Birding Life List new

Untitled

This is my official birding life list organized by date. In the 1980’s I was given the Peterson Eastern United States Bird Field Guide and some inexpensive Porro prism binoculars by my grandfather.  My high school friend was and still is bird obsessed and we would go out looking for birds. I did not keep any records of what I saw then. By 1990 the book and the binoculars would be forgotten about in a box until they were rediscovered in 2014 when cleaning up after a flood. During the flood, a Turkey Vulture landed in my front yard and I thought it was an escapee from the zoo that I live near. After finding out from the police that it was a wild bird I decided to take up birding again. I used the cheap binoculars with double vision because they were dropped several times and reassembled, probably why I put them away originally, up to October of 2015 when I bought better roof prism binoculars.

I discovered eBird in September of 2014 but did not start eBirding until a cellphone app became available. My bird life list is also on iGoTerra but is not organized as well. I don’t intend to import all of my eBird data to iGoTerra where I keep my every kind of species life list, current as of 03/31/2018, stands at 320 species.

  1. Bank Swallow  06/22/2015 Wayne County, Michigan-  info
  2. Eastern Kingbird  06/22/2015 Wayne County, Michigan-  info
  3. Northern Shoveler  06/11/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  4. Swamp Sparrow  06/05/2015 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  5. Purple Martin  06/04/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  6. Common Tern 06/04/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  7. Greater Scaup  06/04/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  8. Song Sparrow  05/28/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  9. Savannah Sparrow  05/28/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  10. Marsh Wren  05/28/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  11. Herring Gull  05/28/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  12. Semipalmated Sandpiper  05/28/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  13. Dunlin  05/28/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  14. Killdeer  05/28/2015 Macomb County, Michigan- info
  15. Wilson’s Warbler  05/15/2015 Lucas County, Ohio-  info
  16. Black Throated Green Warbler  05/15/2015 Lucas County, Ohio-  info
  17. Palm Warbler  05/15/2015 Lucas County, Ohio-  info
  18. Chestnut Sided Warbler  05/15/2015 Lucas County, Ohio-  info
  19. Blackburnian Warbler  05/15/2015 Lucas County, Ohio-  info
  20. Northern Parula  05/15/2015 Lucas County, Ohio-  info
  21. Northern Waterthrush  05/15/2015 Lucas County, Ohio-  info
  22. Warbling Vireo  05/15/2015 Lucas County, Ohio-  info
  23. Eastern Screech Owl  05/15/2015 Lucas County, Ohio-  info
  24. Trumpeter Swan  05/15/2015 Lucas County, Ohio-  info
  25. Bald Eagle  05/13/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  26. White Throated Sparrow  05/12/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  27. White Crowned Sparrow  05/12/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  28. Common Yellowthroat  05/12/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  29. Ovenbird  05/12/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  30. House Wren  05/12/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  31. Magnolia Warbler  05/09/2015 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  32. Common Grackle  05/09/2015 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  33. Eastern Towhee  05/09/2015 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  34. Yellow Warbler  05/09/2015 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  35. Swainson’s Thrush  05/09/2015 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  36. Eastern Bluebird  05/09/2015 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  37. White Breasted Nuthatch  05/09/2015 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  38. Sandhill Crane  05/09/2015 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  39. Baltimore Oriole  05/07/2015 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  40. Rose Breasted Grosbeak  05/07/2015 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  41. American Redstart  05/07/2015 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  42. Gray Catbird  05/07/2015 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  43. Wood Duck  04/30/2015 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  44. Tufted Titmouse  04/24/2015 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  45. Black Capped Chickadee  04/24/2015 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  46. Wild Turkey  04/24/2015 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  47. European Starling  04/23/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  48. Blue Gray Gnatcatcher  04/23/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  49. Northern Flicker  04/23/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  50. Hairy Woodpecker  04/23/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  51. Ring-Billed Gull  04/23/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  52. American Coot  04/23/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  53. Bufflehead  04/23/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  54. Barn Swallow  04/16/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  55. Tree Swallow  04/16/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  56. Northern Rough-Winged Swallow 4/16/15 Macomb Cnty, MI- info
  57. Great Horned Owl  04/16/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  58. Forsters Tern  04/16/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  59. Bonaparte’s Gull  04/16/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  60. Mute Swan  04/16/2015 Macomb County, Michigan-  info
  61. Pied Billed  Grebe  09/27/2014 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  62. Mallard  09/27/2014 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  63. Black and White Warbler  09/12/2014 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  64. Red Eyed Vireo  09/12/2014 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  65. Red-Winged Blackbird  09/12/2014 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  66. Green Heron  09/12/2014 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  67. Great Egret  09/12/2014 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  68. Great Blue Heron  09/12/2014 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  69. Double Crested Cormorant  09/12/2014 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  70. Canada Goose  09/12/2014 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  71. American Goldfinch  09/09/2014  Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  72. Red Breasted Nuthatch  09/09/2014 Oakland County, Michigan-  info .
  73. Downy Woodpecker  09/09/2014 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  74. Red Bellied Woodpecker  09/09/2014 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  75. Morning Dove  09/09/2014 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  76. House Sparrow  09/05/2014 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  77. Northern Cardinal  09/04/2014 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  78. American Robin  09/04/2014 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  79. American Crow  09/04/2014 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  80. Blue Jay  09/04/2014 Oakland County, Michigan-  info
  81. Turkey Vulture  09/04/2014 Oakland County, Michigan-  info

