Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Lake St. Clair Metropark banding report - September 17-29, 2017

The last half of September continued to be good for migrant warblers and thrushes, while sparrows remained scarce.

Highlights of the 80 birds of 22 species banded on September 17 included a Hairy Woodpecker, which is very infrequently banded at this site.
After hatch-year male Hairy Woodpecker
















The warblers were the highlight of the day, with 15 individuals of 9 species banded. Adult male American Redstarts are not often captured at this site in fall.
After hatch-year male American Redstart
















Any day when a Northern Parula is captured is a good day, and this day we had two of them. Both were hatch-year birds, one a female with a clear yellow breast and the other a male with a lot of chestnut mottling on the breast.
Hatch-year male Northern Parula















Hatch-year male Northern Parula

















Hatch-year female Northern Parula

















 Additional interesting captures this day included 3 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, a Philadelphia Vireo, a somewhat late Veery, and 3 Wilson's Warblers. A somewhat late Eastern Kingbird was observed but not banded, and a somewhat early Brown Creeper stayed in the big cottonwood tree next to the banding table most of the day.

Only 12 species were banded on September 23, but 78 individuals was still a good number although American Goldfinches accounted for 41 of them. The nets were closed early today due to the heat (84 degrees) and humidity. The "rarity" of the day was a Brown Thrasher, which is captured every year but only one or two individuals.
After hatch-year Brown Thrasher
















It was interesting to view this bird from below. Its eyes are adapted to see downward into the leaf litter that it often forages in, making it look a little bit like an American Bittern!
After hatch-year Brown Thrasher























Good numbers of Gray-cheeked and Swainson's Thrushes were banded today, as well as a few warblers. An Eastern Screech-Owl was heard calling while we were opening the first nets, and another White-throated Sparrow was heard, but not captured.

Highlights of the 12 species and 52 individuals banded on September 24 included the first Ruby-crowned Kinglet of the fall.
After hatch-year female Ruby-crowned Kinglet
















One of today's 11 Swainson's Thrushes was the 143rd of the season, which breaks last year's record of 142, which was more than double the previous record. It appears that this new site is consistently better for thrush migration in the fall.
Hatch-year Swainson's Thrush
















The biggest surprise of the day was a beautiful adult male Golden-winged Warbler, which was only the 4th banded in the park since 2004 and the first in fall. September 24 is also rather late for this species in Michigan.
After hatch-year male Golden-winged Warbler















After hatch-year male Golden-winged Warbler

















It was another hot and humid day, with the temperature reaching 86 degrees by the time we closed the nets early. The first Yellow-bellied Sapsucker of the fall was seen in a dead cottonwood most of the day.

Temperatures returned to normal on September 29, although the nets had to be closed for 30 minutes early in the morning during a brief rain shower. Highlights of the 98 birds of 30 species banded included a somewhat late Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
Hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird
















Also somewhat late was a Least Flycatcher that initially looked more like a "Traill's", which would be even more unusual this late. But the overall proportions, bill size and shape, and details of the measurements of the primaries, pointed toward Least Flycatcher.
Hatch-year Least Flycatcher
















The season's first Blue-headed Vireo and Winter Wren were banded today.
Hatch-year Blue-headed Vireo















Hatch-year Winter Wren
















Hatch-year Winter Wren

















A couple pairs of Carolina Wrens have nested in the park for years, but as at other locations, they move around a lot from year-to-year, making them difficult to capture consistently. Both of those captured today were previously banded.
After hatch-year Carolina Wren















After hatch-year Carolina Wren

















Numbers of Gray-cheeked and Swainson's Thrushes were down today, and the first two Hermit Thrushes of the season were banded.
Hatch-year Hermit Thrush
















It was a pretty good day for warblers, with 21 individuals of 10 species banded, including the first Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped Warblers of the fall.
Hatch-year male Orange-crowned Warbler















Hatch-year female Yellow-rumped Warbler

















 Somewhat late were the two Indigo Buntings caught in the same net on the same net run today.
Hatch-year female Indigo Bunting
















And somewhat overdue were the first White-throated Sparrows of the fall.
Hatch-year White-throated Sparrow
















Other interesting captures today included two Eastern Phoebes, a somewhat late House Wren, and two more Northern Parulas, bring the season total to 4, which ties the previous record set at the marsh station. A single Pine Siskin was an interesting flyover today.

