Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lake Michigan Jaegers

Over the weekend, Chad and Ceth Williams and I headed up to Indiana Dunes State Park to put on a program about birds and birding sponsored by the Indiana Young Birders Club. We had a fantastic turnout with almost 100 people stopping by to make a hummingbird nest, take out id quiz, or watch us band some birds!

While at the lakefront, we couldn't help but stop by Miller Beach, check out my birding guide for this site here, to spend some time conducting a lakewatch! We were not disappointed with our efforts. On our first stop at Miller, we only had about an hour and a half to bird. When we arrived at 7:30am the winds were blowing about 20mph from the north, perfect jaeger conditions. We immediately noticed large groups of teal moving over the lake, mostly Blue-winged. As I scanned, I pickup up a jaeger a ways over the lake. As I watched through the scope and it got closer, I noticed a long streamer tail! My lifer Long-tailed Jaeger! We had one more jaeger in the morning but it went unidentified due to distance.

Other highlights for the morning were, a bunch of Sanderlings on the beach, a flyby Ruddy Turnstone, tons of migrant Common Terns and a few Black Terns.


After our event at Dunes State Park, we returned to Miller Beach to conduct another lakewatch. This time, we were able to add two juvenile Parasitic Jaegers and one more unidentified jaeger to our list. The most interesting bird of the afternoon was an adult Bonaparte's Gull that was in the middle of molting. It still had a fair amount of black on its head and bright red legs! It was accompanied by a juvenile Bonaparte's Gull that allowed for some good photography!

Molting adult Bonaparte's Gull

Juvenile Bonaparte's Gull

Juvenile Bonaparte's Gull

Juvenile Bonaparte's Gull in Flight


Kelly said...

Hi Rob! Congrats on another lifer--a Long-taile Jaeger!
It sounds like along with good birding you worked hard at the event with 100 people visiting!

Are you guys headed up to Lakeside this year? I'm going.

Rob Ripma said...

Hi Kelly!

It's always fun to bird at the lake! It was one of our most well attended IYBC events so far!

We will be at the MBS! Well you be on the sunset cruise on Thursday evening?