Karl Overman: Birds and more


Adam Byrne for years has been doing waterbird surveys at Pointe Mouillee which gives him vehicular access to the miles of dikes there and he regularly turns up stellar birds in the process.  On July 23, 2017 he, along with Scott Terry and Dave Powell, found a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper during such a survey and the chase was on for Michigan birders.  Oh, and by the way, Adam’s crew also found this immature Little Blue Heron on the same day.  I don’t think North American populations of Little Blue Heron have crashed in the last 80 years but something has happened to change its distribution as far as its post breeding dispersals. A key birder in the history of Michigan ornithology was Louis Campbell from Toledo who regularly birded the marshes of southern Monroe County starting in the 1930s.  He was actively birding into the 1970s when I had the privilege of meeting him on several occasions. In the 1930s he regularly had immatures of this species in the Erie Marshes and sometimes in large numbers including 85 in 1930.  N.A. Woods, The Birds of Michigan, p31 (1951).  By the 1970s when I started birding the Erie Marshes in earnest, those kind of numbers for the species were already a thing of the past but nonetheless as we looked for southern herons in late summer, this species was viewed as far more likely than say Tricolored Heron or even Snowy Egret. Not so today when Snowy Egret is regular and Tricolored is virtually annual at Pointe Mouillee, this species has become the prized find of the lot.

The Flint bird was on the Flint River and was an excellent find by Jeff Beucking.

Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)

Modified March 8, 2022