Sighting archives 2005-2009


December 2008:

23 Dec: Yesterday’s Northern Harrier was seen again this morning (this time from a stationary car through binoculars!).

22 Dec: A Northern Harrier was seen flying from Southfield and Hubbard towards the wildflower field at Ford Road and Mercury, where it captured breakfast.

21 Dec: The Peregrine and the Merlin were both seen at Southfield and Hubbard. Eight Snow Buntings were also in the south sunflower field there. Two Fox Sparrows were located at Greenfield Village.

20 Dec: The Winter Bird Population Survey season began today. Six Pine Siskins were found feeding with a flock of American Goldfinches in the alders along the lake. A single Snow Bunting flew over. A Peregrine was found near the sunflower fields at Southfield and Hubbard.

12 Dec: A quick survey of the channel of the Rouge River and the boat slip at the Ford Rouge plant revealed several species of interest: 3 Greater Black-backed Gulls, 2 Common Mergansers, 2 Hooded Mergansers, and an American Black Duck.

10 Dec: Brown Creepers and at least one Red-breasted Nuthatch have been noted a few times on campus the last week or so.

8 Dec: A Merlin is once again wintering in the Dearborn sunflower fields. Since late November, it has been seen several times in an area roughly bounded by Mercury, Evergreen, Michigan, and Hubbard.

7 Dec: Thirty-five Snow Geese were seen flying over east Dearborn.

November 2008:

24 Nov: We’ve just received notice that a Northern Waterthrush banded here at RRBO on 30 April 2007 was captured and released at Cedar Grove Ornithological Station in Sheboygan Co., WI on 21 October 2008! The full story with photos is at Net Results.

23 Nov: Some decent birds were found today around the city. At the sunflower fields at Ford World HQ were one Merlin, a White-crowned Sparrow, a Common Grackle among over 50 Red-winged Blackbirds and a dozen Brown-headed Cowbirds, and a single White-throated Sparrow. A handful of White-throats were at the Southfield and Hubbard fields. There was still a lingering Killdeer along the concrete channel of the Rouge River between Southfield and Rotunda. A Fox Sparrow has been frequenting a feeder in east Dearborn. In contrast to last year, only a few Red-breasted Nuthatches seem to be wintering in the city, with two in east Dearborn noted today.

12 Nov: A Fox Sparrow was at the feeders on campus today. A small flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers was feeding on poison ivy berries in the hickory meadow, and two Brown Creepers were also noted.

4 Nov: A very late Warbling Vireo was banded today — actually, it was a recapture of the same already-late bird banded on 10 October. Today was the first day that a Hermit Thrush was not recorded or banded, so most have apparently left.

2 Nov: A Ruby-crowned Kinglet was observed in west Dearborn.

October 2008:

24 Oct: A nice male Purple Finch was banded today…there’s a photo at Net Results.

14 Oct: The first American Tree Sparrow was banded today.

10 Oct: A Warbling Vireo banded today was 10 days later than our previous late fall date. A Bald Eagle was seen along the Rouge River channel near Greenfield Village.

2 Oct: A smattering of Ruby-crowned Kinglets were found today, but Golden-crowns outnumbered them 3 to 1. An Osprey was at the lake. Only a few species of warbler were found on a survey: Yellow-rumped, Nashville, and Black-throated Blue.

1 Oct: Before it got too windy to band, we caught the first several Winter Wrens of the season. Golden-crowned Kinglets also arrived on the scene today.

September 2008:

29 Sep: A pretty quiet day, but the first Hermit Thrush of the year was banded. The first Dark-eyed Juncos were reported from east Dearborn.

28 Sep: An obvious arrival of White-throated Sparrows happened overnight. At least two Red-breasted Nuthatches were also heard. The third Connecticut Warbler was banded today…unfortunately after most participants in a Detroit Audubon field trip had departed.

27 Sep: An influx of migrants was evident in east Dearborn, with Cape May and Blackburnian Warbler and Northern Parula noted, along with the first Red-breasted Nuthatch of the fall season.

26 Sep: Another Connecticut Warbler was banded today, and the first White-crowned Sparrow was seen (and we haven’t yet recorded White-throated Sparrow on campus!).

