Finally the storms and rain cleared around 8:00am so off to the Refuge I went. By the time I got there...the clouds had moved back in. I took my first run through the Marshland Drive since it reopened after shoreline restoration.
I found the E Pool loons with their one chick...out farther...and the chick was hiding under momma's wing...and of course it was gloomy. They were surrounded by the 'singles' club of trumpeter swans...probably thirty-forty of them.
Further down near the swan observation deck I found the 'young couples' group. They were all paired off. Then several of the singles decided to fly down and stir things up. So cute to watch the couples flutter and talk to each other.
I found six snapping turtles laying eggs all at one time in one area.
I then took the Fishing Loop...where I spent some quality time with the E Pool trumpeter swans and their eight cygnets. They were so adorable...all well behaved...staying close to their parents...who were digging up food for them. They would pop through momma's long neck as she was head first in the water bringing up food for the young. Too ding dang adorable!!
On down the drive...F still have 8...J still have 6...H still have 8...G has 0...E.West has 0...and D down to 1. While I was at D Pool the trumpeters brought their one young up to where I was sitting. All of a sudden the D Pool loon lets out a yodel...a warning. I looked up and there was bald eagle flying over...with a cygnet in its talons. I know it happens...they have to feed their young...but I don't want to see it. The Circle of Life. It was the G Pool eagle taking it back to its two growing eaglets.
Quiet yet...still loons nesting along with other creatures. Hope to see young ones soon.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal June 10-11, 2017
We got to the Refuge Saturday night at 7:30pm excited to spend a beautiful evening out with the wildlife...only to discover the drives were closed due to high winds. Crews wouldn't be in till morning to clean-up. So there went my early morning sunrise on the Refuge too.
So I got up a little after sunrise and headed to the South Show Pool. I knew the trumpeter swans had six little cygnets. I was hoping they still had some of them. I was so pleased to find they still had all six!! Last year they lost all of them within the first day.
It was beautiful lighting and they swans fed along the shore in front of me. What a treat. If the Refuge drive hadn't been closed I would never had spent time with them. Also I spent an hour with bobolinks along a country road...which was a double treat thanks to what I thought was a disappointing occurrence.
The North Show Pool only had one trumpeter swan...a pair of young hooded mergansers flew in for a few moments....kingbirds...kingfishers...cedar waxwings etc were the main show but not too active.
We went back to the Refuge after the afternoon storms. F Pool trumpeter swans have five and eight cygnets...E pool eight...H Pool eight...ABJ/mate were on their nest...thank goodness. Crazy cloud formations. Snapping turtles still everywhere laying eggs. J Pool trumpeters have six little cygnets. We did hear a Virginia rail and Wilson snipes. Headed out before the storms moved back in.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal June 5, 2017
I was on the Refuge by 6:30am. Very foggy and gloomy…But eventually the day brightened up. I enjoyed hearing the sandhill cranes cackling in the fog when I arrived. They greeted me along the drive then flew. Another pair were just around the corner on the Fishing Loop.
ABJ was on his nest...with mate nearby.
I spent an hour and half with the H Pool trumpeter swans. Precious moments. Daddy was already out with one of his cygnets. It was so cute to watch...daddy's little shadow. Finally two more joined the other one in the water...then a fourth. Before I left them...there were six in the water...and at least one or two more still on the nest with momma.
As I was heading down the drive near the J channel I spotted FOUR American bitterns flying!!! It looks like there was territorial dispute for nesting areas. How cool was that!!! Then an osprey flew by with a huge northenr pike!!! Great morning on the Refuge...even in the fog.
I found two loons at the far end of G Pool swimming quickly together. By the time I got down near the shoreline...then 'walked' on water and flew. I knew then that one of them had to be an intruder. Possibly 'Greenie' the male from two years ago. The red banded male eventually returned without the intruder.
One of the G Pool eagles was in the feeding tree at the end of E Pool. D Pool trumpeter swans were out with their three cygnets....as the ospreys were tending their young.
