Zino's Petrel off Madeira - June 2018

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Sunday, 14 May 2017

Ohio & Michigan 14/5/17

A mammoth day where we crossed the border into Michigan to hopefully see the endangered Kirtland's Warbler. We left our accommodation at 2.30am and arrived into Huron Forest within the first hour of daylight, where we started on trying to find Ruffed Grouse. Despite the Kirtland's being our main target, we knew they would be present so thought it'll be best to search for Grouse that go elusive after the first few hours of daylight.

At the dense pine forest, our first stop produced a pair of delightful Golden-crowned Kinglets, and a little further on along one of the many forest tracks, we parked up and headed into the forest hoping we would flush a bird. As we slowly crept through, we all heard a very unusual noise that sounded like an engine rattling as if trying to start up, but then failing, and this sound was in fact a drumming Ruffed Grouse. We very slowly approached with the drumming now being very penetrating, but frustratingly we couldn't find the bird despite being so close. Ian and myself were slightly ahead of Adam as we circum-navigated the area and we flushed a Ruffed Grouse from the undergrowth for it never to be seen again. Despite trying more, this was our only sighting despite hearing the drumming again.

We moved onto the Jack Pines situated further south in the forest, and here we easily found a number of singing Kirtland's Warblers, and they were very impressive. A search for Upland Sandpipers drew a blank and so did a search for Northern Saw-Whet Owls, that on ebird was in a back garden, with the owner finding and reporting the birds. So we headed an hour out of our way to the garden, which turned out to be a hillbilly's zone, and knocking on the correct house we were basically told to go away, with no news on any Owls. All very strange and we couldn't work out what had happened, and being in a very unfriendly neighbourhood we took off towards Hartwick Pines State Park.

Evening Grosbeaks were easily found around the feeders, and in the forests were plenty of Pine Warblers.

We then took the bold decision to drive over to Tawas Point situated on the west side of Lake ?? The decision to come here was the chance of witnessing some good migration, and to hopefully bump into an out of place Ruffed Grouse, as Adam still needed it. We were treated to some amazing migration with Warblers being in every bush and showing down to a few feet. Adam went off to find the Grouse that was meant to be around the campsite, but about 45 minutes before dark, Ian noticed some movement in the undergrowth in dense bushes and thought it was a Rat, I took a look and I was amazed to find that it was in fact the Ruffed Grouse. I quickly ran back to the car to find Adam who was thankfully on his way back from the campsite and had just seen a Skunk, but I beeped the car horn and waved frantically for him to get in as I turned the car like a rally driver, and we sped back to Ian who was still watching the Grouse, allowing Adam a last minute tick. A huge relief and this ended a very productive day up north.

It was another four hours to get back and we arrived around 1.30am, all of us absolutely battered.
Highlights seen:

Brewer's Blackbird - 2
Vesper Sparrow - 2

Tawas Point

Cape May Warbler - 2
Blackpoll Warbler - 2
Blackburnian Warbler - 10
Orange-crowned Warbler - 3
Tennessee Warbler - 1
Northern Parula - 10
Ovenbird - 1
Black-and-white Warbler - 2
Bay-breasted Warbler - 3
Black-throated Green Warbler - 10
Magnolia Warbler - 10
Ruffed Grouse - 1 male

Kirtland's Warbler at Huron National Forest - most groups tend to get driven around by a guide but they are easily seen if research is done.
Evening Grosbeak at Hartwick Pines State Park
 Pine Warbler at Hartwick Pines
 Red-eyed Vireo at Tawas Point
 Cape May Warbler at Tawas Point
 Scarlet Tanager at Tawas Point
 Orange-crowned Warbler at Tawas Point
Blackburnian Warbler at Tawas Point

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