Banding on these four days would not have been possible without the capable assistance of the following volunteers: Jenifer Benke, John Bieganowski, Terri Chapdelaine, Mike Charlebois, Guadeloupe Cummins, Stevie Kuroda, Hannah Pelkey, Anne Ross, Michelle Serreyn, Bruce Watson, and Blanche Wicke.

Detailed Bird Banding Results

September 17, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open: 6.75
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:14
Net Hours: 112.75
Temperature (F):  63-79
Cloud Cover: 20-0%
Wind Direction: Calm-SSE
Wind Speed (mph): 0-5-10
Barometer: 30.16 - 30.12
Precipitation:  None
No. Banded: 80 (plus 18 recaptured, 4 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 22
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 90.5
Banding Assistants (8.5 hours worked): Mike Charlebois, Stevie Kuroda, Hannah Pelkey (7.5 hrs), Bruce Watson, Blanche Wicke (6.5 hrs).

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 3 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Hairy Woodpecker - 1
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 1
Philadelphia Vireo - 1
Black-capped Chickadee - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Veery - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
Swainson's Thrush - 7
Gray Catbird - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Nashville Warbler - 1
Northern Parula - 2
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 1
Bay-breasted Warbler - 1
Blackpoll Warbler - 3
Black-and-white Warbler - 1
American Redstart - 2
Ovenbird - 1
Wilson's Warbler - 3
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 5 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
[Northern Cardinal - 1 recaptured]
House Finch - 2
American Goldfinch - 42 (plus 6 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
-----------------------------------------------

September 23, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 11:30 (closed early due to heat & humidity)
Hours Open: 5.75
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  6:20
Net Hours: 95.25
Temperature (F): 66-84
Cloud Cover: 80-0%
Wind Direction: Calm-SE
Wind Speed (mph): 0-3-5
Barometer: 30.11- 30.19
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 78 (plus 9 recaptured,)
Species Captured: 12
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 91.3
Banding Assistants (7.5 hours worked): Jenifer Benke, Mike Charlebois, Stevie Kuroda, Michelle Serreyn.

Red-eyed Vireo - 1
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 6
Swainson's Thrush - 11 (plus 1 recaptured)
Gray Catbird - 6
Brown Thrasher - 1
Magnolia Warbler - 2
American Redstart - 4
Ovenbird - 2
Common Yellowthroat - 2
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Northern Cardinal - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 41 (plus 6 recaptured)
-----------------------------------------------

September 24, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 11:15 (closed early due to heat & humidity)
Hours Open: 5.5
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:21
Net Hours: 93.0
Temperature (F): 64-86
Cloud Cover: 10-0%
Wind Direction: Calm-SE
Wind Speed (mph): 0-3
Barometer: 30.17 - 30.21
Precipitation:  None
No. Banded: 52 (plus 9 recaptured, 3 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 12
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 68.8
Banding Assistants (7.25 hours worked): Mike Charlebois (5.0 hrs), Stevie Kuroda, Hannah Pelkey (6.5 hrs), Anne Ross, Bruce Watson, Blanche Wicke. 