I spooked seven or eight wood ducks on C Pool. Then I spotted a pair of trumpeter swans coming off their nest with five little fluffy cygnets. As I was watching them I heard a loon. I finally spotted her in the dark waters near the shore. It must be T7's turn to incubate the eggs. She seemed very calm...so hopefully she has settled down after last year's successful chick...and will now become a good momma. Time will tell.
I made another run through around 9:00am. I found the male blue-winged teal in his spot in the channel across from F Pool. We're sure he is guarding his mate who is on a nest nearby.
Back to the H pool swans where I enjoyed watching all eight cygnets out in the water feeding with their proud parents. What a joy to watch nature at its best. What could be better....new life....sunshine and the Refuge.
J Pool trumpeter swan female was on her nest island being bombarded by common terns. I was sure she had young ones, too. I couldn't believe that the terns would attack a momma with young. I think they may want to use the island to nest on now. So they were trying to hurry her off.
2:30pm. we were back on the Refuge to bright sun and mild temperatures...and our good friends the Rautiolas. We watched H Pool with their young...then found J Pool had a few young but still on the nesting island but in a different location. The loon was out on the back side of the pool patrolling.
Michael spotted a sandhill crane on a nest at the end of E Pool. We had Wilson snipes calling and flying around us. The mate to the sandhill chased intruders off G Pool then eventually flew back to its mate. The eagle was on the feeding tree.
We found D Pool trumpeter swans and cygnets near the shoreline. As we were leaving we found a lone sandhill in B marsh near an area they nested last year. We are still hoping to find some colts soon. We ended our day at 7:00 pm...hating to pack and head for home
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal June 4, 2017
We made a quick run through the Refuge last night before it rained. Found H Pool trumpeter swans hatching cygnets. Then Dumber was hanging out in a tree just down the way.
So I got up to head to the Refuge around 8:45 am to gloomy...damp...misty morning. The trumpeter swans were still hatching cygnets...with at least three visible.
G Pool I spotted one loon midway...then Wilson snipes were flying and calling around the west end of E Pool.
D Pool trumpeter swans have three cygnets...and the west end of E Pool have none. The D Pool osprey was feeding chicks. I left at 10:30am to dark clouds...heading back to get Michael to go back to the research blind at Toonerville.
Back around 6:30pm...we found the E Pool loons with their one chick but the lighting was not conducive to getting good shots. It was just good to see the little one doing so well. A spotted sandpiper flew in while I was watching them. The Canda geese were being hassled by the terriotorial trumpeter swan.
ABJ and mate were on and near the nest...thank goodness.
We met up with the Rautiolas...Jeannie and I spent some quality time with the H Pool swans. We actually got a little sunshine to enjoy them. We got to watch daddy take three out to feed them...then another one came down from the nest to feed, too. We could see at least two others...but were sure there was more.
We ended our day with a gorgeous sunset over C Pool.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal May 28 and 29, 2017
I woke up at 5:20...To clouds...Woke up at 7 to sun...As I left the trailer dark clouds were moving in from the southwest. It was raining before I got to the Refuge. ABJ and V4 were together way away from nest. They weren't as far away last night when we came through. Saw a pair of loons on H...But could be J...I didn't see any on J. G was alone near shore but quickly moved away. D loons were together out behind the long island. C loon last night was alone out by islands just after the big curve. Today they were together near the trumpeter swan nest. I think the bugs are getting to them. The weather isn't too cold so hopefully everything will be fine. Even the swans were off their nests for awhile. Heading to the bears before rain moves in. Then looks like better weather this afternoon at the Refuge!!
