Sighting archives 2000-2004


December 2003:

30 Dec: An Eastern Towhee was found on the survey today, the first winter record in many years.

29 Dec: A Fox Sparrow has been seen periodically in an east Dearborn yard.

27 Dec: A Long-eared Owl was found today. Hunting habitat is poor in our area for this species, so it was only passing through — it’s not been seen since.

24 Dec: A Northern Saw-whet Owl was found on 22 Dec and today in an inaccessible area.

6 Dec: Two White-crowned Sparrows and one Chipping Sparrow were at the sunflower field at Southfield and Hubbard. A Golden Eagle flew over west Dearborn.

5 Dec: An adult Bald Eagle was seen along the Rouge River near Michigan Ave.

4 Dec: A Common Goldeneye is found on the lake, unusual on campus.

November 2003:

23 Nov: A Brown Thrasher was banded in east Dearborn today, providing a new late fall date (there are two winter dates as well).

21 Nov: An Orange-crowned Warbler found on a survey today was late; however, this species is quite hardy and can be found in northern areas in winter. There is still at least one Fox Sparrow around, a few White-throated Sparrows, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and two Brown Creepers.

19 Nov: Late by six weeks was a Green Heron on the lake today. Also a little later than usual were 15 Tundra Swans flying over campus.

17 Nov: A Sandhill Crane was seen flying over Michigan Ave. and Evergreen Road.

10 Nov: A Clay-colored Sparrow was found (again) today at the sunflower fields.

9 Nov: A Nashville Warbler was found today at at the sunflower fields, which is a new late date.

8 Nov: A Gray Catbird tied a late record today.

7 Nov: A Northern Saw-whet Owl was also flushed from a tangle.

6 Nov: Last night, a distant Northern Saw-whet Owl was heard. Today an Eastern Bluebird was in the banding area, but did not get netted. They are pretty unusual on campus. Two Red-shouldered Hawks and a Turkey Vulture migrating over campus were late, as were two Swamp Sparrows (occasional wintering birds excepted).

4 Nov: A Green-winged Teal and Hooded Merganser were on the lake today, and six more mergansers were along the Rouge River. Along the concrete channel of the Rouge was a Spotted Sandpiper, and a late Indigo Bunting. An Eastern Phoebe was at sunflower field A.

1 Nov: The first Pine Siskin of the year was banded today, along with our 12th Purple Finch. A “Yellow” Palm Warbler (the eastern race) was also banded today — not only a late date for Palm Warbler, but the first of this race to be banded here. Two Bufflehead were on the lake (only the 2nd fall record) with one Pied-billed Grebe. Two American Crows were the first seen on campus since spring!

October 2003:

31 Oct: Today we banded a late Ovenbird, and our resident Northern Mockingbird was seen near the south entrance of campus. A Gray Catbird is still hanging around.

30 Oct: A late Orange-crowned Warbler was banded today, along with an unusual Ruby-crowned Kinglet with an orange and yellow (rather than red) crown. Another Orange-crowned Warbler was seen at the sunflower fields.

29 Oct: Another (the same?) Gray Catbird was still in the banding area.

26 Oct: A Clay-colored Sparrow was found in the sunflower field at Hubbard and Southfield; the sunflowers haven’t set seed yet, but there are many weed seeds there. Updates on the sunflower fields will be posted at this site. A tardy Gray Catbird was in the banding area, along with two Eastern Towhees that have been eluding the nets for days. Another Purple Finch was banded.

24 Oct: Both American Woodcock and Common Yellowthroat were found on today’s survey.

23 Oct: The first American Tree Sparrow arrives.

20 Oct: Very good numbers of Hermit Thrushes and White-throated Sparrows have been present for a week or so. Today, six Purple Finches were banded (our fall average is less than two), including the first adult male (purple) Purple Finches we’ve ever banded.

17 Oct: The Northern Mockingbird, resident of the brush dump on campus for several years, was seen again today. It hasn’t been located since our last regular surveys of the area in June, but it may have been around all summer.

10 Oct: A tardy Ruby-throated Hummingbird was caught in the nets today; it’s a late date for us by eight days. Good numbers of Chimney Swifts continue to migrate through — today there was a flock of 28. An Indigo Bunting banded today is a bit tardy, but our late date is Oct 29.