24 Sep: Fall’s first Blue-headed Vireo was banded today.

22 Sep: The first fall Philadelphia Vireo was banded today. They usually have a pretty tight migration window between the 15th and 25th of September.

18 Sep: The first Connecticut Warbler and Yellow-rumped Warbler were found today. Blackpoll Warblers remain the most numerous warbler species present.

17 Sep: The largest flight of migrating Broad-winged Hawks ever recorded in Dearborn occurred in late afternoon. In the vicinity of Michigan Avenue and Outer Drive, 2700 passed over inside of one hour. At about the same time, 475 were seen passing over the Oakwood and Southfield area. The total count of Broad-wings at the Detroit River Hawk Watch at Lake Erie Metro Park was under 900 birds on unfavorable southwest winds. Other observers noted movement west and north of the hawk watch as well, including at Crosswinds Marsh in Wayne Co. and Saline in Washtenaw Co.

16 Sep: I heard a substantial passage of migrants overhead before dawn this morning. There were modest numbers in pockets here today. Our first Lincoln’s Sparrow of fall was banded.

14 Sep: The first Northern Parula of fall was recorded today.

11 Sep: The first Gray-cheeked Thrush of fall was banded today.

9 Sep: A Golden-winged Warbler was present in the morning mob of migrants behind the EIC. I’ve posted a piece about bill tumors at Net Results.

8 Sep: A large group of warblers and other migrants was located this morning on campus, and included the first Canada Warblers of the season. A Broad-winged Hawk spent awhile being harassed by Blue Jays in the banding area as well. All of the common warblers that we would expect to have arrived by now have all been reported at least once.

7 Sep: Rain cancelled the scheduled banding in the morning, but the first Bay-breasted and Black-and White Warblers, and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers of the season were observed in east Dearborn.

6 Sep: More warblers arrived, with a dozen or so species noted around the city. Among them on campus was the first fall Black-throated Green Warbler. In east Dearborn, the first Black-throated Blue Warbler was reported.

4 Sep: A weak cold front moved through, and seemed to have pushed some of yesterday’s migrants out, although the first fall Blackpoll Warbler and Common Yellowthroat were banded today. A Baltimore Oriole was also still present.

3 Sep: The first fall Swainson’s Thrush and Orange-crowned Warbler were banded today.

2 Sep: Several first-of-season species were banded today: Magnolia Warbler, Nashville Warbler, and Northern Waterthrush. Both Red-eyed and Warbling Vireos are numerous in the area.

August 2008:

31 Aug: Another (the same) Osprey was seen today, this one along the Rouge River channel.

30 Aug: A Chestnut-sided Warbler was reported from east Dearborn.

27 Aug: An Ovenbird was banded today, and an American Redstart was present, along with a few other unidentified warblers. Otherwise, things have been fairly quiet.

24 Aug: An Osprey was present on Fairlane Lake today. Common Nighthawk migration has begun, with modest numbers (<40) being seen in the evenings.

22 Aug: Another molting Tennessee Warbler was banded today, along with the first Wilson’s Warbler of the season. In east Dearborn, the first Blackburnian Warbler of fall was noted.

21 Aug: A migrant “Traill’s” Flycatcher (a Willow or Alder) was banded today.

20 Aug: Our first fall migrant is banded today, a molting Tennessee Warbler. This species is considered a “molt migrant” — whereas most songbirds molt before migrating, Tennessee Warblers molt during migration. You can read more and see photos at Net Results.

19 Aug: Our 16th season of fall banding begins with the usual captures of young resident birds — mostly Gray Catbirds, but also Northern Cardinal and Black-capped Chickadee.

July 2008:

7 July: We received a report of an American Robin banded as a hatching-year bird on campus in fall 2003 being found dead in Rockwood, MI last month.

5 July: A Red-shouldered-Hawk was observed near Oakwood Hospital, and a Red-breasted Nuthatch was heard in east Dearborn.