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Sedge Wren- lifer number 259

I finally heard a sedge wren today, July third, twenty seventeen, but did not see one. Today was my fifth attempt at finding a sedge wren. I started my planning for this bird in March looking at the eBird species map for Michigan, making a mental note of where and when to see one. The majority of sightings appear to be random sightings of one bird, the birder is in the right habitat for the bird, luckily. Sedge wrens like sedge meadows, a sedge is different than grasses and rushes but are often found together. I’m not good at distinguishing between them and I can’t tell one species of sedge apart from another but the sightings of the wrens at Chelsea State Game Area looked promising.

Chelsea State Game Area has produced the largest number of sedge wrens and the most reports for the bird for several years now. The bird can be found in the Sedge meadow at the intersection of Dexter-Chelsea Road and N. Fletcher Rd. My first attempt at Chelsea State Game Area was before tree leaf out and grass growth in March. I walked the trail along the property line to the top of the hill and down the hill into the understory until the ground became too wet to proceed. Then I returned to the grassy meadow near the parking area and attempted to get into the sedge meadow behind the growth of small trees, it was too wet to proceed and so I returned to my car. I didn’t expect to see the bird that early in the year anyway.

Later in April, I returned to the meadow and the trees had leafed out and the grass was growing but I was not prepared for the wet ground that you have to put yourself into to get to the sedge meadow deep in the game area. I didn’t see or hear the sedge wren and so I returned to my car and drove off. I collected the first tick of the year crawling on my neck and I almost crashed my car coming to a screeching stop to remove it. I checked myself out briefly for more ticks but I had to get moving to my next destination where I could look myself over completely in a porta potty. When you suspect you have ticks it’s best to undress and check all of yourself for them, feel through your hair for them and inspect your clothes for them. Fortunately, ticks take some time to grab hold and the only kind of tick I’ve been stuck with is the American dog tick which does not spread Lyme disease.

On my third attempt in June at finding the sedge wren at Chelsea State Game Area, I came prepared with my rubber boots. I bushwhacked myself into the sedge meadow back behind the trees. There are no trails in the meadow and the soil is waterlogged ankle deep and knee deep in some places. Grasses, sedges, and whatever else is growing back there is chest high. It was another hot day and I’m wearing my bushwhacking clothes, only my hands, and head exposed to protect me from ticks and lacerating thorns on bushes. I’m in deep in this mess of a meadow and darn it no sedge wrens can be seen or heard. I give up too early I’m sure but there is always hope that you’ll find the bird later at an easier get. I beat the ticks this time at their game, however.

Three weeks before I finally got the bird it popped up at the Conservancy Farm in Washtenaw County with three other lifers that I could hopefully get. I struck out on all three birds, the sedge wren, Henslow sparrow, and Dickcissel. It was the heat again and not wearing the right clothes to survive the field I had to walk in. Bluejeans and cotton shirts just don’t work for long walks in the heat. I wear Nike dry fit shirts and Eddie Bauer safari pants that wick moisture and keep you dry and cool. There’s an even better way of keeping sweat from accumulating the Earth Goddess called me to experience but I resisted the thought. The Henslow Sparrow would be seen later at Kensington Metropark and the Dickcissel at Indian Springs Metropark.

