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A Year of Birds: July 2023

July is starting out warm, and very green. The marshes are beautiful, and during a recent hike I saw a blue heron flying overhead on its way to another bay.

A few days later, while  driving into town, I saw what looked like a falcon on a telephone wire. I believe it could be a peregrine falcon, and I was surprised to see this beautiful bird so close to the road, even though it is out in the country.  I know they like to perch in high trees, and I hope to see it again soon.

A week later, it has been cold, rainy and misty for several days. While driving past Isaacson’s Bay, I saw a great egret preening nearby; it then slowly ambled away, looking at me the whole time. I love these beautiful birds who spend their days fishing in the waters of the bays and marshes and their evenings roosting where they are hidden away.

That same day, on the way home, I saw a hawk flying in the distance. A few days later, the weather was nice and sunny, and as I was walking the beach in the evening, I saw a juvenile eagle perched in a tree on a nearby point, where last summer I saw two mature eagles. I wonder if this is the progeny of these two, taking over the spot that mom and dad previously used for spotting fish, while they are busy raising new eaglets? He certainly looks intent as he searches the bay waters.

Later in the week, during mid-July, I saw a juvenile gull while walking. This youngster had no fear of me at all, and let me walk quite close. Two days later, in the early morning, I saw three juvenile mergansers floating in the bay waters in front of where I live. I didn’t see their mother, and wondered if they were trying things out on their own.

But later in the day, I saw mother merganser and four other juveniles with her, along with these three. These must be the more “independent” of the babies who like exploring on their own.

The month is passing quickly. It is now the third week in July, and as I was walking, I saw a killdeer near the rocky beach, trying to distract me with her high-pitched calls. Her youngsters were nearby, so I left quickly after getting a quick picture of her. I think killdeer are adorable, with their constantly worried expressions and beautiful coloring.

After having dinner with some friends in Presque Isle, on the drive home I saw a kingfisher perched on a tree near a lake inlet. He watched me with a wary eye, but didn’t fly off, so I assume the fishing must be good in that spot.

The next day, I saw a sandhill crane in the marsh grasses near Isaacson’s bay. These are such beautiful birds, and I am glad they enjoy these marshes to feed in.

Across the road, in a marsh, I saw a spotted sandpiper. This is the first sandpiper I have seen this year; they haven’t been hanging out on the rocky beaches near home the way they did last year. I am wondering if birds take turns with habitat and where they nest, because there have been tons of killdeer –many more than usual -and fewer sandpipers on the beach this summer.

On a hike to a marsh that is quite a ways from home, a tern kept flying then diving overhead. On the way to the marsh, I surprised a young deer eating grass. The deer are everywhere this year, with lots of youngsters and fawns that walk through the yard in the evening.  

When I got to the marsh, I saw what looked at first like two green herons in a tree; but soon after a third one flew to the tree-mama and her two juveniles. These are odd-looking little birds that make the most interesting almost duck-like sound when taking off. I sat and watched them for awhile, until the mosquitoes drove me away (with all the rain this summer, they are out in force; I keep reminding myself that they make good food for the birds, but which I didn’t make such good food for the mosquitoes!)

During the last weekend of July, I saw a wild turkey by the road. I stopped, he took a good look at me, then dove into the woods nearby. These are interesting big birds, and can often be seen on roadsides throughout northeast Michigan.

I also saw three yellow legs in a marsh near Isaacson’s Bay. Two were feeding, and a third joined them while I was watching. This was a wonderful way to end the month of July.          

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