9 Oct: Another Bald Eagle flew over campus today.

8 Oct: South winds have somewhat countered the improved banding conditions that have come with the warm weather, but an interesting mix of birds have been in the nets the last few days. We banded our first Fox Sparrow and Purple Finches, but also had Palm and Black-throated Green Warblers, a Northern Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, Wilson’s Warbler (tied for late date), and eight Nashville Warblers. Nashville Warbler is an interesting species, with a very protracted fall migration; we’ve had records from late July through the end of October. Still, eight is a good number for so late in the season, and we’ve now surpassed our record of 42 (we’re near 50 now).

6 Oct: The fall’s first Dark-eyed Juncos and White-crowned Sparrows were banded today. A Purple Finch was found on the survey, and a Marsh Wren was also located, presumably the same bird found on 26 Sep. Warblers today included Orange-crowned, Nashville, Blackpoll, Palm, Tennessee, Common Yellowthroat, Black-throated Green, and Yellow-rumped.

4 Oct: The weather cooperated for long enough to produce a nice variety of birds for folks attending the RRBO open house. A Blackburnian Warbler netted today was not only a crowd pleaser, but provided an even later date than the one last week. A Common Nighthawk at dawn was a tardy migrant. Warblers still around include Nashville, Blackpoll, Magnolia, and Ovenbird.

2 Oct: White-throated Sparrows finally arrived on the 30th, and today we had our first Golden-crowned Kinglets and Hermit Thrushes. A nice adult Bald Eagle flew over campus

September 2003:

29 Sep: Our first Winter Wren was found on a survey today, and a Blue-headed Vireo was banded (a treat!). A lingering Northern Parula was found today, and this was a new late date for Blackburnian Warbler. A Rusty Blackbird was found with a school group along the lake.

26 Sep: Finally, Yellow-rumped Warblers are here. A Marsh Wren in the swamp was only the third Dearborn record. A Peregrine Falcon buzzed the birds on the front lawn of Ford World Headquarters. What will probably be the last Common Nighthawk of fall passed over west Dearborn this evening.

24 Sep: Ruby-crowned Kinglets have arrived.

21 Sep: We banded our first Gray-cheeked Thrushes today; one was very small and we tried to make it into a Bicknell’s Thrush without success. Orange-crowned Warbler was also a new migrant. A Connecticut Warbler was heard near the banding nets, but didn’t get caught.

20 Sep: A Connecticut Warbler was seen by Fairlane Lake. Four Northern Rough-winged Swallows along the Rouge River channel were a little late.

16 Sep: The weather front of yesterday brought in some new migrants. We banded a beautiful male Golden-winged Warbler, nearly the late date for this species of which we see only a few in fall. A very late Eastern Kingbird was also banded.

9 Sep: The flood of migrants of the past few days dwindled today. A Philadelphia Vireo was a new arrival.

8 Sep: An Eastern Kingbird banded today is a tardy migrant, as most clear out by the end of August.

7 Sep: Things were really hopping today. Bay-breasted Warblers arrived — the last of the spruce budworm specialists (others = Cape May, Tennessee, Blackpoll warblers), all of which we are seeing in good numbers. A Lincoln’s Sparrow banded today is a new early date.

5 Sep: Nice variety of warblers here today, including a new early date for Northern Parula.

4 Sep: New arrivals today included Cape May Warbler and Palm Warbler.

2 Sep: Eleven species of warbler here today, including the season’s first Blue-winged, Mourning, Black-throated Green, and Black-throated Blue. The first Veery was also banded.

August 2003:

31 Aug: A Red-breasted Nuthatch was in east Dearborn today.

29 Aug: Chestnut-sided Warblers hit the nets today.

28 Aug: The first Blackpoll Warbler and Nashville Warbler of the season were banded today.

27 Aug: Swainson’s Thrushes arrived today.

25 Aug: A substantial influx of migrants today, with these species banded: Tennessee, Magnolia, Yellow, and Wilson’s Warblers, Ovenbird, and American Redstart.

24 Aug:A Lesser Yellowlegs was on the concrete channel of the Rouge River today.

21 Aug: The first Black-and-white Warbler and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher were banded today. A Blackburian Warbler was in east Dearborn.

