birdeland at pasty.net
Mon Nov 7 22:28:22 EST 2005
Today we took a short ride several miles to the west of us just across the Macomb county line where there is small old gravel pit lake and nearby a huge modern (! ? !) infamous and unpopular landfill. Often we check both these locations for ducks, geese, gulls, raptors and whatever. No ducks today but dumb luck or whatever we happened upon a huge movement of several species going through and right across I/94 in a SSW to SSE direction in, it seemed, an endless stream! Best estimate 3000+ Ring-billed Gulls, surely a few other species mixed in but they were all well over tree top height and moving quickly. Starlings by the hundreds and thousands mixed in this stream along with even more Grackles! Several smaller flocks of Red-wings, Cowbirds, numbering in the dozens or hundreds seperate or mixed together following one after another! I noted several vehicles slow down on I94 observing this spectacle passing over them! At least 2 flocks numbering in the dozens or hundreds we observed landing in the hedgerows were Rusty Blackbirds! One flock of at least 250! Dozens also of Canada Geese! Several Robins moving through too! Also observed were local resident Crows, Blue Jays, House Sparrows, Mourning Doves, and several Red Tail Hawks. I observed only 1 small shorebird across this lake on the shore but could not pull it out with my small scope. Although none of these species are uncommon in this area except the Rustys, I don't think I have ever seen so many birds at one time of any species as this "wave"! I'm not experienced at counting or estimating huge numbers of birds quickly, but if an experienced birder more then I would have told me 50,000 birds total then, it would be believeable to me.
Russ Emmons, southern St. Clair county
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