Sighting archives 2005-2009


November 2005:

7 Nov: A Northern Saw-whet Owl is heard in the tangles back in the swamp.

8 Nov: A Bald Eagle is seen flying over the concrete channel.

22 Nov: Another Bald Eagle is seen flying over, this one over campus.

29 Nov: Not to be redundant, but an adult Bald Eagle was seen today, this one perched on campus on Fairlane Lake.

October 2005:

21 Oct: A Gray-cheeked Thrush caught today was a new late date.

20 Oct: An Indigo Bunting and a Gray Catbird were among birds banded today. These aren’t late dates, but likely the last of the season.

16 Oct: Species typical of late autumn are arriving. Our first Purple Finch was banded on 14 Oct, and one was singing today; two others were banded. Several Rusty Blackbirds were also around today.

11 Oct: Today RRBO put its 25,000th band on a bird, a White-throated Sparrow! Read more here. It was one of 16 species banded today, including several warbler species: American Redstart, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Nashville Warbler, and Orange-crowned Warbler. The first Yellow-bellied Sapsucker of the season was seen.

10 Oct: A Black-and-white Warbler was seen today, along with Blackpoll Warblers, Swainson’s Thrush (one also banded), and Orange-crowned Warblers. Chimney Swifts are still coming through in small numbers.

6 Oct: A late Blue-winged Warbler was banded today. Tennesee Warblers are still moving through, but we haven’t seen our peak of sparrows or Hermit Thrushes yet.

September 2005:

30 Sep: Blue-headed Vireos and Winter Wrens were recorded on the survey today, a Connecticut was among the eleven species of warblers in the area.

27 Sep: The first Orange-crowned Warbler of the season is banded today.

25 Sep: Golden-crowned Kinglets have hit town.

24 Sep: The number of migrants was surprisingly diminished today, but our first Ruby-crowned Kinglet was banded.

23 Sep: The strong cold front produced a wave of migrants, including our first White-crowned Sparrow, and a late Golden-winged Warbler.

18 Sep: We’ve had increasing numbers of migrants, but most of the same species until today. This morning was very good, with a nice influx of Philadelphia Vireos (three banded) and Swainson’s Thrushes, as well as our first White-throated Sparrows, Gray-cheeked Thrushes, and Lincoln’s Sparrow.

14 Sep: A Peregrine Falcon has been seen lately hanging around Fairlane Town Center office buildings.

9 Sep: An increase in Blackpoll Warblers today, plus our first Northern Parulas. An adult female Connecticut Warbler was banded today, and Yellow-rumped Warblers have arrived.

7 Sep: A number of species arrived over the holiday weekend: today we had our first Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Black-throated Green Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, and Ovenbirds. A Yellow-billed Cuckoo was also found.

2 Sep: The first Cape May Warbler of the season was banded.

August 2005:

29 Aug: Nashville Warbler and Wilson’s Warbler in the nets were new arrivals.

26 Aug: New migrants banded today were Ovenbird and Black-throated Blue Warbler.

24 Aug: The first migrant Swainson’s Thrush was seen by the lake. Eastern Phoebes are more often seen as migrants later in the season, but one was here today. A Philadelphia Vireo banded today tied the early arrival date.

22 Aug: A Northern Waterthrush was banded today.

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

19 Aug: The first American Redstart and Least Flycatcher of the season was banded today.

18 Aug: Banding season has started again. In addition to the usual annual crop of young catbirds, several warblers were banded today: Black-and-white, Tennesee, Chestnut-sided, and Magnolia.

June 2005:

8 Jun: A singing Magnolia Warbler in east Dearborn was a tardy migrant, but still not the latest we’ve had in spring.

7 Jun: And still: a late Whippoorwill in east Dearborn. A Yellow-billed Cuckoo was on campus; this species waits until there is an abundant food supply (often tent caterpillars) before nesting, so may still be wandering around at this date.

6 Jun: Late migrants STILL being found — this time an Acadian Flycatcher singing in the Rose Garden.

May 2005:

25 May: Common Nighthawks have begun to show up around the city. A White-eyed Vireo was singing behind the EIC today.

24 May: A survey today came up with 72 species, but it was hard work. Several Mourning Warblers were found, but no Connecticut today. A Northern Parula tied the late date today, one of a total of 16 warbler species, including Black-throated Green and Black-and-white (still), Orange-crowned, and many American Redstarts. A Red-breasted Nuthatch is getting late for a migrant (there is no breeding habitat here). The Northern Mockingbird in the brush dump was singing again. We’re beginning to suspect that there are two birds here finally. Time will tell!

