Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Hot Afternoon at the Moo

Pointe Mouillee State Game Area, administered by the Michigan DNR, is billed as one of the largest freshwater marsh restoration projects in the world. (Mouillee is pronounced MOO-yay, hence birders calling it “Point Moo” or simply “The Moo”) It’s a massive area of dikes, marshes, and bayous on the west end of Lake Erie. During fall shorebird migration, this is THE place to be in the Great Lakes area.

Great Egret (Ardea alba)

Heavily worn Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria)

Sarah and I headed out there last Sunday (July 14, 2013) to catch up with a report of a Glossy Ibis in breeding plumage. The Plegadis sp. ibises have been giving me fits with White-faced Ibis making a run at becoming my nemesis bird.

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) still singing in mid-July

It was hot and humid, and there is no shade at Pointe Mouillee, but thankfully a constant breeze kept it from being too stifling.
Yours truly on a lonely road at Point Moo. (Photo by Sarah Adams)

The Odonate action was pretty intense. Halloween Pennants and Common Pondhawks were everywhere. The Common Pondhawks are one of the most ferocious hunters you’ll ever encounter. They will take down anything they see up to their own size and sometimes including their own kind. Beautiful dragonflies, but I’d not want to be two inches tall and see one coming. Watching pondhawks hunt always makes me want to go back in time to the Carboniferous period (300 million years ago) when “dragonflies” of the Meganeura had wingspans of over two feet. My housecats wouldn’t be safe around those things.

Female Common Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

Female Black Swallowtail (Papilio ployxenes)

Monarch (Danaus plexippus), a rare sight this year
The birding was so-so. Shorebird season is just starting to warm up. We did get the Glossy Ibis. Quite a beautiful bird. I’m looking forward to seeing one a little closer on our next jaunt through Florida.
Glossy Ibis (Plagedia falcinellis) among some Canada Geese

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