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Michigan Revisited, July 2017

Part 12: Anahuac NWR Revisited

All photographs ©2017 by Mary Beth Stowe

And the next morning was glorious!  Headed straight out to Anahuac and resisted the temptation to stop along the entrance road like I did last time, and just cruised around Shoveler Pond, stopping at the appointed places.  The first new year bird after stepping out of the car was a flyby Fulvous Whistling Duck, and just like last time, we had a morning chorus of Boat-tailed Grackles (and a couple of Great-tails sounding off just for good measure), tons of Common Gallinules and their babies, and best of all, some show-off Purple Gallinules, the one bird I was really hoping to pick up for the trip!  What was really funny was spotting what I thought was a Least Bittern sitting in the reeds, but it turned out to be a buff-breasted young Purple Gallinule face-on; with those long yellow legs he sure was doing a good impersonation!  Marsh Wrens were all over, and were showing along the boardwalk as per usual, and the egrets were incredible:  at one point the road was entirely blocked by Snowy Egrets (and a few Cattles)!  That particular mob had close to 100 birds, and with the mob of 50 along the boardwalk, eBird didn’t like my total of 150 (but liked 100), so I suppose the “boardwalk mob” could have migrated over to the road in the time it took me to get there…  In the dickie department were several Orchard Orioles up and singing, and lots of Dickcissels singing that odd song that Joe Kennedy pointed out to me on my last trip here!  A whiddly-doo overhead alerted me to an Upland Sandpiper, and a Yellow-crowned Night Heron hid next to the road.  Familiar friends from the Gulf that were new for the trip included Roseate Spoonbills, Gull-billed Terns, and both flavors of ibis (the young White-faced were interesting in that they had “piebald” bills)! Ode-wise I had never seen so many Four-spotted Pennants in my life: every reed tip seemed to have one teed up!  A single Blue Dasher was along the boardwalk, but that was all I could find in that department.  The only damper were those biting deer flies that didn’t seem to want to leave you alone…

Dawn chorus:  Boat-tailed Grackle is prominent, with Marsh Wrens, Red-winged Blackbirds, and gallinules in the background.

Shoveler Drive

Rainbow along the road!

Pennant invasion!

Boardwalk into the marsh

I was originally gonna start heading back after doing the loop when I suddenly remembered that Black Rail was a possibility along the road to Frozen Point!  So we headed out that way, and when a couple of little black bodies ran across the road I got very excited until I saw the adult King Rail on the other side of the road!  (Well, that was exciting, too, as she stayed put and even spread her wing for me, showing off the rusty shoulder!)  When I got down to the area I had heard the Blacks last time, sure enough, I heard a distant bippy-boo!  Bingo!  When I went down to turn the car around one was calling even closer, enough for a “proof” recording (you had to really crank up the volume while editing… J)

            Headed south to the Valley after that, very happy indeed being able to add several birds to the trip list!  Except for more construction slow-downs, the drive in was smooth, until I got to I-2 and was reminded anew how crazy the drivers are down here! L  Final tally for the trip was 175!


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