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A Year of (Michigan) Birds: July

The gulls have taken over the point to the north of the bay. They can be seen sunning, dozens of them perched on the rocks and walking around.

Photo of a colony of gulls on rocks at the beach
Gulls on the Rocks

When I go kayaking by the point, I can see the mergansers and their babies. They have 19! The babies are so cute, and follow in the water right behind their mother. I have also come upon other ducks during walks by the bay, and came unexpectedly upon three hidden in a bush the other day. I was able to get a photo of them flying away.

Ducks flying into the thicket

The Kildeer can be seen in small groups on the rocks around the bay. These beautiful birds skitter away quickly if I get too close, so I keep a respectful distance in order to watch them.

Kildeer looking into the water

The flickers like to visit the side yard, where there are ant nests. They will descend on the grass, and eat up the ants; I had never realized that woodpeckers could be ground feeders until I saw this. Once, I watched a parent feed its quite large-sized juvenile, and caught a photo of this parental care. Their white and black rumps, brown backs, gray head creamy breast and distinctive markings (including the red spot on the back of the head) are quite beautiful.

Photo of a flicker adult feeding a good-sized juvenile
This is real parenting – to feed a baby this large!

I love the elegant –looking egrets. They can be seen all over the marshes and wetlands, and in the shallow waters of the bays here, especially where there are copses of pines and other trees nearby. I carry my camera with me, and will often stop my car and take a photo if one is nearby (making sure to pull off the road, of course!). If one spots me, they will often fly off a short distance, or will go and join other water birds out in the bay further off.

Photo of a great egret on Lake Huron
Great egret on Lake Huron at sunset

From time to time, a belted kingfisher can be seen in a tree overlooking the water, keeping watch for its favorite meal of fish to come by. I have seen mainly females with their rusty reddish “belts”. I haven’t seen any babies yet; these are probably well hidden.

photo of a belted kingfisher in a tree near the water
This looks like a great perch!

With these and others, July has been filled with bird sightings, and I am enjoying seeing all of the “summer visitors” near the lake.

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