Saturday, July 3, 2010

Peripatetic birder

June was a pretty boring month for birds. I only saw 62 species, no lifers (one Illinois State Bird), which was partly because I did not bird for the first two weeks of the month, and partly because, without migration to stir things up, I am starting to feel that, as Greenturtle has said, I have "birded out" central Illinois. (Although one glance at what others have seen on ebird shows me that there are plenty more new birds to see in Illinois.)

Meanwhile, Sunwiggy, my old birding buddy who moved to Michigan's Upper Peninsula, was bragging about all the grouses she's seeing and also complaining of a bird by her house which she has been unable to ID. And so, despite my loathing of car trips, I braved the eight hour drive (roads jam-packed with Illinoisians migrating north for the long holiday weekend) and am going to spend the week-end birding the Keweenau peninsula of Michigan's UP. (One good thing about long car trips: they make me grateful for the simple things in life. Like not being in the car any more when they're over.)

Yesterday started out well with warblers. OMG, warblers in their beautiful breeding costumes, just like a second chance at spring migration. I have gone far enough north to catch them on their breeding grounds! I saw a redstart, a black and white, and the biggest treat, a chestnut-sided warbler in the scrubby area of an ATV path not far from where Sunwiggy now resides. Also identified Sunwiggy's mystery bird...definitely a veery.

Today I am heading for the Baraga Plains with hopes of spotting the gray jay. Greenturtle couldn't come along so no photos on this trip...but hopefully plenty of birds!

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