Laura Erickson's For the Birds

Monday, May 28, 2007

Kirtland's Warbler side trip

Russ and I had to head out toward Oberlin, Ohio, Friday to pick up our daughter's stuff--she's moving back home Friday. We decided to take the scenic route through Michigan, and started talking about where we should stop for the night as we came up to the Mackinac Bridge. That's when it hit me--we were going to be driving right through Grayling! So of course that's where we stopped, and stayed at a Day's Inn. I got up at 6 to head to the Holiday Inn, where Michigan Audubon's daily Kirtland's Warbler tours depart every morning at 7 and 11. Our tour guide, Sean Fitzgerald, used to live in Wisconsin where he birded and posted on WisBirdNet, so it was a pleasure to meet him in real life, plus he's a splendid field trip leader! So we got several looks at Kirtland's Warblers, including one that was simply fabulous. If only it had occurred to me before we left that seeing a Kirtland's Warbler was a real possibility I'd have brought my own spotting scope and digiscoping camera. I took the above photo holding my Sony DSC-H5, a 12x extended zoom camera, up to Sean's 60mm Raven spotting scope--not the best choice for either the camera or the scope, but beggars can't be choosers and for the first time in my life, I've taken some photos, regardless of how crappy, of Kirtland's Warbler! Of course, now I've whetted my appetite and am hungry to get back there with better equipment.

These trips are really a wonderful opportunity to see a splendid, and critically endangered, species. If you're interested in seeing Kirtland's Warbler, check out the US Fish and Wildlife Service's web page: Kirtland's Warbler Tours. And if you want to see my photos, there are several even worse ones of the bird but also some of the cowbird trapping setup, the habitat, and Sean at Laura's Pretty Pathetic Kirtland's Warbler photo gallery.