• Todd

Spring - A Time of Change

Before I start, I'd like to mention to everyone that my old website is gone. This will take it's place. I've moved the pictures from the old one to here and naturally will be adding to the galleries as I post. It's basically same name, different place. If you have a minute, please take a look, let me know what you think. If you like it and know anyone that may, please share it. If you hate it, but know someone that might like it, please share. It's easy - Click on the photos tab at the top and choose your direction.

This time around, little words, lots of pictures. I hope you enjoy...

Every year I have these great plans to get here and there during Spring migration. They never happen because life happens and things just get in the way. Weather is also a factor. Sunny and dry while you are at work, then dark, gloomy and rainy when you actually have the time to get out. Normally I would trek down into Ohio a couple times and go shoulder to shoulder with the 100's of people that turn out at Magee Marsh. This year I was all set to go and then just didn't. Instead, I stayed home and tried some new places. No crowds, no long drive and plenty of birds. I will be the first to admit, I got very, very lucky. If every year was going to be like this, I'd never venture back to Ohio again! This month's blog is going to be picture heavy. It may also be filled with misidentified birds. If anyone notices a wrong ID, please let me know so that I can correct it. All pictures are from #PureMichigan and less than an hour's drive of my house!

Let's start with a quick sparrow lesson, beginning at my driveway!

White-crowned Sparrow

Field Sparrow (yes, taken in a field)

Chipping Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

Clay-colored Sparrow

The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher is an interesting little bird. I've read that when they catch a larger insect, they will rip off the wings and then beat it on a branch to tenderize it before eating it!

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

I actually got to watch this happen, but it was a Chestnut-sided Warbler doing the beating to a large moth. It was a very short Spring for the moth.

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Is it me or does the Chestnut below just look angry?

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Two Warblers that always seem to be happy, the Palm and the Yellow. Palm Warblers just seem to pass through our area, but the Yellow do nest all across SE Michigan and they love to sing all Spring long!

Palm Warbler

Yellow Warbler

One morning I took a quick drive to a spot a friend told me about where a certain bird breeds. Well not only could I not remember what bird he told me breeds there, but the trail had not been cut in a couple years. I was able to find a somewhat friendly Brown Thrasher.

Brown Thrasher

Not far from the Thrasher was a Common Yellowthroat, Eastern Towhee and Eastern Bluebird

Common Yellowthroat

Eastern Towhee (M)

Eastern Towhee (F)

Eastern Bluebird

If you've ever thought you have heard a cat in the woods, it's likely a Gray Catbird calling.

Gray Catbird

If you have never never heard a Catbird call, do a Google search for "Catbird Mewing" or "Meowing" call, you'll understand then.

I believe it was the weekend of May 11th that was just about as good as it gets for bird photography (in my humble opinion anyway). The results of the weekend...

Not one, but two Hooded Warblers. I'd only seen one until this day.

Hooded Warbler

Hooded Warbler

American Redstart (M)

American Redstart (F)

A first (photo) for me. A Great Crested Flycatcher.

Great Crested Flycatcher

Blue-winged Warbler

Northern Parula

Magnolia Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler (F)

Yellow-rumped Warbler (M)

A first for me - a Veery.


This one kind of has me wondering if I am right or not, but I believe it to be a Pine Warbler.

Pine Warbler

Another tough call for me but 99% sure it's a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Two photos that I captured were a bit special because of the background. First this Northern Parula with a White-breasted Nuthatch in the background.

Northern Parula

The second was this Blackburnian Warbler with a second Blackburnian in the background. I probably saw a half dozen each of Blackburnian and Northern Parula. Before this, only one of each over the past 3 years.

Blackburnian Warbler

If I am correct about this bird, it's a first for me - a Blue-headed Vireo.

Blue-headed Vireo

I've seen a lot of Cape May Warblers in Ohio, this one just north of me was a first in MI.

Cape May Warbler


House Wren

Black and White Warbler

Baltimore Oriole

Again, if I am correct, another first - a Warbling Vireo.

Warbling Vireo

That weekend was just something else, but as fast as it starts, it stops. Well, slows down considerably anyway. Still, I managed to wrap up the month of May with a few more birds.

This Eastern Kingbird was busy chasing flying insects just as a storm was approaching.

Eastern Kingbird

Both the Meadowlark and the Killdeer were both photographed right from my car. I pulled into a parking lot, the Meadowlark flew up into the tree next to me and below it was the Killdeer with the little one.

Eastern Meadowlark


A different day, a different place, another photograph from the car.


The water's edge produced a Sora.


Scarlet Tanager

Red-eyed Vireo

Indigo Bunting

Friend or foe? Being in one of the areas that's known to house the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, you just can't help but jump a bit when you turn around and see this.

Northern Water Snake

Next up, I'll probably be checking in on the Whitetails and hopefully finding a few fawns to photograph. A vacation is on the horizon and I think we are up to a half dozen graduation parties - including one for our own daughter. Until next time, get outdoors and have some fun!

Whitetail Deer

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