Karl Overman: Birds and More


Scott Schuette confirmed the presence of this vagrant on November 17, 2010 and the race was on for downstate birds, the third time in less than a month, to head to the eastern U.P. for a great bird.  The previous avain super stars in the U.P. during that time span were Common Ground Dove at Whitefish Point and Anna’s Hummingbird at Grand Marais.

It was cold when Robert Epstein and I arrived around 11:30 am--32 degrees with patches of snow on the ground and snow falling at times.  Some of the usual suspects at rare bird happenings in the U.P. where present--Mark and Joanie Hubinger, Caleb Putnam, and  Mike Petrucha (photo below)  and Kirk  Zufelt.  The bird was seen earlier in the morning by Brad Murphy, Caleb,and  Scott Terry but then there was a three hour hiatus before us late comers got to see the bird back where it was originally seen, a small opening in the forest across from the Sunrise Resort whose owners first realised that they had a special bird on their property.

Just up the road from this 2010 record for the species is Whitefish Point with a well earned reputation as a vagrant trap.  I birded there in late August of 2021.  As is usual for me, I get bored hanging around the point waiting for something to fly in off Lake Superior so I retreated to check the jackpines between the point and the parking lot.  This time I was rewarded by finding an Ash-throated Flycatcher.  I went back to the point and the counter’s shack were a few birders were assembled.  I convinced Will Keller, Meg, the Kew brothers, Oliver and Jack, and Elliot Nelson to come and look for the flycatcher and as a group we were successful in refinding the bird.  I called Adam Byrne about the bird and he did managed to get there before dark and see the bird.  Of course he had to come by way of Tawas Point so he could added Western Kingbird to his August Michigan list.  Adam said this was the earliest record for Michigan and the only August record with the previous earliest record being September 22nd, also at Whitefish Point.

It turned out this was not the only Ash-throated Flycatcher at Whitefish this fall with another bird showing up on October 4th.


Ash-throated Flycatcher (Myiarchus cinerascens)

modified March 10, 2022