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  • Terry Grabill

Michigan Big Year Part 3: January 25-31

Updated: Aug 6

As January 2021 comes to a close, I've gotten MOST of the winter residents. Pine siskin and purple finch are a couple that still elude me for some reason. I'm still studying every flock of redpolls I see to find the frosty hoary redpoll. I've seen pictures of one from a friend in Fremont. Checking the ebird rankings has proven to be a big mistake. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm not out to break any records or beat any other birders. But, I'm still male and the competitive spirit does still have an effect on me. The hardest part is checking the board during lunch break, knowing there is relatively little I can do until the weekend.

January 25:

Had an appointment in Grand Rapids in the late morning so I had to arrange for a full-day substitute teacher. I was free from the Dr. by 11:00 so I made a stop at Riverside Park where there had been reports of a pintail and American wigeon hanging with some mallards. Not knowing how to bird the park, I started almost a mile downstream from the duck hang-out. It was a good walk producing hooded merganser, goldeneye, and mallards. On the hike back to the truck, I picked up American robin and, finally, a Carolina wren!

84. American robin

85. Carolina wren

86. American wigeon

87. Wood duck

Any birding I did the 26th, 27th and 28th was done on the way home from teaching. 3 frustrating days of nothing to add to the year list.

January 29.

Annual physical exam with my general practitioner early in the day in North Muskegon. This left me just enough time for a quick trip to the Muskegon Lake channel before I was on-duty again at school in the afternoon. The trip was more than worth the stop!

88. Great black-backed gull

89. Horned grebe

90. Black scoter

91. Surf Scoter (life bird)

January 30.

ebird has me at #16 today

Brennan wanted to bird some in the morning so we took a brief trip north of Hesperia where we found lots of bald eagles. I kind-of figured we'd not find anything to add to the list, but I put great value on Brennan and helping keep young birders like him engaged. He's becoming a good birder and will be one of the greats one day. I dropped him at his girlfriend's house late morning and set off for White Lake channel. I'd never been there and was pleasantly surprised to see a raft of ducks where White Lake enters the channel. Swarms of goldeneye, redhead, and scaup paraded in a loop together. I had hoped to make one of the goldeneyes a Barrow's...but no luck!

92. Canvasback



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