So I'm sitting in the rain...waiting for it to clear to make another run through. One of F Pool loons was working on the nest. I could see one egg for sure. Then fun on H pool. Two loons headed for little island to the left to trumpeter swan nest. They went up and on it and tried working on it. But the male flew over them landing on shore near me...The other went after them. Quite entertaining! Then two followed by a third osprey flew over. Then the loons preened! One had a left silver band and right blue band... The other had a left orange/red band and silver right band. So we'll have to investigate. I'll see if I can read any numbers on the computer. No sign of J or G....But G yodeled when the eagle flew over. Oh and I heard sandhills cackling on the back side of H…maybe a colt to defend?? I walked along the shore of E Pool to shoot an eagle in the feeding tree. Lots of swan and geese down further. Hope to get a hike in tomorrow. Osprey on D sat in tree for me but not great lighting. No sign of D loons or C loons. But I videotaped a bittern glunking in B marsh!!! Made my night. I'm watching a pair of sandhills feeding in EPool and the eagle in is it's tree. Hope to get a break in the weather and find ABJs on the nest. It looks like there may be a chance at a decent morning. I'm getting out early regardless. Oh and I missed a snipe next to the road across from G pool...I was watching the eagle fly over to E.
Yeah F Pool loon is on the nest...And adding to it. West end of E Pool has two cygnets by the feeding tree. I spooked off the eagle...But it's a matter of time. I think we have a colt in B marsh...Parents lead me away….cackling
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal May 29, 2017
East end loons have one chick…on the cuurve before the spillway...Not far. The eagle is bothering them.
They were staying fairly close to shore. It’s always so amazing when I can spent quiet time with a new family. They were quite fine with my presence. Of course I stayed down low and remained quiet. I keep hoping for sun!! It keeps trying…but it looks like the fog and gloom are going to hang out with me, too.
Just spent time talking to the Patton's s...The Refuge loon counters. Chick was here at 5 last night. They said we have an average of 18 loons this season.
J pool lone loon was by fishing pier. Looks like all lone loons on all the pools so we will probably have chicks all at one time!!! Hope!
I caught a quick glimpse of a fox running down the Gray's Creek drive heading to E Pool.
May 30, 2017
Well at 8:00 Michael said "the sun is shining". That's all it took. I was dressed and ready to go! Of course the sun didn't last long. But H pool loons are still trying to decide where to nest. We found one loon on G pool. We spotted D Pool loons out from the long island. We watched them as they came closer. The female went up on land…followed by the male. We were treated to seeing them copulate!!
Both C loons were by old nest site. But still they could just be taking a break...hopefully.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge May 22, 2017
A merlin was screaming near the nesting site along F Pool. The weather is over cast and gloom.
There was a lone blue-winged teal male quietly sitting in the channel across from F Pool…where I found ABJ and V4.
They were out looking for a new nesting site…so sadly their first nest failed. I watched them build that nest and incubate the eggs for over two weeks….sad.
I watched them for a half an hour. She would go up to an area…he would watch…then she would move on. Hopefully this next nest will be successful.
There are a lot more Canada geese goslings throughout the Refuge. Caspian terns are being noisy. Common terns are courting…ring-necks aren’t nesting yet.
The loons are still acting like the may be nesting on J and G Pool. I found spotted sandpipers on the west end of E Pool along the G Pool eagle in the feeding tree. No sign of D Pool loons so hopefully they are nesting. I found the C Pool loons together at the west end of C Pool. Time will tell when what gets hatched. Unfortunately the black flies and mosquitoes are out!!
Seney National Wildlife Refuge May 21, 2017
Rainy cold and windy with temps in the 50’s. It was a very quiet morning. ABJ and V 4 were not near their nesting site. Sadly it appears the rain and black flies have driven them off the nest. Hopefully they will reclutch. There is still plenty of time.
The E Pool eagle flew over being hassled by a small bird. Spotted a blue-winged teal male on E Pool along with trumpeter swan and Canada geese with some young and a pair of sandhill cranes.
F Pool loons’ nest was visible with two eggs…water encroaching but not over the nest.
No sign of any loons on H pool…just the trumpeter swans nesting.
J Pool loon was patrolling by himself. Common terns were courting on their stump. And a couple of spotted sandpipers were flitting about. I spooked a bittern…and Wilson snipes and Virginia rails were calling.