[Black-capped Chickadee - 2 recaptured]
[Tufted Titmouse - 1 recaptured]
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 1
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 5 (plus 2 recaptured)
Swainson's Thrush - 11 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Golden-winged Warbler - 1
Tennessee Warbler - 1
Nashville Warbler - 1
American Redstart - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Common Yellowthroat - 2
Song Sparrow - 1
American Goldfinch - 28 (plus 3 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
-----------------------------------------------

September 29, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 6:00 (rain delayed open)
Time closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 6.5 (all nets closed 6:30 - 7:30)
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  6:27
Net Hours: 110.5
Temperature (F): 57-63
Cloud Cover: 100-50%
Wind Direction: SW-NW
Wind Speed (mph): 5-7-12
Barometer: 30.08 - 30.10
Precipitation: Rain until 6:45
No. Banded: 98 (plus 18 recaptured, 3 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 30
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 107.7
Banding Assistants (9.0 hours worked): John Bieganowski, Mike Charlebois, Terri Chapdelaine, Guadeloupe Cummins, Blanche Wicke.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 1
Least Flycatcher - 1
Eastern Phoebe - 2
Blue-headed Vireo - 1
Blue Jay - 2
[Carolina Wren - 2 recaptured]
House Wren - 1
Winter Wren - 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 6
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
Swainson's Thrush - 3
Hermit Thrush - 2
Gray Catbird - 4
Tennessee Warbler - 1
Orange-crowned Warbler - 1
Nashville Warbler - 4
Northern Parula - 2
Magnolia Warbler - 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 2 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 4
American Redstart - 4
Ovenbird - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 1
Lincoln's Sparrow - 2
Swamp Sparrow - 2
White-throated Sparrow - 9
Dark-eyed Junco - 1
Northern Cardinal - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Indigo Bunting - 2
American Goldfinch - 33 (plus 13 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
-----------------------------------------------

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Lake St. Clair Metropark banding report - September 1-15, 2017

The first half of September was very productive for banding, especially warblers and thrushes. Temperatures stayed around normal or slightly below, keeping it comfortable for birds and banders, and there was very little rain during the period which kept the net lanes and paths dry with very few mosquitos until September 15th. Banding was conducted on September 1, 3, 9, 10, and 15. All 5 days had 100 birds or more banded. On the down side, three nets had 6-foot holes put in them by deer running through, and two nets had 2-foot holes in top panels probably by a Red-tailed Hawk flying through.

The best warbler day was September 1, when more than 100 individuals of 18 species were banded, including not only a lot of firsts for the season, but some unusual numbers of species that historically have been banded in very small numbers back at the marsh station. Some expected firsts included Black-and-white, Tennessee, Blackpoll, Chestnut-sided, and Black-throated Blue warblers.
Hatch-year male Black-and-white Warbler















Hatch-year Tennessee Warbler















Hatch-year Blackpoll Warbler















Hatch-year male Chestnut-sided Warbler

















Hatch-year male Black-throated Blue Warbler















Hatch-year female Black-throated Blue Warbler
















Among the numerous warbler species this day were Nashville, Magnolia, American Redstart, and Wilson's Warblers. Less frequently captured species included a single Black-throated Green Warbler, which was captured at an average of 1.4 per fall season between 2004-2014 at the marsh station.
Hatch-year male Black-throated Green Warbler
















Slightly less frequently captured, the three Blackburnian Warblers was a single-day record, and above the 1.3 per fall season average at the marsh station.
Hatch-year female Blackburnian Warbler















Hatch-year male Blackburnian Warbler















Hatch-year male Blackburnian Warbler
















Between 2004 and 2014, a total of only 7 Cape May Warblers were captured in the fall (none in spring) at the marsh station, so the FIVE captured today was remarkable. And the one-day record there was only two. There have been reports of increasing numbers of this species in the past couple years, so maybe this spruce budworm specialist is making a comeback?
Hatch-year female Cape May Warbler














Hatch-year male Cape May Warbler

















Hatch-year male Cape May Warbler

















It was a good day for vireos as well, with the first Red-eyed and Philadelphia vireos of the season.
Hatch-year Red-eyed Vireo














Hatch-year Philadelphia Vireo

















After such a great day on September 1st, it was hard to come up with new arrivals and highlights for the rest of the week. The Lincoln's Sparrow on September 3rd was the first of the fall, and was record early by 6 days.
Hatch-year Lincoln's Sparrow
















September 9 was a good day for flycatchers, with 5 species banded including the 4th Great Crested Flycatcher of the season, which was a record for a fall season.