23 May: A Connecticut Warbler was singing off and on for most of the morning behind the EIC, and headed towards the south end of the lake.

20 May: The first Philadelphia Vireos are here.

17 May: Mourning Warblers have arrived.

16 May: New arrivals today were Canada Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, and Alder/Willow Flycatcher. A Red-breasted Nuthatch in east Dearborn was getting tardy for a migrant.

15 May: A Grasshopper Sparrow sang briefly in the Organic Garden.

13 May: Much quieter today. New birds were a single Gray-cheeked Thrush and a Solitary Sandpiper.

12 May: Birds were harder to detect today in the cold wind, and found mostly in pockets. Yellow-rumped and Palm were the dominant warblers. The highlight was definately our second record of Blue Grosbeak, this bird a second-year male (and thus mottled blue and brown) feeding with a group of White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows.

11 May: Not quite as birdy as yesterday, and the only new species recorded were Black-throated Blue Warbler and Cape May Warbler. Northern Parulas were found in east Dearborn, and the first Common Nighthawk in west Dearborn.

10 May: New species continue to arrive. Today we had Black-billed Cuckoo, Acadian Flycatcher, Blackpoll Warbler, and Scarlet Tanager, in addition to species already present. Nearly all the migrants banded today had very little fat, indicating that they have probably just arrived. There is also some evidence that many birds of some species probably overflew our area. Typically, older males arrive first, followed by younger males, and older females then younger females arrive last (there is overlap, of course). For example, Nashville Warblers have only been present a few days, but nearly all that I have caught have been young females, and a few young males, perhaps an indication that the older birds have already made for their northern nesting territories.

9 May: Very nice uptick in diversity today, with 16 species of warblers, including our first Magnolias, Blackburnians, Bay-breasted, American Redstart, Ovenbird, and Northern Waterthrush. A Whippoorwill was also flushed, and another was reported from a residential area in west Dearborn. While it sounds like from reports from up north that many sparrows bypassed southern Michigan, we got the dregs, with lots of White-crowns, Swamps, and Lincoln’s in the area. Other new arrivals were Indigo Bunting and Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Two Purple Finches were also present.

8 May: New migrants continue to arrive, with numbers modestly increasing. Today we had Least Flycatcher and Orange-crowned Warbler, both in the field and in the nets.

7 May: Another flurry of activity, with Blue-winged Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak all being found today.

6 May: Some additional diversity, but still very low numbers today. New arrivals were Wood Thrush, Gray Catbird, Great Crested Flycatcher, Nashville Warbler, Baltimore Oriole, Broad-winged Hawk, and Lincoln’s Sparrow.

4 May: RRBO banded its first Grasshopper Sparrow today, only the third campus record and fifth city record.

A hint of movement was evident today, with the first Black-throated Green Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, and Warbling Vireo of the season seen, and the first White-crowned Sparrow banded. A Common Loon was a flyover, and there was a modest increase in the number of Yellow-rumped Warblers as well.
3 May: The first Palm Warbler was found on the concrete channel of the Rouge River today.

Apr 2005:

30 Apr: A Black-and-white Warbler is reported.

28 Apr: The first Spotted Sandpiper and a pair of Blue-winged Teal were along the concrete channel today.

26 Apr: After a remarkable weekend of snow, the modest migration ground to a halt. Today our first Common Yellowthroat was seen, but things remain very quiet.

21 Apr: Two House Wrens were seen and another banded; also in the nets today was the first Yellow Warbler. The first Green Heron of the season was also found today.

19 Apr: A singing Blue-headed Vireo was seen today, early by a couple of days. Otherwise, things seem fairly quiet.

18 Apr: Today there was a notable influx of White-throated Sparrows, and the first Swamp Sparrow of the season was banded. Purple Finch and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher were on campus, as was a Pine Warbler. Red-letter bird of the day was the first Northern Mockingbird ever banded by RRBO, even more notable because it was not the bird that has been resident of the other end of campus. That makes three mockingbirds in Dearborn at the moment.

An early Chimney Swift was seen in east Dearborn.

