Once again I and the missus had the great pleasure to spend some quality time birding one of our favourite Michigan birding sites, Seney NWR. As usual it did not disappoint us, giving us close to two days of seeing our favourite birds, the Common Loon. We arrived at the Refuge late Tuesday after driving from our original home of Thunder Bay, Ontario. This time we decided to concentrate mainly on the Loons and to try and catch as many of them as we could. By using the information contained in Teresa McGills blog as a basis for our search, we planned on spending all day Wednesday combing the pools searching all those out we could find. So, we started out at 7:00 AM and finished at approx 10:30 PM. This late hour was the result of us going on the Refuge sponsered evening tour, which resulted in the locating of 4 additional Loons we would not have seen due to them being located in “A” Pool, which is not seen from either the Marshland Drive or the Fishermans Loop roads. We soon discovered that it has been a good year for these priceless birds. We were able to check 10 of the pools that border on the main tour roads within the park and found that there were active pairs of Loons in everyone but for “H” Pool. In fact, the largest pool “E” had two pairs, one at each end. This is the list of the number of Loons and Chicks along with their location for anybody going up there in August.
Pool “I” - 2 adults and 2 chicks
Pool “F” - 2 adults and 1 chick (ABJ and his mate, they did have twins but one died)
Pool “E” - East end – 2 adults but no chicks
Pool “E” - West end – 2 adults and 2 chicks
Pool “J” - 2 adults and 1 chick
Pool “G” - 3 adults and 2 chicks (one loon here was the exmate of the female trying to win her back from her new mate. He kept flying over the pool calling and making a nuisance of himself)
Pool “D” - 2 adults and 1 chick
Pool “C” - 2 adults and 1 chick
Pool “B” - 2 adults but no chicks
Pool “A” - 2 adults and 2 chicks
So, in total we saw and recorded a total of 21 adult loons along with 12 surviving chicks. A pretty good year, the best we personally have seen in quite awhile. This also does not include those pools that we could not visit due to their location and time constraints, such as the one near Diggs River Road and the ones further inland near the main autoroute which probably contained more pairs and chicks.
However, it wasn't a banner year for the Trumpeter Swans, as there were few cygnets. We counted only 7 throughout the total refuge so the attrition due to predators etc was quite high. But, according to the refuge staff this is a bit of a blessing as the Refuge is basically at its max for these birds. It is getting a bit crowded. We counted close to 100 of these critters on Pool “E” which is the bachelor/bachorlette region where the non breeders hold up. A lot of these birds will probably be pairing up next year.
Because we tried to concentrate on the Loons we probably missed quite a few of the other birds, but still were able to document close to 50 other species. For anybody interested in these we have that data posted on eBird.
All in all, it was a very good outing, one that we hope to continue many more times in the future. As I have said previously if anybody is planning on coming to the UP this place is a must. And if so, I highly recommend a visit to the McGill's website Natureinmotion as it contains a lot of info on the where to look for a lot of the birds.
Linda and Ron Johnston
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada