You’ve likely had this happen to you.
You’re on your way home with a family member, maybe a spouse, child or parent.
It’s late in the evening, you haven’t had dinner, and you want to get home.
You see something interesting on the way home.
Do you stop?
Or head home so you can finally sit down to eat a late dinner?
That’s what happened to me last night.
After seeing the family of Hooded Mergansers (mom plus 9 babies) at the nearby pond, my husband and I headed home in our vehicle.
Side note: breeding Hooded Mergansers are unusual in southeastern Michigan; their breeding range includes Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, hundreds of miles north of my area.
It was a rare treat to see them before they swam into the tall cattails at the pond.
On the way home, we took the roundabout near the farm fields and spotted dozens of gulls in the field.
And we noticed one of the birds seemed different than the others.
My husband asked me if I wanted to stop.
Normally, I would have.
But I was hungry and tired. And it was getting dark. I replied,
Let’s head home, it’s late.
Fast forward to this morning, when I received multiple rare bird alert notifications.
From that same area.
I thought to myself, I should have stopped last night.
Turns out a Cattle Egret was observed in the field, along with dozens of Ring-billed Gulls.
Birders throughout our area scurried out to the farm field throughout the day to see the bird.
What’s so Important About a Cattle Egret?
Why were so many people excited about seeing the Cattle Egret?
It’s a rare bird for Michigan!
The breeding range for Cattle Egrets is south of Michigan, hundreds of miles away.
Last time I saw a Cattle Egret was three years ago, in southern Florida, where they are commonly viewed in marshes and wetlands.
Several have been spotted in our area over the years, always a celebration in our birding community.
The bird spotted this weekend was the first time it’s been seen in the township.
Seeing the Cattle Egret makes it bird species number 154 for me in 2020.