June 2008

30 June: Two Northern Mockingbirds were found in an industrial area in east Dearborn on the border of Detroit.

27 June: A tantalizing report of a probable Barn Owl flying over west Dearborn this evening. This would be the first report for Dearborn, and the county, in many years.

7 June: The Northern Parula was still singing behind Fair Lane estate today, a new late date for this species.

4 June: The Prothonotary Warbler remains on the west side the lake, singing frequently. A Northern Parula found singing yesterday afternoon behind Fair Lane estate was still there this morning, as was a Blackpoll Warbler in east Dearborn that was also first heard yesterday.

3 June: It’s not quite over yet. Only a very few passage migrants have been recorded on surveys the last few days. Today, however, there was a singing Prothonotary Warbler towards the north end of the lake — a new late date for this species for spring. There was also an American Redstart, and a Blackburnian Warbler (this ties the late spring date for the Blackburnian). One of the two Common Yellowthroats was one that has been on territory, but the other was likely a migrant. Same with two different Yellow-throated Vireos found today. Both species of cuckoos have been found every day the last few days. The only reliable location has been near the gate to the lakeside trail and near the south end of the lake for Yellow-billed Cuckoos. A pair nested in this vicinity last year.

May 2008:

30 May: The Olive-sided Flycatcher was heard again today, just up Fairlane Drive from the Estate in the pine trees near the stone cottages. It may also end up in the pines just off the patio of the Estate next to the boathouse where it was found yesterday.

29 May: An Olive-sided Flycatcher was found this morning near the boathouse of the Fair Lane Estate. A few Alder Flycatchers remained, but there were hardly any warblers around today. While Yellow-throated Vireos are local breeders, they have never nested on campus. One found today, therefore, established a new late spring date for this species.

28 May: A modest number of migrants came in last night, mostly flycatchers. There were at least 9 singing Alder Flycatchers near the lake today. Three Mourning Warblers and three Yellow-billed Cuckoos were also highlights.

27 May: It was another quiet (cold, windy) morning, but some interesting birds turned up. There was a female Connecticut Warbler along the lakeside trail north of the Orchard Trail. The first Yellow-bellied Flycatcher of the season was just off the patio of Fair Lane Estate. Behind the Estate’s greenhouse, there was a singing male Orchard Oriole.

24 May: There was an obvious exodus of birds the night of the 22nd. While flycatchers have begun increasing in numbers, many migrants — the majority of thrushes, Magnolia and Chestnut-sided Warblers, for instance — moved on by yesterday. The first Common Nighthawk of the season was in east Dearborn.

Today there were some new birds evident, but it was relatively quiet and there were still many lingering migrants. The best bird was a Blue-headed Vireo, which was a new late spring date. Also still present were White-throated Sparrow and Ruby-crowned Kinglet, as well as more White-crowned Sparrows than I can recall seeing this late in May.

22 May: The steady trickle continues. Another Ruby-crowned Kinglet was found today, along with a singing White-throated Sparrow, a half-dozen White-crowned Sparrows, and five Black-and-white Warblers — all early migrants. Meanwhile, the first Yellow-billed Cuckoo of the season was noted, as well a lovely male Golden-winged Warbler. Overall, 19 warbler species, including six Mourning Warblers and an obvious increase in Tennessee Warblers.

21 May: It was cold and windy this morning, and birds were not as evident. The most interesting bird was a singing male Ruby-crowned Kinglet, nearly a late date for spring.

20 May: Birds are trickling through, despite unfavorable winds, with 75 species recorded today. The Acadian Flycatcher in the floodplain south of the stone bridge was heard again today. An Olive-sided Flycatcher was a one-minute wonder near Fair Lane Estate before flying off into the wild blue yonder. The first Black-billed Cuckoos were heard today, and a late Purple Finch was also located. Veeries and Swainson’s Thrushes are around in good numbers, although hard to see in the thick undergrowth. There are still White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows around, as well as a Red-breasted Nuthatch. The most common of the 17 species of warblers recorded today was American Redstart. Late warbler migrants such as Blackpoll, Bay-breasted, and Mourning are also starting to show up.

