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3798Caspian Tern; random musings

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  • Forrest Luke
    Jun 1 6:45 AM

      Traveling home from two weeks of vacation in Wisconsin and Utah last evening I watched a Caspian Tern flying around the Perch Pond. It was only my second Caspian Tern sighting for Moffat County. The Perch Pond is located about midway between Craig and Meeker alongside Hwy 13, just north of the Colowyo Coal Company turnoff.


      Speaking of Wisconsin, even though the primary reason for the trip was to get to meet my new grandson, I did find time to get out and watch migration along Lake Michigan. I spent most of my time in small nature reserves in the Milwaukee area.


      My best experience was stumbling across this little stream in Doctor’s Park north of Milwaukee where migrant warblers were coming into bathe. In about 1.5 hours, 21 species of warblers came into the spot--including Cape May, Blackburnian, Canada, Bay-breasted, Golden-winged, Tennessee, Nashville, Northern Parula, Black and White, BT Blue, BT Green, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia (trash bird), Blackpoll, Palm, Mourning, Ovenbird and assorted other warblers that we get in the West. During the trip I was also able to study at length Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (lifer), Philadelphia Vireo, Blue-headed Vireo, White-eyed Vireo (Chicago), Scarlet Tanager, Alder Flycatcher (singing), Great-crested Flycatcher, EW Pewee, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Towhee (singing in urban Chicago Park), RT Hummer, Wood Thrush, Gray-cheeked Thrush and RB Grosbeak. I didn’t get to study it but I flushed a Woodcock along Lake Michigan. The only remaining vestiges of shorebird migration were two Ruddy Turnstones along Lake Michigan.


      By the way, if you are ever in Chicago during migration, the wooded area around the old Navy Pier, within walking distance of downtown, was excellent for migrating birds. Pay special attention to the small fenced off natural area that you can bird from the edges.


      Most of the birds seen were males in brilliant breeding plumage and most sang at one time or another. I learned a lot about eastern bird songs, but I will probably forget most of it before I have another chance to do Eastern birding.


      I saw dozens of Blackburnians, Canadas and Bay-breasteds--species I had only seen a few times before. The most confusing bird turned out to be American Redstart. It has a much larger repertoire of songs than I ever suspected and I was constantly confusing it with other species.


      Oh and my grandson may just be one of the cutest babies ever born--all bias aside.


      Best Wishes,


      Forrest Luke






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