20 Aug: A Tennessee Warbler was banded.

18 Aug: An Ovenbird and Northern Waterthrush were among the birds banded today. A Tennessee Warbler was seen.

8 Aug: Four Caspian Terns were at the Ford ponds at Beech and Oakwood.

1 Aug: A Caspian Tern on the Rouge River channel is early for fall.

June 2003:

30 Jun: A pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers has been seen frequently at the north end of the lake; this would be a first nesting record for the site if confirmed. Baby Gray Catbirds are beginning to fledge right now, while robins are on their second broods.

16 Jun: The Northern Mockingbird is still in the brush dump; within an hour another was seen across campus — two birds, or one wanderer?

8 Jun: An American Redstart was banded today; our late date for this species is June 15. However, beating the former late record by over a week was a White-crowned Sparrow banded on our last net run.

6 Jun: More late migrants banded today: A Swainson’s Thrush (we have several June dates, the lastest June 7), two Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (also not unusual in early June, but this ties the late date), Wilson’s Warbler (new late date), and Canada Warbler (new late date). During the spring season, March 1 to May 31, there were 146 species recorded in Dearborn, 134 of them on campus.

5 Jun: A late Nashville Warbler was in east Dearborn today. We’ve had one other June record, as well as an early southbound migrant in mid-July.

2 Jun: Migrant birds today included Canada, Wilson’s, and Mourning Warblers, Swainson’s Thrush, and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers.

1 Jun: Migrants continue to come through. Two more Lincoln’s Sparrows banded today established a late date for Dearborn, and a one-day record of seven Mourning Warblers were in the nets today. Also in today’s banding totals were seven Wilson’s Warblers, three Magnolia Warblers, one Canada Warbler, and an Ovenbird. Chestnut-sided and Black-throated Green Warblers are still present, along with Common Yellowthroats.

May 2003:

29 May: Our highlight today in the nets was a Gray Catbird first banded here in 1996 as an adult. We caught him again in 1997, 1998, and 1999, but not since. He is at least 8 years old. Seven Wilson’s Warblers was a good number for this late in the season, and we are still catching one or two Lincoln’s Sparrows every day (May 31 is our late date for them). A Gray-cheeked Thrush finally showed up in the nets today; thrushes have not been abundant this spring.

22 May: A Mourning Warbler was heard today, but things are still quiet on brisk east and north winds.

20 May: The weather front did not produce an influx of migrants, but an Acadian Flycatcher was found today, which has become an increasingly rare migrant in the area.

19 May: An Orchard Oriole and tardy White-throated Sparrow were in the Craves east Dearborn yard today, and we finally saw our first Common Nighthawk.

16 May: Another Summer Tanager, this one by the front entrance, hung around all day. The first Blackpoll Warbler of the year is here. A good variety of warblers and other migrants are widespread through the area.

15 May: A White-eyed Vireo is in the Craves east Dearborn yard.

11 May: Wind and rain once again made birding difficult, but there were clearly a new mix of birds, with Scarlet Tanager, Canada Warbler, and Wilson’s Warblers all putting in an appearance. In contrast with the very fat birds we’ve been banding, nearly every bird banded today was quite lean, indicating they were newer arrivals. Perhaps storms in the south restricted feeding somewhat.

10 May: Morning rain hampered banding and surveying today, but we managed to get out and find the first Tennessee Warblers of the year, among over a dozen other warblers species. The mockingbird continues at the brush dump. Blue Jay migration is peaking, with a number of good-sized flocking winging north over campus.

8 May: An Orchard Oriole was in west Dearborn.

7 May: Before the rain hit, we tallied some new arrivals: Cape May Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Eastern Kingbird, and Veery. A Peregrine Falcon was a fly-by over the Ford estate, and the Northern Mockingbird was chasing robins in the brush dump.

6 May: A Clay-colored Sparrow was banded today, in an area about a half mile from where one was last seen on May 2. A male Wood Thrush originally banded in 1995 is recaptured today; he is one of the first birds color banded in our study of Wood Thrush nesting success. Also recaptured was a Gray Catbird first banded in 1998. This is the 25th time we’ve caught this bird, who has returned to the area each year.

5 May: Zonotrichia sparrows are still here in abundance. The first Black-throated Blue Warbler is seen.

4 May: The first Cliff Swallows begin staking out their nest sites under the bridges of the Rouge River.

3 May: Things quieted down considerably. Great Crested Flycatcher and Blackburnian Warbler were a new arrivals. Two Tundra Swans flew over, and two Whippoorwills were calling before dawn.

