|Smew, Allegan Lake, January 8|
|Male Pine Grosbeak, a Northern Michigan specialty|
|Female Pine Grosbeak picking at crabapples.|
But the show stopper for me was the big flock of Bohemian Waxwings. In most places in Lower Michigan one sees Bohemian Waxwing as an individual or two mixed in with a flock of Cedar Waxwing. To find a flock of nothing but Bohemians was a bit overwhelming. I didn't know where to look, but settled on birds that were next to the car as the lighting was better for photos.
These birds are distinguished from the Cedars by their overall gray appearance (Cedars are more yellow and brown), the rufous on the undertail coverts (Cedars are white), and the yellow and white tips on the flight feathers which make the zig-zag stripe down the wing.
As we turned and headed for home (this time on actual, plowed roads!) we saw a Ruffed Grouse fly across the road. A moment later I realized there were several birds along the road near a little wetland where there were also crabapples. I tried stopping quickly and the anti-lock brakes kicked in, grinding and crunching and not really stopping us, even though I was only going about 10 miles an hour. We finally came to rest about 40 feet away, and I managed a few photos before the birds spooked and flew into the woods.
|Ruffed Grouse heinie.|