Hatch-year Great Crested Flycatcher
















The 38 Swainson's and 5 Gray-cheeked (first of season) Thrushes on September 9th was a very good showing for thrushes, and the 45 Swainson's Thrushes on September 10th was a one-day record.

Hatch-year Gray-cheeked Thrush













There was a good opportunity for a side-by-side comparison of Yellow-bellied and Least Flycatchers on September 10th.
Least (left) and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers (both hatch-year)
















On September 15th, the season's first Wood Thrush was one of 5 thrush species (including American Robin, and a late Veery) for the day. The Gray-cheeked Thrush recaptured today had gained 6 grams in the 5 days since it was banded. Great berry crop this year!
Hatch-year Wood Thrush
















I would like to thank the following volunteers, without whose help banding on these 5 days would not have been possible: Jenifer Benke, John Bieganowski, Ana Boegehold, Terri Chapdelaine, Jacob Charlebois, Mike Charlebois, Guadeloupe Cummins, Jean Gramlich, Stevie Kuroda, Jac Kyle, Dave Lancaster, Hannah Pelkey, Edie Schmitz, Bruce Watson, Blanche Wicke.

Detailed Bird Banding Results

September 1, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open: 6.75
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:57
Net Hours: 113.75
Temperature (F): 55-64
Cloud Cover: 50-90%
Wind Direction: ENE
Wind Speed (mph): 5-7-12
Barometer: 30.27 - 30.27
Precipitation:  None
No. Banded: 140 (plus 11 recaptured, 3 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 37
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 135.4
Banding Assistants (9.0 hours worked): Mike Charlebois, Guadeloupe Cummins, Jac Kyle (7.0 hrs), Jean Gramlich, Dave Lancaster, Blanche Wicke.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 4 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Northern Flicker - 1
Least Flycatcher - 3
Great Crested Flycatcher - 1
Warbling Vireo - 2 (plus 2 recaptured)
Philadelphia Vireo - 1
Red-eyed Vireo - 7
Black-capped Chickadee - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Tufted Titmouse - 1
House Wren - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Marsh Wren - 1
Veery - 2
Swainson's Thrush - 3
American Robin - 1 (plus 1 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
[Gray Catbird - 3 recaptured]
Cedar Waxwing - 1
Tennessee Warbler - 6
Nashville Warbler - 19
Yellow Warbler - 2
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 2
Magnolia Warbler - 15
Cape May Warbler - 5
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 6
Black-throated Green Warbler - 1
Blackburnian Warbler - 3
Bay-breasted Warbler - 9
Blackpoll Warbler - 7
Black-and-white Warbler - 1
American Redstart - 12
Ovenbird - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 1
Wilson's Warbler - 12 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Canada Warbler - 2
[Song Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
Northern Cardinal - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
-----------------------------------------------

September 3, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 6:00 (rain delayed opening)
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open: 6.5
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  5:59
Net Hours: 110.5
Temperature (F): 59-73
Cloud Cover: 100-90-100%
Wind Direction: WNW
Wind Speed (mph): 3-5-7
Barometer: 29.94 - 29.98
Precipitation: Light rain @ 5:00 - 5:45
No. Banded: 100 (plus 16 recaptured,)
Species Captured: 28
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 195,9
Banding Assistants (9.0 hours worked): Terri Chapdelaine, Mike Charlebois, Jacob Charlebois (3.0 hrs), Stevie Kuroda, Hannah Pelkey (8.5 hrs), Bruce Watson.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 7
[Downy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 5
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 1
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 2
Least Flycatcher - 3
Great Crested Flycatcher - 1
Warbling Vireo - 7
Red-eyed Vireo - 4
Veery - 5
Swainson's Thrush - 13 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Robin - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Gray Catbird - 3 (plus 2 recaptured)
Tennessee Warbler - 1
Nashville Warbler - 3
Yellow Warbler - 1
Magnolia Warbler - 7 (plus 1 recaptured)
Blackpoll Warbler - 2
American Redstart - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Ovenbird - 2
Common Yellowthroat - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Wilson's Warbler - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Canada Warbler - 1
Song Sparrow - 4
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
[Northern Cardinal - 5 recaptured]
House Finch - 1
American Goldfinch - 20 (plus 2 recaptured)
-----------------------------------------------

