A quick two day trip to central Alger County in the Upper Peninsula, yielded a few more reportable birds than the average trip of late.
Yesterday, Wednesday, I drove up to near Munising in Alger County. It has been some time since I recall the Tamarack being as brilliant gold as this past week along M-123 and M-28 in Mackinac, Luce and Schoolcraft Counties. I have always considered it a second autumn tree color season, after all the deciduous trees have already lost their leaves.
In Mackinac County, I had two Rough Legged Hawks and several small flocks of Snow Buntings along M-123 on both sides of Trout Lake. A Ruffed Grouse flew across the highway near the MNA Purple Coneflower Preserve near Kenneth. Another small flock of Snow Buntings were in the grassy area around the State Highway Rest Area west of Seney on M-28.
That evening a Bald Eagle was perched in a large White Pine on 16 Mile Lake in Alger County.
Today on the way home, I observed more Snow Buntings, most of them in the same regions I observed them yesterday. I spent a little time at the Hulbert Bog and after a little bit of whistling I had a couple Gray Jays come out due to their curious nature. After a long dry spell I have had Gray Jays there a couple times this year now.
The best sighting though, was that of Snowy Owl in Mackinac County, just about a mile or so north of the Mackinac Bridge. It was a heavily speckled bird and it was perched on top of a post on one of the directional signs along I-75 southbound lane.
I had read on the birders listserve that a Northern Hawk Owl had been observed yesterday, just west of Paradise along M-123, but it was a bit too far out of the way today as I was pulling a loaded trailer with the truck. Another trip to check it out along with some 20-30 year old past owl haunt searches might be in order soon.