Avids in That State up North: 07 Dec 2019

Snowy Owl by Zebedee Muller

Snowy Owl by Zebedee Muller

Snowy Owl by Zebedee Muller

Snowy Owl by Zebedee Muller

The Avids took a rare out of state trip to Ypsilanti, Michigan, to relocate a young Gyrfalcon that had been inhabiting the area for several weeks. We stopped on the drive north, for a Snowy Owl in Wood county. We found the almost all white Snowy Owl, perched on a telephone pole, right next to the road. It was flushed by a large truck and flew even closer – perching on the nearest pole. After such stunning views, it was difficult to pull ourselves away from this bird, but we wanted to look for the Prairie Falcon that had been reported the day before. We spent a couple hours in an unsuccessful attempt to relocate it. We saw many Horned Larks in the agricultural fields. The Snowy Owl was further out in the field when we left the area.

Once in Michigan, the weather was sunny and clear with no precipitation and temperatures in the 30s. We spent considerable time at the Willow Run Airport and Grace Lake

Red-tailed Hawk by Zebedee Muller

Red-tailed Hawk by Zebedee Muller

area. There were Great and Lesser Black-backed Gulls along with many Ring-billed and Herring Gulls. Photos later revealed an Iceland Gull. We had a very distant view of the Gyrfalcon soaring high overhead, identifiable only by shape. We were disappointed not to get better looks. We saw a number of Red-tailed Hawks, this one consistently on the airport fence. We stayed late, hoping to see Short-eared Owls on Vreeland road, but the Northern Harriers left for the night, and no owls were seen.

Flags were at half staff today, in memory of the attack on Pearl Harbor on this date in 1941. After the attack, assembly workers were in high demand all across the country. The Willow Run plant built B-24 Bombers.
One of the Willow Run factory workers became a Rosie the Riveter spokesperson, wearing the iconic bandanna and flexing her muscle to sell war bonds. Rose Will Monroe’s efforts, as well as thousands of other women in Michigan and across the country, changed the course a war and the image of women for generations.

Another rarity: we stopped for a sit down dinner on the way home.

33 Species for the day:

Cackling Goose
Canada Goose
Mallard
Bufflehead
Common Merganser
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Great Blue Heron
Northern Harrier
Cooper’s Hawk
Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
Snowy Owl
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
American Kestrel
Gyrfalcon
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Horned Lark
European Starling
Eastern Bluebird
House Sparrow
American Goldfinch
Dark-eyed Junco
White-crowned Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal