Although it was originally scheduled for Saturday, 9-12, I had to postpone the trip until Sunday due to thunderstorms that appear to pop near and over the lake Saturday afternoon. The only open time was Sunday 9-1 so I took it!
A few of us met at the Dam West boat ramp at 7:30. I had already picked out an adult winter LAUGHING GULL on the beach in the other gulls and a few terns. We didn't see too much else here so we decided to move on.
Our next stop was James Hawn Access just to the north. We quickly walked out to the small mudflats east of the lot and quickly picked out 2 Sanderlings and a couple other shorebirds. Aerin quickly spotted 4 flyover Wilson's Snipes as well! We stopped briefly on our way out and saw a couple warblers but not many (American Redstart and Northern Parula).
We still had enough time to go check out one more spot so we checked the west end of Eldon Hazlet, again we didn't see too much besides many more waders and heard a couple Rose-breasted Grosbeaks!
We arrived at the Marina by 8:30 and 8 of us were out on the lake by 8:45! It was rather cloudy, somewhat windy, and felt more like the second weekend of October than second weekend of September. It was rather slow for awhile, although I did pick out and adult winter LAUGHING GULL behind our boat in the first 10 minutes, likely the same bird from the beach earlier in the day, but eventually did pick out some Black Terns and our only two Herring Gulls of the day. There were a lot of gulls out but all were Ring bills :(
We finally started to have some luck as 7 Common Terns flew in towards our boat and were calling loudly as well, confirming the id. For awhile we just moved up and down the lake finding more Black Terns and another Common Tern.
Towards the end we decided to head to the west and chum near some gulls roosting one more time. In a short matter of time, we were viewing a FRANKLIN'S and a LAUGHING GULL within 5 feet of our boat giving us amazing views and photo opportunities as well as good comparisons. We ended up seeing the flock of Common Terns here again as well as Caspian and Forster's Terns. At least we saw some good birds
After this, Trevor, Aerin and I continued up to Whitetail. There were a few shorebirds along the lake, the best was a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER actually along the water. Also saw Snowy Egret and Little Blue Heron!
We then "shot up" towards Lake Shelbyville, first stopping near the dam. I picked out a continuing COMMON LOON, and we stopped and looked for some woodland birds for a minute. We saw a nice flock of birds including an Alder Flycatcher, White-eyed Vireo and many others!
Next we went towards Findlay Marina where I had found a couple Lesser Black-backed Gulls the week before, and we saw 3 (2 adults and a 3rd Fall)!
We then continued our way up stopping at other spots long the northwest arm of the lake. We saw 14 shorebirds species (best included 2 American Golden Plovers, 1 Buff-breasted Sandpiper, and 2 Red-necked Phalaropes), and many woodland birds including Least Flycatcher and Blackburnian Warblers!
All in all, it was a great day of birding, stay tuned for this coming weekend's birding!