Imagine it’s 22 degrees Farenheit at 9:00am on a winter weekend morning in Michigan.
If you’re like most people, you’re at home, warm, enjoying a late breakfast.
Or maybe you’re sleeping in.
I’m bundled up in my down winter coat, boots, hat, and mittens on the shores of Lake Erie near the Ohio border.
Chatting with a group of avid birdwatchers, anxiously awaiting our birdwatching trip of Pointe Mouillee marshes.
It’s the 22nd annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) this weekend, what else would I be doing but birdwatching?
Great Backyard Bird Count
Led by Michigan Department of Natural Resources staff, our group has special permission to drive the Pointe Mouillee dikes to count birds, mostly waterfowl for GBBC.
Pointe Mouillee is not typically open to vehicles, people have to bike in or walk in to the dikes.
And that may mean hiking four miles in and four miles back.
The skies in the west are deep gray but they don’t dampen the excitement many of us have to be out on Pointe Moo, as we call it, searching for eagles, hawks, waterfowl, and other birds.
Light snow showers fell throughout our outing.
With fierce winds off the lake, I was grateful for a warm car as we stopped our vehicles along the dikes to set up up spotting scopes.
We saw hundreds of Redheads, Mute Swans, Greater and Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, and Common Mergansers.
I called out a Great Blue Heron on the far shore at our first stop. It was the only Great Blue we saw all day.
The checklist for the day hasn’t been posted yet by our birding group leader, but I was glad to add Northern Harrier, American Wigeon, and Tundra Swan to my list of birds seen in 2019.