Spruce Grouse and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (#650)
Up at 4:00am and out the door with a cup of fresh-brewed coffee in hand before anyone noticed it was still dark. We stopped at a gas station on the way and picked up a sort-of breakfast. It was quite light out but the sun still had not risen when we drove into Whitefish Point. We scouted out the location that Calvin Brennan had put us onto and drove even further on the same road. However, the habitat deteriorated, so we returned to his suggested spot. We spread out and walked through the spruce woods on a bed of reindeer moss. After about half an hour John called, "I've got one." I moved over to where he was and there, not fifteen feet in front of him, was a male Spruce Grouse, feeding on the grasses that had sprouted there (photo). We got Dave over and the three of us watched the bird for fifteen minutes. I got a few pictures although the light was very dim and the bird was either too close or behind twigs. We then took off and returned to the spot wher Calvin had told us to look for the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher but which didn't prove fruitful yesterday. Today, however, there was no wind and we got the bird. This was bird #650 for the year. After breakfast we went to Hulbert Bog where we found four more of the flycatchers. We drove on to Newberry where we had lunch and checked into a motel. We made arrangements to fly out from Detroit tomorrow, a couple of days earlier than planned, and then napped because we're making a last ditch effort for the Yellow Rail at Seney NWR again tonight. We just love those late nights.