I witnessed J Pool territorial trumpeter swan run off a single intruder…not once but three times. It finally landed close enough that I realized it was probably their sole surviving cygnet from last year. It’s a rough world out there. Mom and dad are now preparing for new little ones…but Junior doesn’t understand why he can’t come home again.
Along the west end of the Fishing Loop. I heard a blue-winged teal calling. It was a female calling and courting a male. They sat side by side on a tuft of grass in the channel…bobbing their heads up and down. Another male came swimming by…then a third flew in. They were the backups if the first male failed to impress. The rain starting really coming down…and another car came up behind and spooked them off….so I moved on.
Then off to visit the bears…3rd year eagle landed along the tracks. Pileated landed by the blind. Another mature eagle landed in a spruce tree near the blind!! A pair of sandhills walked from the south all the way to us. We watched little Red come out of the woods and follow a single sandhill up toward us in the fog. The sandhill flew over us because of the other pair of sandhills. Little red went into the woods…then came back out woofing trying to scare off the sandhills…to no avail. We did see a very large bear to the south…but it never came down to us. We were there from 1:30-5:30.
Back at the Refuge we watched J pool working on another nest. F, D and C were all still together. G pool was alone so hopefully one is on a nest.
Seney Natoinal Wildlife Refuge May 15, 2017
It was a cloudy morning so I didn't get on the Refuge till 8:30am. It was cloudy windy but in the 50's. An American bittern flew in front of me as I started around F Pool.
The pool were very quiet...once again just a few Blue-winged teals...ring-necked ducks...common and Caspian terns.
F Pool loon near the nest....J Pool loons out together. The Canada geese pair lost all of their goslings at the end of J channel. It looks like the trumpeter swans figured it out and decided not to nest their again. I did find a pair of common mergansers there, too.
I watched one of G Pool eagles take food up to the nest. I waited but it seemed to be really ripping up the food. a Caspian tern was intently fishing along G Pool, too.
The G Pool loons were out meandering from island to island looking for the perfecting nesting site. They came up closer to me. I watched her choose a spot and start pulling up nesting material!! She then went on the back side of the island and went up on land....waiting for him. I guess he didn't like the location so off they went. It isn't the first time I've watched them building a nest only to abandon it. Bummer.
I did have Wilson snipes flying over winnowing...as another answered from the marsh along G Pool. I love to hear nature especially during courting season.
D Pool loon was being elusive. C Pool loons were near the old site again.
We came back in the after with our friends, Ken and Jean, as a storm started to move in.
We enjoyed watching a pair of loons on H Pool...which we thought were the J Pool loons. They like to hangout on both pools. Looks like maybe one of the E Pool loon pairs have moved over because of the lowering of E Pool for band restoration. Time will tell. We just have to see if we can see bands.
The J Pool loons were enjoying island hopping again. We had hoped to witness something exciting but they weren't in the mood. G Pool and C Pool loons still searching too.
Can't wait to get back Saturday night to see if any new loon nests or other visitors.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge May 14, 2017
Another cold and windy day in da U.P. but at least the sun is out!! I took a hike around F to E to H to J and back by I Pools. Last main hike before the Refuge opens for the season tomorrow.
The Canada geese are out with their goslings...alls sizes. A few warblers singing in the conifers. E Pool is now very quiet. I found a pair of sandhills feeding near the F/E spillway...a few blue-winged teals...trumpeter swans but otherwise the migrants have moved on. There were still a few Caspian tern and a few common terns now, too.
Trumpeter swans are flying around trying to disturb the nesting couples. A lone sandhill crane is trying to find a safe place to feed without nesting sandhills driving them off.
ABJ and his mate were near the nesting area.
I got to spend some time with J Pool loons. They were at the far end of the pool. But I sat and waited...they came and swam right by me. They were courting...peering and pointing. They eventually went over to a sandbar where the female got up on the land. She was patiently waiting for him to decide that is was safe to mate. Unfortunately the nesting trumpeter swan male decided he didn't want them that close to his nest. So he honked and swam right up by the sandbar...interrupting the mood. So off the sandbar she went as he swam away.
