As we got out to the end of the pier, there was already a large group of birders gathered there scanning for the rare bird. Our friend Alison, a birder from Berrien County, was there and had not seen the bird yet that morning but told us that it had not been seen until 12:30pm the day before. As we stood on the pier and scanned the lake, a Little Gull approached very closely and allowed me to get the following picture.
A little while later, a birder yelled out JAEGER! The juvenile Parasitic Jaeger flew about 20 feet over our heads giving everyone present amazing looks. While we continued to wait for the rarity to show up, we enjoyed watching a Red-necked Grebe only 20-50 yards offshore. We were told that this was a very good bird in Berrien County.
Finally after about three hours, our patience paid off. The Ancient Murrelet appeared from the north and started feeding about 150 yards off shore where the river water and lake water merged together. It was diving frequently and spent more time underwater feeding than on the surface. As we watched, it moved in to about 75 yards and delighted the 40 or 50 birders that were present. It slowly moved back to the north and then disappeared just as quickly as it had appeared. It was a lifer for many of the birders that were present, including Eric. I had seen this amazing bird during my cruise to Alaska this past May, and it was even more impressive here than it was in Alaska!
We left the pier around noon and birded around the county with Alison and three young birders from the Chicago area. We hit many spots and had many awesome birds, with the best being an adult male Long-tailed Duck and a Lesser Black-backed Gull. It was an amazing day with lots of great birds. We will definitely be back to bird in Berrien County again!