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A Year of Birds: July

July 2022

The weather is getting warmer now each day, bringing the whine of mosquitoes and the droning buzz of deer flies. The only value I see in these pests that bite whenever I venture outdoors is that they do feed the birds and their fledglings.

At a nearby park on the river, I saw a female redwing sitting in the marsh grasses.

This pair are nesting on the edge of the marsh here

Nearby, her mate was showing his shoulder epaulets to me, and calling out a warning to “stay away!” so I did. I don’t want to disturb them while they are busy raising their young next to the reedy river.

The male redwing is giving me the “beady eye” so I left the area in order to let him and his mate feel safer

I also saw a lone swan preening near the river bank. This swan is often there, and appears without any other swans. Does he have a mate hiding further back in the reeds and cattails? I wonder this as I watch him slowly drift on the river.

A family of cranes has taken up residence in  a marsh near Misery Bay. I often see them when driving by, and think that the baby is adorable. The adult cranes are loving parents, making sure that their little one gets plenty to eat. It does, and it is bigger each time I see it!

photograph of a sandhill crane mother and baby
Sandhill cranes are beautiful birds and the baby is adorable

One evening, I drove by and only saw one of the cranes. It twisted its head back in that somewhat odd-looking pose that cranes often take – I wonder why they do this? I will have to ask someone who knows.

If anyone knows why they do this I would love to know

The marshes are teeming with tadpoles and minnows, and the egrets are showing up to fish them out. One especially brave egret likes to fish next to a boat pier, and seems fairly friendly. He is there each evening, and will let me get fairly close before he takes off.

I call this egret “Sam” and enjoy seeing him wading and fishing in the evenings

The blue herons are much shyer, but on occasion I will see one flying off through the trees, or even resting in a marsh in the evening after a long day of fishing.

Bunnykins can still be seen hiding in the grass near the dirt road. He has gotten bigger since last winter, and I wonder if he has a mate and little bunnykins hiding in the grass nearby. He is still fairly friendly, and let me get pretty close to take a picture; I think he remembers all the seed I fed him last winter.

Bunnykins let me get fairly close, but still looks as those he is thinking of running off into the woods

One Saturday, I was driving past Squaw Bay, and stopped when I saw an egret on the water. He flew up into a tree and rested, and I took his portrait perched in the tree. I also saw a hawk perched on a nearby utility wire; they seem to prefer the electric wires as a perch when hunting.

I also saw a bird that looks like a phoebe near the bay, sitting on a wire. I think the contrast of dark gray and white is beautiful.

In the evening when I go for a walk, I can sometimes see baby birds sitting on a branch staring at the humans who share the beach with them. During one walk, I saw Cheedee, the chickadee that I fed last winter. He seemed to remember me, and let me come quite close. He even showed me how well he can hang upside down from a pine branch!

The babies are getting bigger

One evening while driving by Misery Bay I saw an egret on a log. He was beautiful, with his long white feathers as he stared at me when I came closer.

On another evening, I saw a hawk sitting on a utility line; these are such beautiful birds. He stared but didn’t seemed bothered when I took his photo.

On one hot day, I saw a heron fishing in the marsh near Misery Bay. He seems to like to hang out there, I have seen him in this area several times now. They are easy to miss, because they blend so well with the gray tree stumps and other foliage in the marshes; if they don’t want you to see them, they will hunker down in the clumps of long grass.

Blue Herons are beautiful birds

I went out to dinner in Presque Isle with some friends of mine who also enjoy bird watching. After dinner, we went down to the walk near the lighthouse. This was kingfisher central! There are several families that are raising their young in the marsh near the hiking path. I saw two of them fly at each other when they were both at the marsh together. I saw another one sitting on a branch, patiently waiting until he caught a fish from the marshy waters below.

“Hey, that was my branch!”

Finally, it is the end of July, a time when on the weekends everyone seems to be out boating on the waters of Lake Huron. As I drove by the bay, I saw a lovely sight: two swans enjoying the cooling waters of the bay, along with a large group of seagulls, while the geese grazed on the shore. Later, I caught one swan preening while the other looks at the water that they will be swimming away in soon.

It looks like quite a gathering of the birds here

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