Wayne Co.: Dickcissal, Pelican, Prothonotary Warbler, Henslow's and Grasshopper sparrows (Brewer's Blackbird: maybe)

Mencotti, Mike MMencotti at dcds.edu
Sun Jun 12 13:26:34 EDT 2005

This morning, I chased some Wayne Co. birds most-recently reported by Neil GIlbert. Here is a rundown:
Oakwoods Metropark: I saw 2 Dickcissals off the main road across from the Nature Center 1 Mile sign. An Orchard Oriole flew into a tree there as well. In the field across from the parking area just past the railroad tracks, I heard at least 2 Helnslow's Sparrows and saw one.
At the canoe launch behind the Nature Center, I heard and caught a definitive glimpse of a Prothonotary Warbler. It was hanging around the same spot for nearly 15 minutes singing incessantly: If you stand on the small dock, look left to see 2 large willows hanging in the water across the pond. In the leftmost willow, you'll see a branch system that extends downward like fingers on the left side of the tree. It was signing from the willow leaves just above the "fingers." I dipped -- I think -- on Neil's Chats, but I did find 5 Catbirds and a thrasher in that area, so I didn't want to make a call on that bird by voice only. Of course, Neil's ears are younger and more accurate than mine, so the area would definitely be worth combing for that bird.
Crosswinds Marsh: I had the American White Pelican about 9:15 am, in the spot previously reported. From the parking lot, walk left on the Blue Gill trail (not the part of the trail that leads to a large enclosed gazebo). Walk on the boardwalk onto the small island and look toward the Bald Eagle nest (which is visible from the parking lot). If not for the island, you would see the Pelican in the water in line with the eagle nest from the parking lot.
Waltz Sod Farm: (Ash Road, near Clark). I had a brief but "definitive?" look at a pair of Brewer's Blackbirds. You be the judge: Glossy male with small bird and short tail; drab female with a dark iris but no glossy feathers. Birds were highly reminiscent of Rustys. Bill was wrong color and size for Starlings (no feather speckles, either). Bill was much slimmer than Cowbird. Tail and bill much too short for Grackle. All three afreomentioned species were available for comparison. I saw the birds about 30 feet off Ash Road, near a large triangle-shaped, rusting machine. The birds walked from the plowed area into a patch of low yellow flowers, not to come out again.
Willow Run Airport: I heard a Grasshopper Sparrow along the road inside the airport. I was trying for the Upland Sandpipers, but was nicely asked to leave by security as I was stopped along the roadway.

Not a bad morning at all.

Mike Mencotti
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