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28 June 2005
New entry for my life list...and a couple of nice brown trout from the Pine

Redstart in flight and perched

I had never seen an American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) before this past week. Now I've seen dozens of them. All in the same location of course. While we were fishing the upper Pine River along the Silver Creek Pathway, we were treated to quite a redstart show. We first noticed them in and around the campground. Later, they flitted back and forth across the small stream as we fished, flycatching the hatching insects. They are seriously hyperactive and brilliantly colored little birds. And they really seem to have a pretty strong tolerance for proximity to people. They came quite close to our heads while we fished and they didn't appear to be offended by the light campground traffic. I had to snap a lot of photos to come up with these 2 'good' ones. They just wouldn't sit still long enough for me to focus.

The Silver Creek Pathway is bracketed by the Silver Creek State Forest Campground at the south end and the Lincoln Bridge State Forest Campground at the north end. The pathway is about 8-9 miles round trip and provides good access to the Pine for paddling and/or fishing. Both campgrounds are 'rustic' and have fairly large, well-spaced campsites, several pit toilets and water pumps, and are located in picturesque pine and hardwood forests. The Pine River is a popular stream for paddlers and float tubers. The stretch within the Silver Creek Pathway is relatively small (15-25 ft wide) and shallow (1-4 ft deep) and is probably less popular than downstream stretches for these purposes. We fished this stretch on a weekday and were not bothered by passers-by.

Brown trout 2 of 3 on the upper Pine, 6-24-05

Oh, and the fishing was pretty good too. I caught 3 nice browns; the first and last were hunky 11" 'footballs.' All 3 were rising to some unidentified bug(s) and I was able to fool them with a smallish Turck's Tarantula. B caught 2 nice ones right off the bat in a fast, riffly section on her famous Power Ant. As the day wore on, we noticed that we never found any little, stupid trout on this stream. Most Michigan trout streams seem to have an abundant population of these guys to keep you occupied between nicer fish. Not so here. At least on this day.

ADDENDUM: This post was included in I and the Bird #2 hosted at Charlies' Bird Blog (7/21/05).

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