A Year of (Michigan) Birds: June

It’s early June, and I saw a pair of sandhill cranes at Squaw Bay today. They are beautiful, and hard to see since they are perfectly camouflaged by the ochre reeds and small dead trees next to the marshy water. As soon as they saw me, they went and hid in a clump of trees, standing very still and looking quite tree-like. These birds mate for life, and I love their red-painted heads and soft gray and ochre plumage.

Photo of sandhill cranes feeding in a marshy area
Sandhill Cranes feeding in a marshy area

The egrets can be seen hunting fish and frogs in the marshes, bays and protected shallows of Lake Huron.

Photo of a great egret with a frog in its beak
Great Egret with a frog near Squaw Bay

I have seen lots of them out at Squaw Bay, and also Misery Bay. The other day, I saw one preening his feathers during a break after fishing. I also saw a green heron sitting in a tree on a road off of Squaw Bay where the tree faces the water.

Photo of a great egret in a tree preening
Great egret preening

The thickets next to the swamps are full of red winged blackbirds. I can see the females clinging to the reeds and cattails now, often grabbing insects to eat. I don’t want to disturb their nests, so I don’t go into the reeds. There are plenty of nice photo shots of the parents that I can get when they fly to the -perimeter of the marsh.

Female redwing blackbird in a marsh
Female redwing blackbird in the cattails within a marsh

The killdeers can be seen on a small rocky point on the bay. I love their perpetually worried look and soft brown color, and have seen them out during my walks in the evenings. The sandpipers can be seen, too, on a nearby rocky point. They like to dart into the rocks when they spot me; or stand very still to blend into the background.

Two kildeer on a rocky beach, Lake Huron
Two kildeer on a rocky beach on Lake Huron

Cormorants can be seen fishing on the river and the lake, and resting on trees and branches to dry out between diving down into the water.

Cormorant resting on a tree branch next to the river
Cormorant drying off next to the river

The swans have moved to the river, and have babies! The cygnets are so cute, and the swans seem to be attentive parents, watching over their babies with loving care. They really do epitomize “family” in the photos I took.

Two adult swans with their cygnets on the river
Swan parents with their cygnets on the river

The mallard babies can be seen waddling behind their mother, and are adorable!

Photo of a female mallard and her babies crossing a road
Mallard mother with her babies

The mergansers are nesting on the rocky point nearby, and one day near the end of the month, when kayaking, I saw the cutest babies swimming in the water, following their mother. I counted – there were 19! That’s a lot of babies for one pair to look after, but they all look happy and healthy. I’m going to enjoy watching them grow up.

Photo of four merganser duck babies on Lake Huron
Four of the 19 merganser ducklings swimming in the bay

Published by yeshuaschildart

Professional artist specializing in oil paintings of birds and nature.

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