My Bird Blog: A blog about my birding discoveries, bird feeders, birds on my life lists, and all things bird related

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Finally a Jaeger!

Published September 10, 2014
Tags: Life List Happenings, Parasitic Jaeger, Sanderling, Bald Eagle, Red-headed Woodpecker

I took a trip up to Hamlin Beach a few days ago to hopefully see a jaeger.  Jaegers are oceanic birds that will come to the Great Lakes now and then.  They are closely related to gulls and only come to land when nesting. When it's not breeding season, they get their food by stealing it from gulls and terns. During the breeding season, though, they're predator - hunting lemmings and small birds.

When a jaeger comes to the Great Lakes, they're usually pretty far out and difficult to identify. There are three species that may come by our region: Parasitic, Pomarine, and Long-tailed. So far, all I've seen has been identified as... "a jaeger" - any further identification was not possible - aarrgghh!

So - when I arrived at the beach the other morning, I had high hopes of finally getting one jaeger under my belt and properly ID'd.  As I set up my scope, Andy Guthrie, Jay McGowan, and his girlfriend, were already busy scoping the lake. Within ten minutes, Andy had us on a jaeger - and within another few moments, he was able to nail it down as a juvenile Parasitic Jaeger. Yes!  Finally, I had one I could add to my life list.

As a nice bonus, an adult came by a short while later, banking a few times, giving us nice view of his underside. Lovely!

Unfortunately, I wasn't willing to take my eyes off either jaeger to get photos.  They wouldn't have been decent anyway, as the jaegers were fairly far out and the photos would have been pretty disappointing...   However... I did get a couple of photos of a Sanderling and then I stopped by where the Red-headed Woodpeckers hang out and got a few photos of them....
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Sanderling
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A juvenile Bald Eagle flew by the beach
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Red-headed Woodpecker
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Red-headed Woodpecker
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Red-headed Woodpecker
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Red-headed Woodpecker