|Here you see IAS's renowned Dan Leach scanning for birds, which included two Bald Eagles, Mute Swan, and Pied-billed Grebe. The drizzle had just started. Little did we know...
After a Yukon-like experience birding into the teeth of a minor hurricane at Houghton Lake, where we saw Black Tern and Osprey, we moved slightly north to a mixed deciduous/coniferous grove, where the drizzle abated for awhile. More Bald Eagles, and we scoped an enormous eagle nest. Birded our way north, arriving in Mio and splitting into various motel groups. Early the next morning we met at the Forest Service station for a brief--very brief--remarkably brief -- introduction to Kirtland's Warbler, then off we went, following the Forest Service guide to the Mack Lake area. The fog and drizzle turned to rain, but not before we saw Yellow-breasted Chat, Brown Thrasher, and Hermit Thrush. We tried again the next morning with better results.
|Here are Marlene Frank, Pam Keller, and Carol Staggs waiting for a Kirtland's Warbler to show itself in the jack pines.
We heard several that day but saw none.
|Storm troopers: Margaret Tamar, Henry Tamar, and Dan Leach waiting for the Kirtland's to show itself.
Good bird while waiting: Nashville Warbler.
|Also real troopers: Tammy Turner, Marsha Hutchins, and Barb Hostler waiting for the Kirtland's.|
|These Fish & Wildlife Service signs were posted around the perimeter of the restricted Kirtland's Warbler area.
This was a record-breaking year -- more than 1,000 Kirtland's Warblers were censused, the largest number ever recorded.
|And then, there it was! Alan Bruner and Chuck Falvey study a distant Kirtland's Warbler.|
|Dan Leach, Vice President of the Indiana Audubon Society, appearing overwhelmed at having finally seen the elusive warbler.
This is how birders test tripod strength.
|Really, you've gotta believe me, there was NO BOOZE imbibed before this photo was taken.
And we're not getting a body out of the trunk, either!
Dan Leach, Marsha Hutchins, and Bill Murphy enjoying a break in the rain.
Temperatures the first three days: high, 52° low, 42°. Brrrr...
|Northeast of Mio along Au Sable River.
Marlene Frank, Carol Staggs, Dan Leach, and Henry Tamar enjoy the bouquet of Labrador tea leaves.
|Chuck Falvey, Alan Bruner, Barb Hostler, Marsha Hutchins, and Carol Staggs along the entrance drive into Hartwick Pines State Park, northeast of Grayling.
Good birds: Ovenbird, Evening Grosbeak, Purple Finch, and Blackburnian Warbler.
|Barbara Hosler solo birding along the Au Sable River.
Good birds: Common Merganser and Northern Waterthrush.
|Margaret Tamar, Chuck Falvey, and Sue Arnold take in a view of the Au Sable River northeast of Mio.|
|This is what one of the dams on the lower AuSable River looks like through my windshield.
Good birds: Bald Eagle and Common Loon.
|A break in the clouds and -- SUNLIGHT!!
Dan Leach cavorts in a roadside meadow south of Glennie, population 50.
Good birds: Bobolink, Common Snipe, and Savannah Sparrow.
|The gang entering Tuttle Marsh near Tawas.
No, that's not Alan's arm around Marlene -- it's part of her jacket.
This was a great spot for both visible and audible birds.
|Chuck Falvey, Marlene Frank, Alan Bruner, and Carol Staggs picking out birds in Tuttle Marsh.|
|Alan Bruner works on attracting rails with a tape recordings.
Good birds: Willow Flycatcher, Alder Flycatcher, Sora, and nesting Osprey.
|Birding the dikes at Tuttle Marsh.
Afterwards we visited a meadow where some of us had killer views of Clay-colored Sparrow and Bobolink.
|A seagull kid's slide in a park at Tawas, on the Lake Huron shoreline. How appropriate!
In addition to that gull and a number of live Ring-billed Gulls, good birds seen here included all of the swallows -- Barn, Rough-winged, Cliff, Bank, and Tree -- as well as Chimney Swift and Purple Martin.
A clean sweep!
Also Forster's and Caspian Terns.