The common terns were starting to gather in the area...courting and carrying on.
I heard a sora in F Marsh...and Wilson snipe. I spooked an American bittern, too. A few more warblers around I Pool. Trumpeter swans...geese and noisy kingfishers. The nesting merlins were being quiet.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge May 9, 2017
After a cloudy morning I got the Refuge around 8:30am. It was 40's and NO wind!! The water was like glass!! I found several male wood ducks at the start of F Pool.
The Wildlife Drive is closed to entry due to heavy equipment working on E Pool bank restoration. But the Nature trail was open...so I head back along I Pool to J Pool.
I found yellow-rumped and palm warblers. Two young female hooded mergansers flew into I Pool. A lone white-tailed doe was feeding in F marsh.
I could hear the merllins before I saw them. I was able to sneak up on a female bufflehead at the end of J Pool near the merlins nest. While I was photographing it...the female merlin flew in with a chipping sparrow in her talon!!
I then headed down to J Pool to check on the loons. The trumpeter swan was on her nest on the island. I scanned...nothing...then way across the pool...I spotted them. Both of them were out and about. I decided to calmly...patiently just sit and wait. I knew they would 'eventually' make their way over to me.
It didn't take them long...and they worked their way down...right in front of me. She stuck her head out in the defensive mode. She's definitely not as social as he is. He proceeded to pop up in front of me. I was able to get some beautiful reflective shots before she lured him back out farther.
On the way back out I found a pair of Canada geese with five tiny goslings....and a pair of courting kingfishers. I headed out at 10:30am.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge May 7, 2017
6:45 am a gorgeous but cold and windy morning...the sunshine is the most uplifting thing and motivator.
Trumpeter swans landed on F Pool only to be quickly chased off by the terriotorial male whose mate is nesting across the pool.
It was quiet in the woods...the little birds aren't too happy about the winds. E Pool is busy but everything is back farther out of the northwinds.
I did find some green-winged teals and American wigeons along the F/E spillway....but they flew back further when they caught sight of me. Still lots of yellowlegs...but only a few Caspian terns...some Northern shovellers and northern pintails...trumpeter swans and Canada geese.
I was blest to sit quietly for over two hours and witness a pair of Caspian terns courting. He brought her a fish...she nudged him lovingly. Then they copulated...with her reaching up and grabbing his beak in a loving kiss. I'm always amazed what I am privileged to witness if I am just patient and quiet...out with nature.
I was so happy to find ABJ and his mate actually nesting. The merlins are definitely nesting on the back side of J Pool. I spooked two American bitterns out of the marsh on the back of F Pool/I Pool. I witenessed four Northern flickers courting and vieing for attention. And the ospreys were in their nest behind the Visitors Center.
We went to the Toonerville Trolley to take down the old blind...and saw Junior.
We then went to the rivermouth of the Tahquamenon to see if we could find the garganey teal or neotropic cormorant...to no avail. We went up to Whitefish Pt. and enjoyed lots of birds at the feeders and two snowshoe hares.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal April 30, 2017
I headed the Refuge around 10:00am with an east wind…partly cloudy and 48 degrees. The ring-necked ducks are in the Visitors show pool…and at the start of F Pool. I also found two male and one female hooded mergansers along the way.
I was happy to see ABJ and his mate together…although that means they probably haven’t nested yet. They seemed to still be ‘looking’. I was finally able to get close enough to her later in the day to see her left leg band “V4” confirming that she is he mate.
One of the F Pool territorial trumpeter swans was busy chasing interlopers out of his nesting area. As I was hiking along I heard the telltale scream of a merlin. I finally found her…and he was flying above her along F Pool. As I was heading back later in the day…I found their nest!! I’m not sure if they have ‘officially’ nested or if they are still in the construction stage. I am so excited. I love these little falcons.