17 May: Birds really cleared out last night. However, a highlight was an Acadian Flycatcher in the floodplain.

16 May: 71 species today, including the first Philadelphia Vireos and Wilson’s Warblers. A male Hooded Warbler was found between the Rose Garden and Jensen’s Meadow. Another Bobolink flew over.

15 May: Birdier today, with 69 species recorded, including the first spring Canada and Mourning Warblers.

14 May: A similar mix of birds today as yesterday, but the first Gray-cheeked Thrush of the season was located. A Bobolink flyover was also uncommon for campus. Later in the day in east Dearborn, the first Blackpoll Warbler, Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Willow/Alder Flycatcher were recorded.

13 May: Despite good conditions overnight for migration, today was quite slow (and radar loops indicated birds pushed mostly west of this side of the state last night). The best bird was a singing Cerulean Warbler along Fairlane Drive opposite the Pony Barn. Although we didn’t see it fly off, it abruptly stopped singing and we were unable to relocate it despite a wide search.

12 May: A cold and drizzly morning, but 18 species of warblers were found on the survey today, including the first Bay-breasted Warbler of the season. Common Loon was also seen flying over campus.

11 May: A Blackburnian Warbler in east Dearborn was the first of the season.

10 May: Today was the North American Migration Count. North winds overnight made it a rather slow day. There were 66 species recorded on campus, and 82 species in the city overall. Highlights include a rare spring Merlin flyover, a Red-breasted Nuthatch, and the first Eastern Kingbird and Eastern Wood-Pewee of the spring. Other migrants were few and far between.

9 May: A Dark-eyed Junco was found on the east end of town today. Although not a late date it’s getting tardy.

8 May: A Prothonotary Warbler and a White-eyed Vireo were in a small flock of warblers at the south end of the lake this morning; it also included two Orange-crowned Warblers. The first Swainson’s Thrush of the year was in east Dearborn.

6 May: Black-throated Blue Warblers have arrived, along with increased numbers of Nashville Warblers in particular. The first American Redstart of the spring was reported from near Oakwood Hospital. A Red-headed Woodpecker was located in the swamp on campus today.

4 May: At Dearborn’s Ford Field, there was an immature male Orchard Oriole, and a sing Pine Warbler today. The first Northern Parula was also found on campus.

3 May: The first Magnolia Warbler of the season is recorded.

2 May: A nice day today, not huge numbers, but new arrivals and nice variety. I had 62 species. A beautiful (but silent) male Summer Tanager was in the first garden by the Fairlane Estate patio. There was also the first Cape May Warbler of spring in the same location. Other first-of-season species were Least Flycatcher, Indigo Bunting, and Lincoln’s Sparrow. Blue Jays were really on the move. I had over 200, and most of the time I did not have a clear view of the sky. Many more orioles and catbirds as well.

1 May: A nice influx of migrants today. New migrants were Tennessee Warbler and Orange-crowned Warbler. There were good numbers of Yellow-rumped Warblers; handfuls of Palm, Yellow, Chestnut-sided, and Black-throated Green Warblers; and a smattering of Nashville and Black-and-White Warblers, Common Yellowthroat, and Northern Waterthrush.

April 2008:

30 Apr: We end up the month with the first spring White-crowned Sparrow seen in east Dearborn.

29 Apr: A singing Northern Waterthrush was the only new spring arrival found today.

28 Apr: The first Green Herons of the season were found on the Rouge River channel today.

27 Apr: New arrivals on campus were Gray Catbird, Blue-winged Warbler, Ovenbird, Baltimore Oriole, Veery, Yellow-throated and Warbling Vireos, and Cliff Swallow. The first Rose-breasted Grosbeak showed up in our east Dearborn yard. Although this is nice variety, most species occurred in just singles or small numbers.

26 Apr: A number of new migrant species arrived today, although not in any big numbers. The day began at 3:30 AM with a Whippoorwill in east Dearborn. The female Summer Tanager was seen again today near the north end of the lake, in with a flock that included the first Red-eyed Vireo, Nashville Warbler, and Black-throated Green Warbler. Four Purple Finches were also with them, and the only sizeable group of White-throated Sparrows, which seem to have thinned out. Two Chestnut-sided Warblers (ties the early date) and a Great Crested Flycatcher were also new today. Other warblers included Yellow-rumped, Yellow, Palm, and Black-and-white. A Scarlet Tanager furnished a new early date for Dearborn. Finally, a Common Yellowthroat and a Wood Thrush were found in west Dearborn; both were seasonal firsts, and the Wood Thrush ties the early spring record.

