Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Birding the Soo

Most of the birding group. From front to back-Stephanie, Rob, Kathy, Cindy, Becky, Ted

What's the best way to start a birding trip? A flat tire of course. As we were driving up to the upper peninsula of Michigan we noticed that one of the cars in our caravan had a very low tire. Once it was filled back up, we continued on our way to Sault Saint Marie.

On Friday we all woke up before sunrise and had some breakfast. When we walked out to the cars, the first thing we noticed was the flat tire on Ted's car. Luckily we were able to change it quickly and start our day.

The flat tire. (Don't worry - we didn't make him do all the work.)

The spare was quickly put on and we were ready to roll.

Driving south from Soo on the backroads quickly produced a couple Northern Shrikes and the first of many Sharp-tailed Grouse. The grouse were lifers for a few people, so the lengthy scope views were much appreciated. We then drove some more backroads for owls and ended up in Dunbar Forest. A quick walk on the road produced our first Brown Creeper of the trip. Farther into the best area of the forest, everybody was able to get good looks at Pine Grosbeak and Bohemian Waxwings. We all enjoyed the constant high pitched trills of the large flock of waxwings.

One of the many Bohemian Waxwings.
Don't try to stare down an owl. You will lose.

After exploring Dunbar Forest, we found our first of 4 Northern Hawk Owls. We had heard about a little restaurant in Pickford called Snickerdoodles, so we headed there for lunch. Everyone enjoyed their meal, and we highly recommend stopping by if you're in the Soo. After lunch, we went into the Rudyard area and quickly found 3 Snowy Owls in a very short period of time. Then, while driving another side road, we ran across two Sharp-tailed Grouse very close to the road that allowed for great photo ops.

Sharp-tailed Grouse

To finish the day, we went into a dump to look for gulls. Unfortunately, only about 50 or so of the 1,000 gulls that had been reported a few days prior showed up. We also visited the power plant in Sault Saint Marie where the first state record Yellow-billed Loon had been found in late December. But as expected, we were much too late for the Loon.


Kelly said...

...love the grouse and the Snowy Owl (both would be lifers for me!), and Snickerdoodles sounds like a really fun restaurant! Sounds like beautiful birding....

Anonymous said...

Wow, you guys are doing really well! Makes me think I should bird the UP sometime...

Nice pics!

Amy Kearns