29 December: A single Common Redpoll has been found on two different occasions with a large flock of goldfinch feeding on the alders around Fairlane Lake. Today’s survey also turned up an American Black Duck, Brown Creeper, and Northern Flicker. A Hermit Thrush was seen yesterday. A summary of the birds of Dearborn for 1997 totalled 186 species.
14 December: Things have been quiet in Dearborn lately. White-throated Sparrows are still around. Mike O’Leary had one in his west Dearborn yard, and there are two or three in my Springwells Park yard, along with two or three Red-breasted Nuthatches and at least one Fox Sparrow, seen today.
November ended on a nice note. A pair of White-winged Crossbills were in my yard on 30 November…for about 30 seconds and haven’t been seen since. Gary Hutman had a Hermit Thrush on 27 November, and two Snow Buntings on 22 November near the concrete channel of the Rouge River.
27 November: During my vacation last week, other birders kept their eyes open in Dearborn. The hands-down winner of the “Best Yard Bird I Missed” was the White-winged Crossbill found in front of my house on 22 November by Jim Fowler. It had apparently been hit by a car and died soon after Jim picked it up. Last week, Gary saw one of the two Peregrines that have been seen occasionally along the channel. Two Peregrines from the Detroit reintroduction program have set up shop down the river near Zug Island; they may be visiting Dearborn. Snow Buntings were present along the channel. A Greater Yellowlegs on 22 November was a late record for this species. Two Hooded Mergansers in the river on 23 November were also late. As of today, one or two White-throated Sparrows and a Fox Sparrow are still visiting my feeder.
14 November: Pine Siskins at the Craves feeders.
8 November: A Gray Catbird was tardy, beating our late record by 8 days. A Pied-billed Grebe at Greenfield Village was also late. One of the last Yellow-rumped Warblers of the fall season lingered on campus.
2 November: Ruddy Duck in the channel, along with American Coot, and a Dunlin, only the second record in the last 20 years for this species. A Turkey Vulture was a new late date. Also in the area was a Field Sparrow, and a Hermit Thrush on campus.
29 October: Today, in a netful of 23 goldfinch, was a late Indigo Bunting. This young male beat our previous late date by 10 days. Otherwise, banding has been the usual late fall mix of white-throats, juncos, Song Sparrows, and Purple-vented Lawn Thrushes (a.k.a., robins). A few Hermit Thrushes and moderate numbers of Yellow-rumped Warblers are still around. Fox Sparrows have indeed been numerous, with 13 seen yesterday, along with an American Woodcock.
25 October: Pine Siskins appeared in my yard.
17 October: Vesper Sparrow.
11 October: A single Evening Grosbeak flying over west Dearborn.
4 October: Merlin harassing an American Kestrel in the field by Southfield and Michigan Avenue.
1 October: White-crowned Sparrow.
28 September: Dark-eyed Junco.
24 September: Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
22 September: Our first White-throated Sparrow today. The only other new arrivals in the past week have been Lincoln’s Sparrow and Palm Warbler.
13 September: Yesterday a Connecticut Warbler was banded, and today we had our first Gray-cheeked Thrush and Purple Finch On 11 September we had a late Baltimore Oriole. The season’s first Philadelphia Vireo was netted on 9 September.
5 September: Today we recorded 46 species, including the season’s first Blackburnian Warbler.
3 September: New arrivals today were Nashville Warbler, Broad-winged Hawk (new early date), Bay-breasted Warbler, and Blackpoll Warbler.
2 September: Yesterday the first Mourning Warbler and Least Flycatcher of the year were present, although banding was slow due to an early Sharp-shinned Hawk keeping watch. The Red-breasted Nuthatch, first seen 21 August, has found my yard to his liking, and is sticking around. An early Orange-crowned Warbler spend the afternoon in my yard in Dearborn.
29 August: Migrant warblers continue in modest numbers. Today we found the first Black-throated Blue and Wilson’s, and yesterday the first Black-and-White and Chestnut-sided.
25 August: New migrants banded today were Veery, Magnolia Warbler, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, and “Traill’s” Flycatcher. The Tennessee Warbler from 18 August was recaptured. Three American Redstarts and one Blue-gray Gnatcatcher were also observed; gnatcatchers are very uncommon in the fall.
22 August: A Canada Warbler was seen today, as well as two Red-breasted Nuthatches (those were in my Dearborn yard).
18 August: A Tennesee Warbler was banded today, along with another sorry-looking Swainson’s Thrush.
17 August: A Sanderling, the first Dearborn record, was found on the concrete channel of the Rouge River today by Gary Hutman, along with 4 Least Sandpipers. The Sanderling brings Dearborn’s total to 249 species.
15 August: A Swainson’s Thrush was banded on 15 August. While most Swainson’s Thrushes migrate later, a portion leave their breeding grounds early and complete their pre-basic molt on a stopover area…one of the few Neotropical migrants that begins migrating before finishing their molt. On the concrete channel of the Rouge River, Lesser Yellowlegs and Least Sandpipers were seen on 2 and 9 August.