2 May: Still many birds around, with new arrivals including Yellow-throated Vireo, Golden-winged Warbler, and American Redstart. The Clay-colored Sparrow was seen again today, working his (singing) way through campus…last seen by the playhouse in front of the Ford estate. A Grasshopper Sparrow, of which we have only a handful of records, was found in the brush dump in the afternoon. The first Ruby-throated Hummingbird of the season was in the Craves yard.

1 May: A large fallout of migrants overnight, with 72 species of birds recorded, 15 of them warblers. Most interesting were two Hooded Warblers, a Kentucky Warbler, Whippoorwill, Northern Mockingbird, and Clay-colored Sparrow. New arrivals on campus were: Solitary Sandpiper, Swainson’s and Wood Thrush, Gray Catbird, Lincoln’s Sparrow, and Baltimore Oriole. In the warbler department, recorded our first spring Yellow, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, and Bay-breasted (tied for early spring date), and Common Yellowthroat. In east Dearborn, the first Warbling Vireos, Northern Waterthrush, and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were found.

April 2003:

29 Apr: A very nice flock of migrants today, mostly White-throated Sparrows (~90) and Yellow-rumped Warblers (~120), and a smattering of other species including our first Ovenbird, Red-eyed Vireo (quite early), and Indigo Bunting (new early date). Others in the flock were Palm, Black-and-white, Black-throated Green, and Nashville Warblers, and Blue-headed Vireos. The first Chimney Swift of spring was also seen today.

28 Apr: A small push of migrants today — more White-throated Sparrows and we banded our first White-crowned Sparrow, Nashville Warbler, and Blue-winged Warbler today. An early Northern Parula was in the Craves east Dearborn yard today. A Merlin was seen again by the lake.

27 Apr: The first Green Herons are found on the lake.

26 Apr: An American Bittern was found on the lake this morning. The habitat is all wrong for bitterns, so this is only our second record in over 20 years. Even stranger, a male Ruddy Duck (first campus record) was found very freshly dead near the banding lab. The first Caspian Tern of the season was on the Rouge River.

25 Apr: Five Common Loons in two groups flew over today.

24 Apr: A Merlin flew over campus today. Two Brown Thrashers were banded.

23 Apr: Finally, the first Blue-headed Vireo.

21 Apr: Our first Palm Warbler was seen today.

20 Apr: Two kettles of Broad-winged Hawks (one 14 birds, the other 13 with two Cooper’s Hawks and one Sharp-shinned Hawk) were seen today in east Dearborn, as well as the first Northern Rough-winged Swallows. Also on campus the first Great Egret and Spotted Sandpiper.

19 Apr: The first Black-and-White Warbler of the year was found today, along with a kettle of 12-14 Broad-winged Hawks. A pair of Cooper’s Hawks are building a nest.

18 Apr: 25 Double-crested Cormorants are on the concrete channel of the Rouge River south of Rotunda Ave., along with two Common Loons, found yesterday. Barn Swallows also arrive.

16 Apr: New arrivals include House Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and Eastern Towhee.

15 Apr: Our first Field Sparrow is banded today.

14 Apr: Today was the first day of banding, and the first bird captured was a White-throated Sparrow first banded in October 2002, one of the many that spent the winter at our feeders. Our first Swamp Sparrow of spring was also banded, and a singing a Hermit Thrush was also heard. A female Red-winged Blackbird caught today had first been banded here in April 1998!

13 Apr: A Chipping Sparrow, first of the season, was banded in the Craves yard in east Dearborn today.

12 Apr: The first Common Loon flyby of spring and a singing Winter Wren were noted today.

11 Apr: A Northern Mockingbird was near the EIC feeders today.

10 Apr: A Pine Warbler has been visiting the EIC feeders since 8 Apr and was present again this morning. The first Ruby-crowned Kinglet of the season was found today. A pair of Hooded Mergansers has been seen often on Fairlane Lake for the past week. Fox Sparrows and Eastern Phoebes are around in small numbers.

March 2003:

30 Mar: Golden-crowned Kinglets are back, along with female Red-winged Blackbirds.

26 Mar: The Northern Mockingbird was seen again at the campus brush dump this morning. Eastern Phoebes have returned, and an Eastern Bluebird was also seen today, the latter being pretty rare in Dearborn due to lack of appropriate habitat.

24 Mar: Seven Black-crowned Night-herons and an American Coot were at the Ford Rouge Plant, along with a raft of Canvasbacks, and a few Lesser Scaup.