17 Apr: In east Dearborn, the first migrant White-throated Sparrow and Purple Finch were coming to a feeder. A lingering Red-breasted Nuthatch was also in the neighborhood. On campus, two Rusty Blackbirds were in the swamp, a pair of Common Mergansers were getting late on the river, and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was also noted. The first Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was reported as well.

16 Apr: An Eastern Bluebird was found on campus.

14 Apr: The first Brown Thrasher of the season was on campus, and an early Cliff Swallow was on the Rouge River channel.

11 Apr: The first Ruby-crowned Kinglet was found today, and a pair of Common Mergansers was on the lake. An adult Bald Eagle was seen over Southfield and Rotunda.

10 Apr: Savannah Sparrows and Barn Swallows have returned to the concrete channel.

8 Apr: Two N. Rough-winged Swallows along the river were early by a few days. In addition to our faithful, silent, and therefore probably female Northern Mockingbird, still hanging around the brush dump, there is another mockingbird in Dearborn — this one a very enthusiastic male. It’s hanging out at the UAW office on Dix and Wyoming near the Ford Rouge Plant.

7 Apr: The season’s first Hermit Thrush was seen this morning.

6 Apr: Yellow-rumped Warblers were reported today, along with an American Coot near the lake.

5 Apr: Tree Swallows have been present for a few days in coastal areas, but made their first appearance in Dearborn today.

3 Apr: Nearly four dozen Double-crested Cormorants were at the Ford Rouge Plant today.

1 Apr: A Bonaparte’s Gull at the Ford Village Road ponds was a new early date.

Mar 2005:

31 Mar (updated): Two Fox Sparrows were along Jensen’s Meadow today among a flock of over 50 juncos and nearly a dozen Song Sparrows. A female Hooded Merganser was on the lake, and a Winter Wren was singing near the EIC. Later in the afternoon, the first Chipping Sparrow was also in the meadow (new early date). The first Rusty Blackbird was near the lake, and two Field Sparrows were in the Organic Garden. In east Dearborn, a male Eastern Towhee was a new spring arrival.

30 Mar: Wood Ducks and Eastern Phoebes have returned to campus, and Golden-crowned Kinglets were in east Dearborn.

29 Mar: Three Ring-necked Ducks were on the Ford pond on Oakwood Blvd.

27 Mar: A Horned Grebe was at the Ford Rouge Plant today. There aren’t a lot of Horned Grebe records for Dearborn, and this is exactly the time they were reported last year. A Great Egret on the channelized portion of the Rouge River was an early record.

19 Mar: Our first American Woodcock was reported today.

13 Mar: Winter is certainly lingering. Much of the still water remains frozen, and waterfowl at the Ford Rouge Plant still consists of winter species. However, the first Turkey Vulture of the season was seen flying over campus today.

Feb 2005:

18 Feb: A Merlin flew over the Southfield Freeway and Ford Road this morning. The large flock of Red-winged Blackbirds remains in the vicinity of the Ford World Headquarters.

17 Feb: A Peregrine Falcon was seen at the Ford Rouge Plant today.

16 Feb: The first Common Grackle of the year flew over campus this morning.

9 Feb: The Northern Mockingbird has been quite reliable the last few weeks near the boat house at the Henry Ford Estate.

6 Feb: Two Bufflehead, two Ring-necked Ducks, a handful of Greater and Lesser Scaup, some Redheads, and many Canvasbacks and Common Mergansers are in the Rouge River near the Ford Rouge Plant.

5 Feb: Three Horned Larks flew over the Hubbard sunflower fields today. At least five White-crowned Sparrows are wintering there. The large flock of Red-winged Blackbirds (no cowbirds) remains in the fields as well.

Jan 2005:

30 Jan: The Northern Mockingbird was back at the sumac tree next to the boathouse at the Estate today. The wintering male Bufflehead in the vicinity of the Ford Rouge plant was still present (this bird is the second wintering record), along with a Ruddy Duck (occasional winter visitor).

29 Jan: A male Northern Harrier was cruising the south sunflower field off of Hubbard today. We have only one other winter record of harrier in Dearborn.

21 Jan: Our regular Northern Mockingbird was seen today in a sumac tree next to the boathouse at the Estate. It was seen last year at this location, although it spends most of its time in the brush dump.