23 May: Two more Yellow-breasted Chats have been banded, one each of the last two days. This brings our spring total to four…pretty unusual. Wednesday’s (21 May) bird was also seen yesterday. Two Solitary Vireos banded yesterday were late, as was an American Black Duck being harrassed by Mallards. A Prothonotary Warbler was singing by the north end of the lake. Also on Wednesday was a late cormorant, a late Rusty Blackbird, a Northern Mockingbird gathering nest materials, and a possible Kentucky Warbler. Tuesday (20 May) we saw two Golden-winged Warblers, two Whippoorwills, a Cerulean Warbler, and a Black Tern.
19 May: The face of migration changed a bit today, with most of the Yellow-rumps and Palms moved out but higher numbers of redstarts, waterthrushes, and Wilson’s Warblers. Highlights today included another Yellow-breasted Chat banded, and a Hooded Warbler.
18 May: After waking up to a Bay-breasted Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, and Northern Parula in my backyard, I decided to head up to work to see what was around. It was an excellent day, with the highlight being a male Blue Grosbeak in the old field near Henry Ford Community College. I was alerted to an unfamiliar call note and saw the bird as it flew in and teed up on the top of a sapling. It sat for 6 – 8 seconds, then took off. I tried to follow it, but was unable to relocate it.
The bizarre migration continues, with Ruby-crowned Kinglets staring at Mourning Warblers and asking, “Who the heck are you?” Yesterday (17 May) we also had our first Blackpoll Warblers and Eastern Kingbirds. A late Common Loon flew over, and still lots of White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows and a few towhees. Recaptured 13 warblers banded earlier in the week…very unusual!
Friday (16 May) we had our first Tennesee Warbler, overshadowed by a morning of banding that shattered all previous records with 120 birds. Nothing odd, except we netted a Barn Swallow. It was just hectic beyond belief.
Finally, from 15 to 17 May, we had an albino Yellow-rumped Warbler. All the yellow was present, as well as some black smudges, but it was mostly white. It kept close to the ground, and the yellow-rumps with it were not too friendly. Allen Chartier managed to get some pictures.
14 May: A singing male Worm-eating Warbler was found today, we’ve had one three of the last four years. Other new arrivals were Eastern Wood-pewee and Cape May Warbler. Two Whippoorwills calling this morning. Nice injection of Black-throated Blues today (even had 3 in my yard); another Golden-winged and two Blue-winged Warblers, but we still seem to be at least a week behind.
13 May: We seemed to have gotten a bird shipment last night, with high numbers of Yellow-rumps, B&Ws, and Palms in particular. The only new arrival was a Yellow-throated Vireo, but we did have a living Whippoorwill calling at dawn, remembering his dead comrade in my yard.
Productive day banding with several warblers banded the last few days recaptured today, all gaining weight. Especially nice was the Northern Waterthrush banded 7 may that has gained nearly 4 grams. As other researchers have discovered, some migrant species (NOWA was mentioned specifically) are territorial on migration stopovers. Our data seem to be bearing this out, as we release birds about .25 mile from where we net them, and they have 300 acres to disperse to. It’s a wonder we recap any at all.
As for returns, both a Song Sparrow and Gray Catbird returned for their third year; the catbird was born here.
12 May: Scarlet Tanager, Golden-winged Warbler. The Yellow-breasted Chat banded 7 May is still hanging around. We also recaptured a color-banded Wood Thrush from last year, a male banded as part of our study, he’s back on the same territory. On the same run, we got back a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak that is at least 7 years old, we’ve gotten him the second week in May for the last 4 years. Congrats to these two Neotropical migrants for making successful journeys!
10 May: Grey-cheeked Thrush (where are the thrushes?!), Red-eyed Vireo, Blue-winged Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, one Orange-crowned Warbler banded. In the good news/bad news department, the best migration count bird was a Whippoorwill in my yard. Unfortunately, I found it post-mortem, courtesy of the neighbor’s cat.
9 May: Indigo Bunting (banded), Warbling Vireo, Black-throated Blue Warbler
8 May: Two Cerulean Warblers, Prothonotary Warbler.
7 May: Treat of the day was banding a Yellow-breasted Chat. Other new arrivals were Northern Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, Chestnut-sided Warbler, and Lincoln’s Sparrow. Had a Rose-breasted Grosbeak at my feeder yesterday.
6 May: Yesterday’s Cerulean Warbler was still present today. Notably increased numbers of Yellow-rumps, B&Ws, and more White-crowned Sparrows than I’ve seen in years. New arrivals were Wood Thrush, Green Heron, Great Crested Flycatcher, Blackburnian Warbler, and Ovenbird. A Blue-winged Teal was on the lake, and Allen Chartier spotted a female Northern Harrier over the meadow, our 5th record. Our token Red-headed Woodpecker of the year few over as well.