23 Mar: A male Hooded Merganser was on the Rouge River today. Ten Sandhill Cranes flew over the Southfield and Oakwood area.

21 Mar: A Pied-billed Grebe was on the pond in front of the Dearborn Civic Center, and a migrant Fox Sparrow appeared in the Craves yard. Common Grackles are already gathering nest materials.

20 Mar: A male Wood Duck and male Blue-winged Teal were on the lake today.

19 Mar: A Turkey Vulture over campus is a new spring arrival.

17 Mar: An adult Bald Eagle was in a perched near an office complex on Mercury Drive between Ford Road and Paul Street in northeast Dearborn. Killdeer have arrived, along with many new Common Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds.

13 Mar: A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker competes for sap with the maple syrup sap collectors.

11 Mar: Along with the European Goldfinch, a Fox Sparrow was at the sunflower fields today, and six Horned Larks circled over.

4 Mar: The European Goldfinch was found in the sunflower fields today.

3 Mar: The Gray Catbird was seen again today; this might be one of Michigan’s first overwintering records. A Golden-crowned Kinglet was seen on campus.

1 Mar: The Gray Catbird was seen all weekend in the Craves east Dearborn yard. At least seven observed the European Goldfinch in the sunflower fields today, along with a Fox Sparrow and at least one Chipping Sparrow. A Hermit Thrush was found on campus.

February 2003:

27 Feb: The sunflower fields continue to be productive. The European Goldfinch is still present, as are two Fox Sparrows, many White-throated Sparrows, six Common Grackles, and six Red-winged Blackbirds, along with hordes of the usual suspects.

23 Feb: An adult Bald Eagle is seen soaring over west Dearborn.

21 Feb: The first Common Grackle of the season is found in west Dearborn.

16 Feb: The Gray Catbird and Hermit Thrush continue in the Craves east Dearborn yard.

January 2003:

30 Jan: An adult male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was found across the river from campus.

27 Jan: A Swamp Sparrow and Northern Flicker are still present on campus. The Gray Catbird in the Craves yard was seen all weekend, and banded on 26 Jan.

19 Jan: The European Goldfinch continues to be seen at the Ford sunflower fields at Southfield and Hubbard in Dearborn, along with Fox Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, and White-crowned Sparrows, amid the more common species. Two new species were found today: a Field Sparrow and a male Purple Finch. A Hermit Thrush was in the Craves yard today.

18 Jan: A Gray Catbird was in the Craves yard today.

15 Jan: The European Goldfinch was seen again at the Ford sunflower fields at Southfield and Hubbard in Dearborn. An estimated 1,200 House Sparrows, 600 House Finches, at least two Fox Sparrows, at least 30 White-throated Sparrows, hundreds of American Tree Sparrows, and thousands of Dark-eyed Juncos are also present. Elsewhere, two Brown Creepers, 9 Yellow-rumped Warblers, and a Winter Wren were found just across the Rouge River from campus.

14 Jan: A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was seen near Fairlane Lake today, along with a Hermit Thrush. A couple of Yellow-rumped Warblers and a Northern Flicker were also observed today.

10 Jan: A singing European Goldfinch was carefully studied at the sunflower fields.

The Northern Mockingbird has been seen again at TGI Friday’s and flying across Evergreen Road (9 Jan) and today in the pine trees in front of the CASL Annex building on campus. A Swamp Sparrow today was a first campus winter record. Two Golden-crowned Kinglets continue on campus, as do one or two Northern Flickers. Around ten White-throated Sparrows are wintering at the EIC feeders.

1 Jan: The Detroit River MI/ON Christmas Bird Count was held today and the Dearborn portion had a record 51 species. Uncommon species were Black-crowned Night-Heron, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Brown Creeper (4), Winter Wren (2), Golden-crowned Kinglet (16), Yellow-rumped Warbler (5), Swamp Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, and Brown-headed Cowbird. The Northern Mockingbird was behind TGI Friday’s at Fairlane Mall; this bird has been around since October 2001. Really great birds were at the sunflower fields planted by Ford Motor Co. at Hubbard Drive and the Southfield service drive: our first winter record of Chipping Sparrow (4!, photographed), Fox Sparrow, and second winter record of White-crowned Sparrow along with hundreds of other birds. White-throated Sparrows continue to be abundant, with at least 30 at this location, and ten on campus.

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