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A Year of Birds: June 2022 part 1

The days are finally getting warmer, and there was a heat wave on the first of June: the temperature went above 80 degrees (F)- a miracle! And with the warm weather has come mosquitoes, the bane of Michigan bird watchers. Whenever I go into the marshes, clouds of them appear, and they seem to be impervious to all repellants. But, it is worth it to see the feathered beauties in their habitats.

Redwings are common birds, but quite beautiful

The redwing blackbirds have mated, and I saw a female who looks as though she is bursting with eggs, judging from her rounded shape. Soon, there will be baby blackbirds. I caught a photo of the proud papa nearby. But this year, there are fewer blackbirds out in the cattails by the small bay here. I believe that the cold weather brought fewer birds north, and those that did migrate are out by misery bay instead of this small inlet. I haven’t seen as many egrets here, either, as I did last year, although there are plenty a bit south of here.

male redwing blackbird photo
This male redwing blackbird is showing his epaulet, or shoulder patch, quite well

I saw my first sandpiper while out walking. He was pecking among the rocks by the beach, and went up on top of a large one while walking away from me. I think they are beautiful, with their peppered breasts and soft brown and buff colors.

Sandpiper on a rock in spring
This sandpiper looks as if he is staring at me as I approached. The spots appear during breeding season

The geese are out on the bay, too, with their babies, teaching them how to swim and forage. The goslings are soft downy balls right now, but very soon they will start looking more like geese and less like fluff.

The proud parents are taking their babies on an outing in a protected Lake Huron bay

There are swallows that can be seen calling and wheeling over the water. They are extremely swift, and getting a photo of them isn’t easy!

This arctic tern had success when fishing for minnows

On a walk today, I saw an arctic tern. It would skim the waves, grab a minnow, and then soar high above. It kept dipping into the water and then flying high. It was like watching a ballet in the air, and the tern was able to catch quite a few minnows.

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