20 Jan: The Northern Shrike was seen at the west end of the field on the south side of Hubbard at around noon today.

15 Jan: The field on the south side of Hubbard had three White-crowned Sparrows along with around a small group of White-throated Sparrows, a hundred Dark-eyed Juncos, and 40 American Tree Sparrows, and many House Sparrows, House Finches, etc. The field on the north side of Hubbard had about 200 Red-winged Blackbirds, only about a half dozen females, and one Brown-headed Cowbird. House Finches were in the hundreds. A single Bufflehead was at the Ford Rouge Plant.

10 Jan: There have been no further sightings of the Gyrfalcon, despite many people looking over the weekend. It appears to have moved on, as there are very few ducks in the immediate area.

9 Jan: A Merlin was reported at the Gyrfalcon site; a Merlin spent about two weeks at the sunflower field along Michigan Avenue (less than a half-mile south of the Gyrfalcon location) last January. In the fields south of Hubbard, a Northern Shrike was observed in the tree line.

7 Jan: A search of the channelized portion of the Rouge River channel did turn up a light morph Rough-legged Hawk near where the river goes under the Southfield service drive.

6 Jan: Another probable sighting of the Gyrfalcon at about 5 PM today, near the woodlot near Parklane Towers. I have had several other reports and even a photograph, including a couple from prior to New Year’s Day, that were of raptors other than the Gyrfalcon. There are a pair of Red-tailed Hawks, a Cooper’s Hawk, and an American Kestrel at the site that have all been mistaken for the falcon. Use caution.

4 Jan: The Gyrfalcon was found about 5 PM today, the only sighting reported despite being searched for by a number of people. It flew into the tree line of the sunflower field south of Hubbard Drive, approaching from the south. It is most likely hunting and spending more time along the Rouge River. Currently, the entire river is open. With prolonged cold, most of it may freeze except for the portion at and downstream from the Ford Rouge Plant, at which time this area will concentrate the ducks.

More details of the Dearborn portion of the Detroit River CBC: Forty-six species were tallied, which is exactly average for this count, plus four species found during count week. Three species were new: the famous Gyrfalcon, Bufflehead, and Peregrine Falcon (count week). The total number of individuals (6133) was high, and high counts were set for a dozen species. The high count (20) for Hairy Woodpecker may be tied to the many dying ash trees on campus, where most were counted. Most of the species with increased numbers — European Starling, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, House Finch, American Goldfinch, and House Sparrow — were observed at the only one of five Ford sunflower fields that had flowers that set seed, the one on the north side of Hubbard Drive near where the Gyrfalcon was found.

Crows, jays, chickadees, and titmice are still experiencing depressed numbers. The corvids are probably due to West Nile virus, but the reasons for low numbers of the parids are undetermined.

The most mysterious find was 17 lemons in an area near the Lower Rouge where there are no trails.

3 Jan: The Gyrfalcon was seen again around 9 AM, from 11-noon, and 1-3 PM. It was seen at one point in the line of trees to the south Hubbard, between the sunflower fields and Ford parking lots. There have been mallards in this field that are attractive prey to the falcon. I’ve received two reports that this bird may have been present since around Christmas.

Now that folks are back to work at this office complex, PLEASE do not block parked cars or traffic, park only in designated areas, and do not trespass in the fields or woodlot near the medical building.

2 Jan: The Gyrfalcon was seen by many birders at the same location today. I have posted a page with a photo and information on the original sighting.

1 Jan: The Detroit River Christmas Count was held today, and the biggest hit was Dearborn’s first Gyrfalcon, a dark immature bird found at the Parklane Towers office complex on the north side of Hubbard Drive between the Southfield Freeway service drive and Mercury Drive. From 11:30 AM until dusk, the bird was in trees, on light posts, or perched on one of the Parklane Towers or the large blue-and-gray striped Ford building to the north of the towers. There is also a large flock of Red-winged Blackbirds and Brown-headed Cowbirds foraging in the sunflower fields on both sides of Hubbard Drive.

Although pale in comparision, other highlights of the Dearborn portion of the bird count included a single Yellow-rumped Warbler, two Winter Wrens, six Brown Creepers and high counts for Hairy Woodpecker, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird (the last two species mostly at the sunflower fields near the Gyrfalcon), House Finch, American Goldfinch, and, regretably, House Sparrow. There were 46 species total.

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