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A Year of Birds 2023

June Part 1


June this year had so many lovely birds, that I have broken this bird watching diary into two parts this month.

June has come in cool and rainy, and also extremely busy as I travel to another state with my friend to support her as she seeks treatment for a medical condition, and then go to a conference. A week later, I have yet another conference, and ten days have gone by without any opportunities for birding.

Finally, a weekend when I am not traveling, and the chance to catch some sightings and photos!

I saw a group of sandhill cranes on Misery Bay, three of them. Two appear to be adults, and one a nearly grown juvenile from last year. They are so beautiful, I love to watch them.

Then, I saw lots of swallows flying around some bird nesting boxes near the marsh across from the bay. I took several photos of these birds with their iridescent looking feathers.

I also saw a male redwing blackbird observing me from a nearby tree, and got a picture of him.

On a walk on the bay where I live, I also saw the three killdeer juveniles and their parents. One of the juveniles followed my friends and I down the beach, bobbing up and down and acting as if she were curious about why we were intruding on her territory.

I saw several geese families on the bay during this same walk, with their quickly growing goslings looking more like the adults every day. It amazes me how quickly the babies grow.

A week later, the weather was much warmer, showing that summer is near. I was weeding in the garden when I saw a female ruby throated hummingbird. She flew up into a nearby birch tree, and watched me for awhile as I got rid of weeds. These are beautiful little birds, and I love to see them.  She even ruffled her feathers while I watched her; I have never seen one do that before!

I went birding later in the day, and saw a green heron in a marsh across from Misery Bay. He was beautiful, and I watched him hunt and eat fish for quite a while until the mosquitoes drove me away (they are one of the hazards of summer near the water in northeast Michigan, along with black flies. But they also provide protein for the newly hatched chicks, so I just shrug when they come buzzing by).

Later, I went by Birdsong Bay, and saw a blue heron take off from the marshy waters across from it. This bay almost always has good birding, with the many marshes and wetlands formed by the overflow the Lake Huron.

Nearby, I also saw two cygnets swimming; but no parents nearby, which surprised me. They seem fairly young, and I am not sure what type of swan they are, since it is harder to identify swans when they are  young; but I am going to assume they are mute swan babies, since these are the most common swans around here.

As I continued walking, I saw a great egret sitting in the marsh as well. He watched me a bit warily, but did not fly off, as I walked past.

As I continued down the bay, I startled a mallard which flew over the grasses.  On the shores of the bay, I then spotted five killdeer and a female redwing blackbird hanging out together. This seems to be the “year of the killdeer” because they are EVERYWHERE I go, all across the beaches, marshes, fields and even lawns, it seems.  I wonder what has caused this population explosion this year, because there are more this year than I have ever seen before.

I then saw a tern doing acrobatics over the bay, whirling and diving for fish in the water. They are excellent fishers, and he seemed to be eating well.

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