25 Apr: There was a large influx of White-throated Sparrows overnight, with many in the area today. A female-plumaged tanager was seen by several of us high in the treetops which we concluded was a Summer Tanager (not an early date for this species here, although it would be over a week early for Scarlet Tanager). Other new arrivals were Yellow Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, and Blue-headed Vireo. Two female-plumaged Purple Finches were also recorded today, as well a lingering Dark-eyed Junco.

24 Apr: Today the first House Wren of the season was in east Dearborn. Seven Tundra Swans flew very low over campus this morning.

23 Apr: Things have been quite slow. There was a good movement of Yellow-rumped Warblers, but they were primarily flying over to the north, or moving quickly through the treetops. The first Chimney Swift was recorded today, as well as a Pine Warbler.

20 Apr: The Pine Siskin seen a few days ago was spotted again in east Dearborn again today.

19 Apr: The first Palm Warblers were found today, including a very bright individual which may have been one of the eastern race. Brown Thrashers also arrived today. Along the Rouge River channel, the first Spotted Sandpipers of the season were found, and American Tree Sparrows were still present. At a wet spot along Executive Drive and Mercury, there was an early Lesser Yellowlegs.

18 Apr: The Bald Eagle seen several days ago near the Rouge River channel at Michigan and Southfield is one of a pair building a nest on Greenfield Village property. Common Terns and Eastern Meadowlark were the first for the season today. Four Purple Finches visited a feeder in east Dearborn.

17 Apr: A Pine Siskin was in east Dearborn today.

15 Apr: An adult Bald Eagle was seen flying the Rouge River channel at Michigan and Southfield. A Swamp Sparrow was the only new spring arrival today. South winds tonight should bring in some migrants.

14 Apr: A Virginia Rail was heard calling on a pond at the TPC Golf Course. This is only the second Dearborn record; the last was in 1981. A Sandhill Crane was in a field along the Rouge River channel. Typically these are seen as flyovers, and this was the latest spring date.

12 Apr: A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher today furnished a new early spring arrival date. There are slowly increasing numbers of Chipping Sparrows, both kinglets, Hermit Thrushes, and Fox Sparrows.

10 Apr: A Common Loon flew over campus today.

9 Apr: A number of new arrivals today: Chipping Sparrow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Northern Rough-winged Swallow (new early date), Barn Swallow, and Savannah Sparrow.

8 Apr: A pair (or two, anyway) Red-shouldered Hawks were found in the swamp in appropriate breeding habitat.. A singing Hermit Thrush was the first for the season.

7 Apr: A Winter Wren is a new spring arrival today, along with the first migrant White-throated Sparrow. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers turned up in multiple locations today. Many Northern Flickers were also present.

5 Apr: A lone Tree Swallow along the Rouge River channel was the first for spring.

4 Apr: An adult Bald Eagle was reported flying over the Michigan Avenue and Telegraph Road area. The first Eastern Towhee of the season arrived on campus today.

3 Apr: The first Golden-crowned Kinglets of the season were found today, as well as the first migrant Fox Sparrows. Several Rusty Blackbirds were in the flooded forest.

2 Apr: Eastern Phoebes have arrived. A Horned Grebe is still present at the Ford pond on Village Road west of Oakwood, although one has been seen more often at the pond in the east side of Oakwood at Beech.

March 2008:

31 Mar: The Horned Grebe at the Ford pond on Village Road west of Oakwood was present this morning.

29 Mar: The Common Loon continued at the Ford Rouge Plant boat slip. The first Great Egret of the season was at the TPC Golf Course. At the fields on the south side of Hubbard at Southfield there were two Rusty Blackbirds, about 16 Common Redpolls, and a singing Fox Sparrow.

28 Mar: A Common Loon at the Ford Rouge Plant boat slip is a new early date. The Horned Grebes mentioned below were still present today.

