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  • Terry Grabill

Michigan Big Year Part 19: June 22

Tuttle Hill ponds is in Washtenaw County. It's about three hours distant from home. Andrea's insurance office is in East Lansing and she'd been needing to spend some time there so, well, "it's right on the way!", only an hour past the office. We arrived at the site, again finding ourselves in front of houses but this couldn't be right. We were not on a remote dirt road, this was a suburban subdivision with neat, manicured lawns but NO ponds. Google Maps said we had arrived though! We figured no pond was our clue to look around some more! Tuttle Hill PONDS inferred plural ponds, right? Yep, at the entrance to each subdivision road appeared to be a series of small ponds. Swell....which one? I may have mentioned, Andrea panics a lot less than me. My anxiety elevated at the prospect of glassing every pond in the area, after all, the bird had been reported in several of them! We stopped at the side of a nice, residential road and I leaped from the car to begin my frantic search. I was glassing as sweating, grumbling unsavory thoughts all the way. Andrea, who knows me like no other fairly shouted "Hey, Grabill! calm down! He's right THERE!" In my frustration, I'd overlooked him twice in the last minute. Again, I wonder, how many birds I'd missed so far because I couldn't have her with me. The very first pond we found yielded,

#295 Yellow-crowned night-heron

As we arrived home, I received a text from Robert Lawshe asking where to find this pond. He had arrived in the residential neighborhood too and was looking for the secret pond. I was able to communicate the whereabouts of the night-heron. But this pond no longer held the bird! The darn thing about birds is that they can be awfully mobile. Robert's home is a couple hours more distant from the night-heron than our home so he wasn't going to walk away with a dip too easily. He later texted a picture of the bird that he'd found in one of the other small ponds scattered around the area. Would I have been as patient?

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