I heard more and more little songbirds along the way…but I’m not as knowledgeable about them as I am raptors and water birds. It was just a joy to sit and watch them flit around.
Before I got to E Pool…I heard them…Caspian terns squawking and Greater yellowlegs peeping!! I spent over two hours sitting and watching all the activity on E Pool. Now that it is lower to allow for restoration along the Marshland drive…more water birds…dabblers and shorebirds are finding it a great place to stop and rest a spell.
There were Northern shovelers…Northern pintails…green-winged teals…blue-winged teals…maybe an American wigeon or two…the Caspian terns…common mergansers…and tons of Greater yellowlegs. At times I didn’t know which way to look first.
Then seven double crested cormorants landed on F Pool. I knew ABJ and his mate wouldn’t be happy about that. Luckily they just stayed a few minutes before heading north.
It was a great three and a half hour time spent out with nature.
Later in the evening I made the hike back to E Pool with my friend Jean Rautiola…still lots of action on E Pool and we got to see ABJ and his mate.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal April 24, 2017
I got to the Refuge around 11:30 after the weather cleared off a little. The temps were in the forties with a southeast wind.
I meet my ruffed grouse puffed up and parading around again. A Northern male flicker seranaded me as I started my hike. Ring-necked ducks were in F Pool along with Canada geese and a few trumpeter swan pairs.
A broad winged hawk flew over the marsh. I found one of the loons way out in the middle of F Pool. The little birds were really flitting about...ruby crowned kinglets...yellow rumped warblers...rose breasted nuthatches etc.
I spent over an hour wathcing 24 Caspian terns fighting...flying and squawking on E Pool. The pool is really getting lower...which is going to make for some interesting dynamics this year on the Refuge. The Refuge has to do restroations to some of the banks along the Marshland Drive this summer...so they have to lower the water levels on E Pool. This will be a much needed benefit to keep the Drive open and safe for auto traffic.
There were also several common mergnasers...fighting trumpeter swans and kingfishers on E Pool. The bald eagles both flew into the nest. I'm not so sure they have had any young. Hopefully they will re-clutch and be successful. It's sadly been a few years since they had a successful nest.
As I headed back to the truck from E Pool I spent quite a bit of time enjoying the little songbirds that were migrating through. It was cold but at least not as windy and a little more activity...still just a joy to spend time with the wildlife at my Happy Place.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal April 23, 2017
A brisk 38 degrees with a north winds at 11:00 am...clouds then partly sunny. We found woood ducks in the channel along M77...and an osprey in the nest. Then back at 4:45pm to take a hike. A ruffed grouse was puffed up crossing the Entrance Rd. I heard a Wilson snipe flying as I started by hike around F Pool...and a male northern harrier was flying over the marsh.
One loon on F Pool...does this mean they are already nesting?? Trumpeter swans are starting to nest already. I spooke a pair of hooded mergansers out of the little pool by the F/E spillway. About a dozen Caspian terns were enjoying themselves on the lowering E Pool...along with some common mergansers. I watched as an eagle nabbed a fish off of F Pool and a second eagle came in after it. They then headed back to the nest on E Pool. The ospreys were in their nest screaming at the time. I first thought an eagle was trying to get a fish from the osprey.
A pair of sandhill cranes was wandering around E/H marsh...along with a dozen ring-necked ducks on H Pool that flew off as soon as the caught a glimpse of me. Some buffleheads were at the end of H Pool. A male kingfisher was chattering on J Pool...the female was further down chattering. I spotted the J Pool loon farther out. Another pair of sandhill cranes was cackling in F marsh. Merlins sounded like they were buildling a nest at the end of J Pool and then I heard more at the end of I Pool. I spooked a Wilson snipe out of the back side of F in the marshes. The Visitors Center osprey were in their nest along with ring-necked ducks and a pied billed grebe in the front pool.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge April 17, 2017
Sadly it was cloudy all day Sunday...so we headed southwest to find some sun and wildlife. By Monday it took all day for us to get to the Refuge. Finally after 2:00pm the sun starting arriving...but so did the north winds and 38 degree temperture.
Still...any day we can spend time on the Refuge is a good day. The osperys have returned to their nest behind the Visitors Center. It is so good to hear them calling to each other.
ABJ and his mate were out looking at nesting sites at the beginning of F Pool. It was great to see she has returned to celebrate her mate's 30th birthday. She is actually a year or two older than him...as estimated by Common Coast Research. They have been together more than 20 years...which is unusal for loons. They do not usually mate for life.
Mrs. ABJ got bored with nest hunting and went off to preen....her usual MO...while he decided to do some fishing.
The osprey pair was back at their nest on F Pool. E Pool is being lowered we found out...after a visit with Refuge manager Sara S. The banks need to have rocks added to shore up the drive along the Marshland drive. This will impact some of the wildlife but not as much as if they ignored the issue. So it will interesting to see how this will impact the other pools on Refuge...and the dynamics within.
I did find some blue-winged teals in the channel between E and H Pools. A pair of sandhills flew over H to E. A pair of trumpeter swans was working on a nest on one of the islands in J Pool while a pair of kingfishers chased each other around.
As I circled around I Pool I spooked up some ring-necked ducks and a femal sharp-tailed grouse. It was a nice hike despite the cold and wind. It was just great to have ABJ and his mate back together...making it worth all worthwhile.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge April 9, 2017
Finally the clouds moved out around 9:30am as I made way to the Refuge. The day started with a slight breeze and forty degree temps...but quickly warmed up as the sun broke through the clouds.
I hiked around F Pool to find ABJ who had just been confirmed returned on Tuesday. I found him near the spillway area. I was able to spend some time with him as he fished his way around the channel. He was intently looking in the sky for the return of his mate....hopefully soon. He will be 30 years old this year...the first known banded loon in 1987. Adult banded juvenile...which all of the loons are called when first banded...but he is the first and so he is capitalized...ABJ.
Kingfishers are courting...chasing each other around E and F Pools. There are lots of trumpeters swans on E Pool with several pair having already staked out nesting sites.
I found a pair of green-winged teals on E Pool but they quickly flew. I have yet to get very close to these skittish birds.
A male song sparrow seranaded me...along with red-winged blackbirds...grackles...yellow rumped warblers etc.
I hears snadhill cranes cackling all around the Refuge...the sounds of Spring were everywhere. A male common merganser flew from F over to H Pool.
Yeah...our J Pool male...AT...is back. He spent time along the channel where I got a chance to see his band. I sat and ate my lunch with him....perfect setting. Then wave after wave of sandhill cranes started flying over me!!! They were flying from the southwest heading northeast. Talk about perfect....what a better way to spend time out with nature!!! There had to have been well over two hundred sandhills flying!!!
I circled back by I Pool where a few trumpeter swans were staking claims...I spooked a few ring-necked ducks, too. There were a few hooded mergansers on the pool in front of the Visitors Center.
Then I headed over to the Wigwams were I enjoyed a little activity on the North Show Pool. The male trumpeter swan came up to where I was sitting on a stump. Sadly you can tell that people are feeding them. It's illegal to feed wildlife on the Refuge...and deadly to them if you feed them bread.
Anyways I told him not to beg...so he preened a little for me. As I was shooting him...his mate decided to get in on the action. Then a litte snowy bunting buzzed by my head...landing on a log in the water near me. How sweet to get that close to one of these hyper little birds. Then the Canada goose pair came over to pose for me. Amazing what gifts you are given if you just sit still and be quiet.
Well, the male trumpeter swan went up on land further back on the pool to really preen and clean. So I decided to walk back that way. On my way I found the snow bunting feeding in the tall grasses at the edge of the pool.
All Photographs Copyrighted by Michael & Teresa McGill/McGills Nature in Motion-Unauthorized use prohibited