26 Mar: Two more Horned Grebes were found today: one each at the Ford ponds (one is on Village Road west of Oakwood, the other is on the east side of Oakwood at Beech).

24 Mar: A Field Sparrow along the concrete channel of the Rouge River is a few days earlier than previous records of spring migrants.

23 Mar: The Rouge River at the Ford Rouge Plant had a good mix of waterfowl this weekend. The highlight was two White-winged Scoters, a new species for Dearborn. This winter has seen good numbers of this species in the Great Lakes region. This is species #251 for Dearborn, plus 4 hypothetical. Also uncommon were three Horned Grebes, still in winter plumage. This is only the 10th record for Dearborn. The previous records occurred in just five different years, and this is the earliest spring date they have been recorded.

Other waterfowl present were nearly 200 Canvasbacks, and smaller numbers of Redheads and Lesser Scaup. Species counted in very modest numbers included Greater Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, Ring-necked Duck, Hooded Merganser, Pied-billed Grebe, and Double-crested Cormorant.

17 Mar: A Northern Shrike was at the east end of sunflower field #1 at Hubbard and Southfield.

13 Mar: For the last several days, a large flock (>100 birds) of Cedar Waxwings has been feeding on juniper berries in front of the city’s Performing Arts Center on Michigan Avenue west of Greenfield. So far, no Bohemian Waxwings! The giant flock of Brown-headed Cowbirds, today numbering nearly 1000 birds, was in the vicinity of sunflower field #6.

12 Mar: The first Turkey Vulture of the season were seen today.

3 Mar: The first Common Grackles arrived in a couple of locations in Dearborn. Brown-headed Cowbirds, and probably a few Red-winged Blackbirds, overwintered in the Southfield and Rotunda area (the cowbird flock numbered up to 600 birds), and will thus make lousy harbingers of spring.

2 Mar: A Red-breasted Merganser and Bufflehead were in the concrete channel of the Rouge south of Rotunda today. This is the earliest “spring” date for the merganser, which is not a very common species in the city.

January 2008:

28 Jan: On campus today there were 6 Common Redpolls in the alders by the boathouse at the Henry Ford Estate. Nearby was a Brown Creeper, and a Belted Kingfisher was hanging around the small open spots on the river.

27 Jan: At the fields at Hubbard and Southfield there were 17 Common Redpolls, a White-throated Sparrow, a White-crowned Sparrow, a Fox Sparrow, and 2 flyover Snow Buntings.

20 Jan: A Pine Siskin was at a feeder in east Dearborn.

15 Jan: Thirteen Common Redpolls were feeding on alders at the north end of Fairlane Lake.

13 Jan: A Golden-crowned Kinglet was found on the survey along with about ten Common Redpolls at the north end of Fairlane Lake.

9 Jan: A Horned Lark was recorded on the survey flying over campus.

1 Jan: The Detroit River Christmas Bird count was conducted yesterday. In the Dearborn portion of the count 49 species were recorded. Unusual species were Northern Shrike (in the fields east of Ford World Headquarters), American Black Duck, Hooded Merganser, and 35 Black-crowned Night-herons (all at the Ford Rouge Plant), 50 flyover Snow Buntings, and a total of 53 Common Redpolls, about half on campus and half in the fields at Hubbard and Southfield. Other highlights at those fields were a Fox Sparrow and 10 White-crowned Sparrows, and the dark-colored Peregrine Falcon. The female Merlin was found near Ford World Headquarters. We had very high count of over 1300 Brown-headed Cowbirds, with flocks split between the Hubbard and Southfield fields and those at Rotunda and Southfield, where there were also over 100 Red-winged Blackbirds.

Hunting pressure from raptors seems to have driven Mourning Doves from the area. Many hundreds were present in the sunflower fields earlier in the winter but a new low count on count day. Three Northern Saw-whet Owls were found the day before the count, but the strong low pressure system with accompanying snow and wind the night before the count may have moved them along.

Will American Crows ever recover in this area from West Nile Virus? This is the sixth year of continuous barely-there counts, with only three recorded this year.

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