5 May: Cerulean Warbler, Gray Catbird, Nashville Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Least Flycatcher, Yellow Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, maybe that darn Northern Goshawk again, Spotted Sandpiper.
30 April: Hooded Merganser (new late date for us).
21 April: Solitary Vireo.
28 April: N. Rough-winged Swallow, Palm Warbler.
27 April: Spotted Sandpiper.
24 April: Common Tern.
22 April: Northern Goshawk (possibly same individual that had been tentatively identified in late March), Osprey.
21 April: Pine Warbler, House Wren.
20 April: Right on time several years running, White-crowned Sparrow.
19 April: Swamp Sparrow. And a tantalizing report of a probable female Blue Grosbeak seen along the Rouge south of Rotunda by Gary Hutman. Gary is a very experienced, reliable observer. He saw the bird in good light, noted the large beak and wingbar, but the bird was perched in a chain-link fence facing him, then flew away. If we manage to relocate the bird, it will mean Jim Fowler, Julie Craves, and Mike Mencotti share in the “Next species on the Dearborn checklist” betting pool!
15 April: Caspian Tern.
11-15 April: One and two Common Loons.
10 April: Eleven Double-crested Cormorants.
8 April: Chipping Sparrow, three Sandhill Cranes, Red-breasted Nuthatch.
6 April: Ruby-crowned Kinglets.
5 April: Bonaparte’s Gulll, Tree Swallows, Eastern Towhee.
4 April: Eastern Bluebirds, Savannah Sparrows, Pied-billed Grebe, Hermit Thrush, two Hooded Mergansers.
3 April: Yellow-rumped Warbler.
2 April: A Vesper Sparrow at UM-D and another at Greenfield Village, a Brown Thrasher, Fox Sparrow, Winter Wren, and Eastern Meadowlark at UM-D.
1 April: A Field Sparrow, two Buffleheads, Eastern Phoebe.
31 Mar: Two Ruddy Ducks and two Redheads at Greenfield Village on 18 March, an American Coot on 25 Mar, and a Great Egret on 29 Mar (new early date).
24 Mar: Belated news from Gary Hutman, who spotted an immature Bald Eagle over the concrete channel of the Rouge on 2 March, and re-found the Northern Shrike on 9 March downstream from Greenfield Village. Gary also had the season’s first Golden-crowned Kinglets on 21 March, Pied-billed Grebe on 22 March, and the fourth Dearborn record for American Pipit on 23 March. Looks like he’s ahead of the pack in the Dearborn birding contest for 1997.
Jerry Sadowski relocated our wintering Winter Wren on 23 March, and also had a Lesser Scaup on Fairlane Lake.
22 Mar: TheWhite-crowned Sparrow that first appeared 28 Feb at the Craves feeder is still visiting.
15 Mar: A singing Brown Creeper.
15 Mar: American Woodcock are back in the old field area on campus.
14 Mar: A Common Merganser was on Fairlane Lake, and the Wood Ducks have also returned. Jim Fowler found a Lesser Scaup today at Greenfield Village, as well as seven Rusty Blackbirds, a new early date for this species.
13 Mar: A Bufflehead was at the Ford Ponds at Oakwood and Village Road.
12 Mar: At least 6 Turkey Vultures migrated over UM-D — beating our previous early spring date by a day.
11 Mar: Jim Fowler spotted 2 Sandhill Cranes flying over Greenfield Village towards UM-D.
1 Mar: Two Killdeer.
28 Feb: Dearborn’s first winter record of White-crowned Sparrow showed up at a Dearborn feeder today! The earliest spring record is 20 April.
25 Feb: Blackbirds have arrived! Mixed flock of Red-winged Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Common Grackles, and maybe a Rusty Blackbird or two this morning.
21 Feb: Jim Fowler re-found the Northern Shrike near Greenfield Village. He also had a Common Grackle.
13 Feb: The Winter Wren first seen in December stuck around, it was seen again today.
On 18 January, Dearborn police officer Mike O’Leary found a blue-phase Snow Goose with the hundreds of Canada Geese roosting on the ponds on Village Road and Oakwood; these geese feed during the day in the corn fields on Ford Road and Greenfield. The Snow Goose was still present as of 30 January. Mike is a Dearborn cop, and described the discovery:
My partner and I were on our way to arrest a shoplifer at the Super K-Mart when I saw a flock of geese fly overhead. They were heading to the Ford ponds.
“Hey — one of those is a Snow Goose!” I said.
‘”Huh?” said my partner.
“Let’s pick up this shoplifer quick and get over to the ponds before dark.”
“What?” said my partner.
So we picked up the shoplifer, dropped him off, and went over to the ponds. By this time hundreds of geese had come to roost, and the light was fading. I put on my spotlight and sure enough, the Snow Goose popped his head up.
“There it is!” I said.
“Uh, right,” said my partner. He hasn’t ridden with me since.
On 18 January, Jerry Sadowski also relocated the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker first found on 27 December.
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