So I have returned to the Conservancy Farm today with little optimism that I would finally find the Sedge wren. I met up with a woman who was looking for bobolinks and other birds. We found her lifers together but she gave up too early on the sedge wren mainly because she was afraid of ticks getting on her bare legs. Pants are always better than shorts when birding. The novice birder might not realize the effort they have to put into to get the bird they’re looking for. My mistakes are not doing my homework, waiting for someone else to find a bird first and then trying to find it again, and growing impatient with the effort required to get the bird. This time I was not going to give up so easily and I decided that this bird might never be seen but it could be heard and oh how I wished for a parabolic dish but my cupped hands over my ears would have to suffice.

Shut up for a moment bobolinks, please, please, I’m trying to listen for a sedge wren. That might be it! Chick chick trill very faint in the distance. Listen to a recording of the wren and compare it to the Marsh Wren just slightly different but noticeably different. I don’t believe that audio playback might cause emotional trauma to birds as some people do. Attempt to memorize the recording of the song, listen carefully for the bird, shut out any other noises, and do all this at the same time. There I think I got it now. Yes! That’s the bird, I got the bird, about time. Two of them calling to each other very faint. It’s the bird all right. Hearing it only counts with the ABA, satisfies me enough. Seeing it, photographing it, will have to wait until another time. Lifer number 259 is in the bag.

Birding Natural Communities- Hillside Prairies

Hillside prairie is a grassland or savanna community that occurs on moderate to steep exposed slopes and crests of hills associated with river valleys, streams, or kettle lakes, surrounded by oak forest or oak savanna. This natural community is almost always found on south- to west-facing slopes, where exposure to sunlight is highest. Soils are typically strongly acid to neutral loamy sand or sandy loam, and often mixed with gravel. Hillside prairie is notable for supporting several state-listed plant species largely restricted to this community type. This community is found primarily in southern Lower Michigan, where occurrences are concentrated in Kent, Kalamazoo, and Jackson Counties. One occurrence is known from the western Upper Peninsula. Due to the specific combination of slope, aspect, and soil type, hillside prairie occurrences are local and of very small Terrestrial- Hillside Prairie

This community is found primarily in southern Lower Michigan, where occurrences are concentrated in Kent, Kalamazoo, and Jackson Counties. One occurrence is known from the western Upper Peninsula. Due to the specific combination of slope, aspect, and soil type, hillside prairie occurrences are local and of very small size.

Locations

  • MacCready Reserve: Jackson County, hotspot, location
  • Pemene Falls: Menominee County, hotspot, location
  • Park Lyndon County Park: Washtenaw County, hotspot, location

Plant Species- Graminoids

  • little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)
  • big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)
  • porcupine grass (Hesperostipa spartea)
  • Pennsylvania sedge (Carex pensylvanica)
  • Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans)
  • Canada bluegrass (Poa compressa) invasive
  • Kentucky bluegrass (P. pratensis) invasive

Plant Species- Forbs

  • thimbleweed (  )
  • wild

Plant Species- Shrubs

  • h
  • h

Plant Species- Trees

  • h
  • h

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Detroit Zoo Aviary Birds

  1. Blue-bellied Roller- ebird, wikipedia
  2. Hooded Pitta
  3. Red-billed Leiothrix
  4. Green Woodhoopoe
  5. African Pygmy Goose
  6. Red-crested Cardinal
  7. Green Heron
  8. Scarlet Ibis
  9. Boat-billed Heron
  10. Common Bulbul
  11. Oriole Warbler
  12. Speckled Mousebird
  13. Taveta Golden Weaver
  14. Snowy-headed Robin Chat
  15. Emerald Starling
  16. Spur-winged Lapwing
  17. Black Crake
  18. Bare-faced Curassow
  19. Black-napped Fruit Dove
  20. Jambu Fruit Dove
  21. Gray-capped Emerald Dove
  22. Violet Turaco
  23. Masked Lovebird
  24. Nicobar Pigeon

Free Birding

Birds seen, “free birding”, “without binoculars”, “naturel birding”, “in the guise of Olaf Danielson’s 2013 unique birding record”, is an enjoyable way to bird. Get your start with free birding at an established location for the activity. An American Naturel Resource-(AANR) can be helpful in finding locations. Cameras are rarely allowed at “naturel” locations but some locations permit them if you discuss what you’re doing with the location management. Always discuss the use of binoculars with the management, you will probably be the first and only person to use binoculars and it could get you kicked out. The use of cell phones to record your sightings is also not suggested. See the bird the best you can and make a mental note of it. Share your interest in birds with people you talk with and point out birds they’re not noticing. The rumor mill will quickly get around that your just a harmless, but odd, birdwatcher. Everyone is entitled to their own kind of crazy at these locations so long as it’s respectful of other people.