September 9, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 6:15 (tangled nets delayed open)
Time closed (E.S.T.): 13:45
Hours Open: 7.5
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:06
Net Hours: 124.75
Temperature (F): 46-62
Cloud Cover: 40-60%
Wind Direction: NW-NE
Wind Speed (mph): 3-5-12
Barometer: 30.45 - 30.48
Precipitation:  None
No. Banded: 146 (plus 15 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 24
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 130.7
Banding Assistants (10.0 hours worked): Ana Boegehold, Mike Charlebois, Stevie Kuroda, Hannah Pelkey (9.0 hrs), Bruce Watson (7.0 hrs). 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird -14
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 2
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 2
Least Flycatcher - 2
Eastern Phoebe - 1
Great Crested Flycatcher - 1
Warbling Vireo - 1
Red-eyed Vireo - 4
Black-capped Chickadee - 1 (plus 1 recapture)
House Wren - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Marsh Wren - 2
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 5
Swainson's Thrush - 38 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Robin - 1
Gray Catbird - 2 (plus 2 recaptured)
Nashville Warbler - 12
Magnolia Warbler - 2
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 2
American Redstart - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Song Sparrow - 5
Northern Cardinal - 1
American Goldfinch - 44 (plus 9 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
-----------------------------------------------

September 10, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:15
Hours Open: 6.5
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  6:07
Net Hours: 110.5
Temperature (F): 46-70
Cloud Cover: 10-60%
Wind Direction: NW-E-S
Wind Speed (mph): 3-5-10
Barometer: 30.498 - 30.50
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 127 (plus 21 recaptured)
Species Captured: 22
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 133.9
Banding Assistants (8.5 hours worked): Jenifer Benke, Mike Charlebois (3.0 hrs), Guadeloupe Cummins, Stevie Kuroda, Edie Schmitz, Bruce Watson (8.0 hrs), Blanche Wicke.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 11
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 1
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 1
Least Flycatcher - 1
Philadelphia Vireo - 1
Red-eyed Vire0 - 3
[Marsh Wren - 1 recaptured]
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 7 (plus 1 recaptured)
Swainson's Thrush - 45 (plus 2 recaptured) [record!]
[Gray Catbird - 2 recaptured]
Tennessee Warbler - 1
Nashville Warbler - 6
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 1
American Redstart - 2
[Ovenbird - 1 recaptured]
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Wilson's Warbler - 3
[Song Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
Swamp Sparrow - 1
Northern Cardinal - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 37 (plus 11 recaptured)
-----------------------------------------------

September 15, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open: 6.50
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:12
Net Hours: 110.50
Temperature (F): 63-77
Cloud Cover: 20-0%
Wind Direction: S-SE
Wind Speed (mph): 3-5-7
Barometer: 30.08 - 30.13
Precipitation:  Fog in a.m.
No. Banded: 108 (plus 12 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 22
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 109.5
Banding Assistants (9.5 hours worked): John Bieganowski, Mike Charlebois, Dave Lancaster, Blanche Wicke. 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird -5
Downy Woodpecker - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Northern Flicker - 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 1
Warbling Vireo - 1
Red-eyed Vireo - 2
Veery - 1
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 5 (plus 1 recaptured)
Swainson's Thrush - 16
Wood Thrush - 1
American Robin - 1
Gray Catbird - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
Tennessee Warbler - 2
Nashville Warbler - 1
Magnolia Warbler - 2
American Redstart - 2
Ovenbird - 2
Common Yellowthroat - 1
Song Sparrow - 5 (plus 2 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
Northern Cardinal - 1
American Goldfinch - 52 (plus 7 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
-----------------------------------------------

