Friday, May 16, 2014


Photo taken 8 a.m. Friday morning in Detroit Harbor.
Detroit Harbor, Washington Island -

Resting from their maneuvers for a brief time, a squadron of five white pelicans joined two great blue herons and two great egrets (at left) in the grassy shoreline of Detroit Harbor this morning.   We've seen pelicans paddling about offshore and on the wing, but not resting and preening on shore as they did this morning.  The warmth of the rising sun, coupled with the morning's cold air - 38 degrees - may have encouraged them to come ashore.

Since before ice departed at April's end - not all that long ago - we began seeing these birds in the harbor, but they never posed together for a photo as they did this morning.  Old timers would have choked on their Plow Boy chew if someone claimed to have seen a pelican or an egret on Washington Island, but these birds have been as regular as robins in recent years.

A few days ago, word and photo were passed along that Randy Holm, Rock Island Park Manager, spotted a tropical crested caracara near his home.   Apparently, it was feasting on a raccoon carcass.  Melody Walsh surmises it might have flown north with turkey buzzards.  

A number of passengers seen onboard the ferries recently with binocs dangling from their necks and notebooks at the ready would indicate there will be interest from the Wisconsin birding community.  If this bird fancies raccoon, a common enough roadside mammal, perhaps we'll see more of it in the coming days.

We find it almost impossible to believe, but bob-o-links that nest in this same field on Michigan Road near where Randy spotted the caracara are believed to fly all the way from way south in South America (Argentina) to lay their eggs here.  Quite an undertaking.

Such sighting information may serve as a good reminder to birders that the Island Bird Festival isn't far away, the weekend of May 31/June 1.     The banquet registration deadline is today, May 16.  For registration and general festival information go to:  

-   Dick Purinton

No comments: