There's nothing quite like finding birds at a spot that you've been expecting them for months. Such has been the case for me, White-winged Crossbills, and Ella Sharp Park. Every time I've been home since late December I've made it a point to check out the spruce trees around the rotunda (which are loaded with cones) for these nomadic finches. But, alas, my efforts have been fruitless, until today when I found a small flock of five birds. Recording conditions were difficult, as the park was well-visited by the noisiest hobbyists Jackson has to offer, including RC airplane and car enthusiasts who showed little concern for my auditory exploits. And, naturally, I didn't have my camera on hand, as I seriously doubted that I'd find anything worth hauling that thing and my recorder around for. Figures.
I really shouldn't be complaining, though. At the beginning of the season, I didn't have a shred of hope for finding any northern finches in southern Michigan this winter, as Ron Pittaway's Winter Finch Forecast seemed to indicate that cone crops were sufficient in southern Canada to keep crossbills and redpolls from moving south. Meanwhile, White-winged Crossbills have made a significant push south over the past month or so, even into Ohio, and redpolls have done the same over the past couple of weeks. What's perhaps most bizarre is the number of Hoary Redpolls in southern Michigan and Ohio at present.