Pelagic, whitefish

Whitefish point and its surrounding forests form one of my favorite places on earth. Starting last year, my family and I (just the birding part, my dad and brother), had gone to Whitefish over a 3 day weekend. It is supposed to be Columbus Day weekend, but it seemed too soon after the Carlyle Lake pelagic to go then this year. So we decided on a later option, meaning fewer ducks, but more boreal birding. That was this weekend (Nov 5-7). We left at 3:30 AM Friday morning, as Friday was the day with the best winds. We made a couple stops on our way there. One was a short stop at a field where I found a flock of 300 Sandhill Cranes, with 100 in the neighboring field. It was pretty amazing, as such great numbers of cranes always are. There is a picture of part of the flock below:

The next stop was a bit long, and a bit improvised. This was to view a large flock of Aythya ducks at the north end of the Mackinaw Bridge. They turned out to be entirely Redhead, with a grand total of 3 Lesser Scuap mixed in. Also there were around 40 Mute Swans, which, along with the Redheads, formed a nice imaged. If only I had brought my wide angle lens…

The next place we went was a bit closer to our destination. This was the Tahquamenon River mouth, a good spot for ducks. Just on my way in, I saw 5 Hooded Mergansers. The other ducks included the other 2 mergs and a couple Bufflehead. The highlight, though, was a complete surprise, that we happened to be there at the exact right 10 minute period to see it. It was waxwings. Lots and lot of waxwings. You may be wondering if some were Bohemian, seeing as it was in da Yoop (as Michiganders call it). Well, they were all Bohemian! It started with a flock of 25 or so gobbling down berries in this one little Mountain Ash tree next to the parking lot. They left, were joined by a few more waxwings, now ~50 in total. After those guys had emptied out a few more berries, they flew back into the pines, only to come out with a total of about 100. After those guys had some, we saw the full flock. They came in one unified movement. There were 250-300 of them, and it was amazing. t maximum volume, they emptied that tree out! Some waxwings took a berry and left, while others sat there, gulping down bright red berry after berry. Eventually, they all left, which was a good time to count these vicious fruit-eating raiders. I got ~250, with 200 in one big group, and more in a group that split off. This photo below shows a bit of what it was like:

Then, we got to the point. FINALLY. It was a long car ride there, but was finally made it. Made it to the cold, windy point that I cherish. Woo! It was exciting, finally getting there, and we went straight to the waterbird shack. Before I say what we saw, this is what the shack looks like:

Pelagic Publishing Britain's Game Fishes: Celebration and Conservation of Salmonids (Pelagic Monographs)
eBooks (Pelagic Publishing)

Thanks for that the other thing that chaps me

2010-06-06 11:17:26 by Sample1

Is no one seems to have any concern or anger that there are rivers of oil streaming miles through the strata of water from the ocean bed on upwards.
It's as if only the "coast" matters, not the marine life out in the sea be it jellyfish, zooplankton, and other pelagic wildlife.
It's like, out of sight, out of mind.
I live in Alaska, we still have oil 20yrs later on those beaches if you dig down a foot. And Exxon's spill was likely half the size. A *minimum* 35 thousand birds were killed by Exxon (likely a gross underestimate). Not to mention a thousand otters, and all the whales, porpoises and other critters

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