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

For the first time in 99 years, a total solar eclipse was going to cross the contiguous U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina, and the path of totality was only about an 8-hour drive south for us. How could we resist? Instead of heading for an expensive, scenic, and probably crowded resort in Wyoming or Oregon, our strategy was to find an open patch of farmland where we could be fairly alone, and be able to relocate if clouds threatened. Looking at Google Earth, we found a fairly open spot within the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois, and one street less than 2 miles from the center of the shadow's 71 mile wide path jumped out at me...
















We drove down to Evansville, Indiana on Sunday, August 20, where we stayed for the night. It was surprising there were vacancies, and at reasonable prices. On Monday, August 21, we headed west, then south, to get to our chosen spot for the beginning of the eclipse, which began at 11:54 a.m. (CDT).















I was able to take photos of the partial phases of the eclipse by using my Canon PowerShot with the lens of a pair of eclipse viewing glasses over the lens. Because the auto-focus on this camera could not focus on the smaller image when in optical zoom mode, I had to go up to the lower resolution of the digital zoom, so no sunspots are visible in these images. Next time (2024), I'll make sure I have a solar filter for my SLR.















At least three times from the onset of the eclipse to totality, clouds covered the sun. Overall, there was about 60-70% cloud, and building, as the time for totality approached.
















It was quite tense with so much cloud, but since there was not a spot that looked any more clear, we decided to stay put and not try to chase after clear skies.















More clouds, and more nail biting...
















As more and more of the sun was covered by the moon, we were getting hopeful that there would be an opening in the clouds during totality.















Back home in Michigan, the maximum extent of the eclipse was approximately that in the photo above.































After the photo above, the sun became an even narrower sliver, but the PowerShot would not focus on it, so it was time to turn our attention to the main event, 2 minutes and 41 seconds of totality. But 5 minutes before it was to start, there was a cloud over the sun! Luckily, it cleared away in a couple of minutes, and we were ready. I had a whole routine of different exposures to take, based on a table provided online, and to make sure I knew when totality was ending, I had a timer set for 2 minutes, 30 seconds, that I started when totality started. I hoped that the new Nikon D500 SLR, and Sigma 100-400mm lens would perform well. Totality began at 1:21 p.m. (CDT).















With no filters, no auto focus, no auto-anything, the first great shot was the one above, at 1/500th second (at f/11), which shows some of the corona, as well as three solar flares along the right side of the sun. But the shot below, taken at 1/15th second, shows approximately what we saw with the naked eye.















This was truly an awesome sight, with dark skies similar to that at 30 minutes before sunrise, but with a blue band of sky down at the horizon. During totality, a Field Sparrow and Vesper Sparrow broke into song, and a few minutes after it was over, and Eastern Meadowlark sang. If it wasn't late summer, there might have been a more dramatic change in the soundscape. A drop in temperature may have been noticed by some, but in southern Illinois with the heat index well over 100 degrees, we didn't notice much. Then, as the timer went off, I took the camera off the tripod and cranked the shutter speed up to 1/8000 second in preparation for a couple of final effects, that last only a second or two, "Bailey's Beads", and the "Diamond Ring" effect, just as the moon starts uncovering the sun. I only got off two hand-held shots, and missed most of the beads, but I think I nailed the ring...















We watched through eclipse glasses for just another couple of minutes before packing all the equipment back into the car, and making our way back to the freeway, which took us 5 hours to go 50 miles. The price of such a wonderful natural phenomenon was to endure an epic and unnatural traffic jam! Let's do it again on April 8, 2024 in Ohio!