Great Crested Flycatcher Nesting in Nestbox

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Great Crested Flycatcher Nesting in Nestbox

Postby Rick Baetsen » Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:09 pm

Last Friday evening, Bonnie suggested we take a drive out to the East of our home through the Bear River Valley in Emmet and Charlevoix Counties to search for the blooming Showy Lady Slippers. Spring and Summer Orchid searches are something we have been doing for more than 40 years in northern Michigan. Earlier in the season we had Calypso or Fairy Slipper up at Pictured Rocks and we found the Ram’s Head Lady Slippers at Pictured Rocks and in the Jordan River Valley. We found the Yellow Lady Slippers from the Jordan River Valley north and west through the Upper Peninsula to Pictured Rocks.
We had observed a few Showy Lady Slippers in bloom in the township park in Walloon Lake Village earlier in the week, but knew we would see good numbers in the wet drainage ditches and swamps in the Bear River Valley. We found hundreds of them in peak bloom and a few clumps with tight buds yet to open. We searched but with no luck in finding a white form, showing none of the typical pink and or red color in the slipper. We usually only find one each year so they are pretty rare.
After riding for a while we decided to take a hike that took us through hardwood forests, conifer forests and some forest openings. Bonnie pointed out a Great Crested Flycatcher sitting on top of one of the American Kestrel nest boxes. We got good looks at the bird and when it flew went over to beneath the nest box. Bonnie said she could hear young calling in the box. Due to life experiences my hearing is very poor, but when I cupped my ears I too could hear them calling. The nest box once was in a fair sized grassland or forest opening, but many years and forest succession has closed in the opening. Trees surround the box to the rear and sides but a small open area remains out in front of the box. No longer suitable habitat for American Kestrels but we were glad another bird species is making good use of the box.
About the time we finished our walk through the hardwoods, Bonnie stopped and told me she heard young birds calling. With the winds I could not hear them. With a few minutes of searching Bonnie located the nest cavity in an Aspen snag as she observed a female Downy Woodpecker bring food to the young in the cavity nest.
Lots of Showy Lady Slippers and a couple nesting birds made for a nice two hour drive and hike in northwest lower Michigan on one of the first days of Summer.

Rick Baetsen
Rick Baetsen
Michigan Outdoor Writers Association
Walloon Lake and Munising, Michigan
Rick Baetsen
Posts: 322
Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2009 11:37 am

Re: Great Crested Flycatcher Nesting in Nestbox

Postby Dale » Wed Jun 28, 2017 9:01 am

Great post Rick. Thanks for sharing and glad to hear that you and Bonnie are doing fine.

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Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2009 11:01 am

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