list might be a bit more impressive. Nonetheless, I did very well. Two stopsin particular, were bonanza stops, yielding a majority of my birds.
One stop at the small village of El Cedral, on the outskirts, was just extremely loaded with birds. I could have spent hours there. Instead, I birded there for 90 minutes, coming away with great looks at Short-tailed Hawk, Cozumel Emeralds, Breen-brested Mango, Yuctan Woodpecker, Yellow-faced Grassquits, all of "our Michigan" warblers on this list, most of the doves, the Yucatan Amazons and a host of others. The people at this village were exceptionally friendly.
The following is a list of birds I saw on Cozumel Island, Mexico on my non-birding trip with three friends. Then again, when is a trip a "non-birding trip" for a birder?
Birds in BOLD and with an* are lifers
Black-bellied Whistling duck
Black Vulture (many, many, many...)
Short-tailed Hawk (with a vulture kettle)
Roadside Hawk*(subspecies endemic to Cozumel)
African Collared Dove*
Zenaida Dove* (almost dismissed it as a Mourning Dove)
Common Ground Dove
Ruddy Ground Dove
Mangove Cuckoo (much easier to see here than in Florida!)
Cozumel Emerald* (endemic to cozumel)
Tropical or Couch's Kingbird. (sorta hard to ID it at 75 mph and only getting a faint view of it. I am voting for Couch's)
Cozumel Vireo* (endemic to Cozumel. A very nice looking bird IMO)
Mangrove Swallow* (a solo bird)
"Cozumel" House Wren (subspecies endemic to cozumel)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (subspecies endemic to cozumel)
Tropical Mockingbird*(very, very abundant bird!)
Black catbird* (common)
"Golden" Yellow Warbler (subspecies endemic to Cozumel)
"Myrtle" Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Bananaquit* (this subspecies is restricted to Cozumel and islands off the Yucatan peninsula)
Rose-throated Tanager* (subspecies endemic to Cozumel)
Western Spindalis* (subspecies endemic to cozumel)
Yellow-faced Grassquit* (subspecies endemic to cozumel) one yard had 8 pairs-quite common on the island
Northern Cardinal (subspecies endemic to Cozumel)
This is the small village of El Cedral. It has a small shop/market. There is also a small Myan Ruin here as well. This was our first stop outside the main city. The birds were absolutely thick here. I picked up a majority of my birds here. Our green, rented Jeep is parked outside
This small shack and yard was right across from the market. This yard and the two neighboring homes was just absolutely incredible. This yard has some running water, flowers, feeders and great cover. Some of the great birds I picked up here were: Yucatan Amazon, Road-side Hawk, Yucatan Woodpecker, quite a few of the doves, Cozumel Emerald, Green-breasted Mango, Short-tailed Hawk, a handful of the flycatchers and Yellow-faced Grassquits to name just a few
I am sure if I had more time on the island to hit other locations and srounge through the areas I birded, I would no doubt have picked up more, intersting stuff. All in all, I am very pleased with my results and believe I came away with a healthy list on this non-birding trip.
Taken from my plane window as we're coming into Metro Airport.
More Pictures and video coming soon! My camera malfunctioned on the trip, so I have few pictures, but will post what I have as soon as I process them
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
The long-billed curlew is the largest shorebird species and one of the most threatened on the North American continent. The summer range of the long-billed curlew includes much of the western United States along with the southern portion of the Canadian prairie provinces. It winters primarily from central California and coastal Texas southward through Mexico.So, when this bird was found at the South Haven Airport in Van Buren County (Michigan) on Tuesday, July 20, 2010, I knew I had to do a road trip to see this great bird.
I have seen this species before in Colorado, but never here in Michigan. There is good reason for this, since this is the first "documented" record for the species. I got word of this bird this morning, but I was at work and really could not just "skip out" unnoticed. Therefore, I started to conjure up a plan to get this bird, which if I were successful, would be my 368th species for my Michigan list.
All my plans to steal away from work kept falling apart and I was beginning to wonder if I would have to wait until the weekend to chase this thing. Several hours past and I was giving up hope until my friend Lyle Hamilton called and asked me if I wanted to go with him and Sean Bachman to see the curlew? I said, "yes, of course!"
I had less than an hour to gather up my gear and meet them at a predetermined meeting point for the 2 1/2 hour drive to the airport were the bird was hanging out. The ride to our rendezvous point was un eventful. However, our drive to the bird was not. The excitement came as torrential rain. A rain which the windshield wipers could not keep up with. That, coupled with the limited sight ability of the car ahead of us, made for some excitement.
We arrived unscathed to the airport, where several birders were gathered, peering at the curlew through their scopes. Scopes were needed seeing the bird was 150 yards or more away. Nonetheless, nice, clear views of this bird could be enjoyed as it feed nonstop.
Lyle, Sean and myself spent an hour watching the bird and discussing how the bird seemed ill. We could see what we believed was the bird's breast bone protruding through the birds feathers. It was encouraging seeing the bird feeding so much.
We started to get hungry ourselves and left the bird around 7:20PM. We arrived at Pizza Hut to gorge on Pizza before our ride home. While waiting for our orders to arrive to our table, I received and email stating the bird was seen flying away at 7:32. It headed in a NNE direction and was watched until it flew out of sight.
The three of us felt lucky that we left to see this bird an hour earlier than planned. If we hadn't, we would have missed it. Amazing how sometimes things all come together and work out. This was a life bird for Sean and a state bird for both Lyle and myself. In fact, this was the 366th species I have seen here in Michigan.