If you’re a risky person state game areas are easier for free birding than state parks because they are less visited. Visit state game areas during the non-hunting season and away from trails.  Being outside before, during, and just after a storm will reduce the chance of other people spoiling your experience. Weekdays are quieter than weekends. Consult Google satellite maps and contour maps. Your strategy should be in where to find places of solitude and you’ll quickly come up with ideas. That island in the lake, the valley on the other side of this hill where the trail is, a clearing in the middle of dense under story. Loop trails should be avoided, out and back trails are safer. Avoid bicycle trails because you could be quickly come upon. Horse trails are the least traversed type of trail.

My life list of free birding. Location codes provided by AANR. Locations listed as, OTBK- Only The Bird Knows, are secret.

  1. Canada Goose                                 TLR     7/20/17
  2. Great Blue Heron                           TLR     9/8/15
  3. Turkey Vulture                               TLR    9/8/15
  4. Bald Eagle                                       OTBK   7/28/17
  5. Killdeer                                            TLR     7/20/17
  6. Semipalmated Sandpiper            OTBK   7/28/17
  7. Spotted Sandpiper                        OTBK   7/28/17
  8. Ring Billed Gull                             OTBK   7/28/17
  9. Herring Gull                                  OTBK   7/28/17
  10. Mourning Dove                              TLR     9/8/15
  11. Ruby-throated Hummingbird     WO     5/27/16
  12. Downy Woodpecker                      WO     5/27/16
  13. Northern Flicker                            WO     5/27/16
  14. Eastern Wood-Pewee                    WO     5/27/16
  15. Warbling Vireo                              TLR     9/8/15
  16. Blue Jay                                           WO     5/27/16
  17. American Crow                             WO     5/27/16
  18. Barn Swallow                                TLR     7/20/17
  19. Black-capped Chickadee             TLR     9/8/15
  20. White Breasted Nuthatch           TLR     7/20/17
  21. American Robin                           WO     5/27/16
  22. Gray Catbird                                 TLR     9/8/15
  23. European Starling                       TLR     9/8/15
  24. Yellow Warbler                            TLR     9/8/15
  25. Chipping Sparrow                       TLR     7/20/17
  26. Song Sparrow                               TLR     9/8/15
  27. Scarlet Tanager                            WO     5/27/16
  28. Northern Cardinal                      WO     5/27/16
  29. Rose Breasted Grosbeak            WO     5/27/16
  30. Red Winged Blackbird               TLR     7/20/17
  31. Common Grackle                        WO     5/27/16
  32. Red Winged Blackbird              TLR     7/20/17
  33. American Goldfinch                  WO     5/27/16
  34. House Sparrow                          TLR     7/20/17

 

Total time spent free birding is 12 hours for this list. The greatest number of days I have spent free spirited in a year is 22 but I was not birding than. Being free spirited is the desire to be with other people also free spirited usually outside. Most consecutive days spent free spirited is six and I have achieved a consecutive 24 hours only once when it didn’t get below 85 at night. I have been to six free spirited communities in three states but I was not birding than. I’ve been free spirited with about 1,500 people and we all survived the experience.

 

Recording Bird Song with a Parabola and Shotgun Microphones

Parabolic Dish Microphone


Equipment used for Parabolic mic:

  • Nagra Seven Recorder $3,800
  • Porta Brace unknown audio recorder bag. Porta Brace does not make a custom bag for the Nagra 7 recorder.
  • Telinga Parabolic dish: foldable dish $150, rigid dish $150
  • Telinga Pro8 MK2 handle: $550
  • unknown Zeppelin mic holder
  • unknown Zeppelin windshield
  • Sennheiser ME 62 microphone: $160 Must add either the K6 (battery/phantom) power supply, available as a kit $409, or the K6P (phantom only) power supply also available as a kit $409.
  • unknown headphones

Telinga offers the handle, mic holder, windshield, Rycote Telinga Pro Hi Wind Cover, and foldable dish as a kit- Universal MK2 kit for $750. The Sennheiser ME62/K6 microphone kit for $409 is superior to the microphones available from Telinga. Parabolic microphone package total cost about $1,159.

Shotgun Microphone


Equipment used for Shotgun Mic:

  • Sennheiser ME67/K6 kit microphone: $500
  • Rycote Medium Hole Softie Lyre Mount & Pistol Grip $79
  • Rycote Classic Softie Windshield  29cm-19/22:  $120

The Rycote grip and windshield are available as a kit for $200. Shotgun microphone package total cost about $700.

Other Recorder Options