Saturday, September 20, 2014

Meinert Park / Flower Creek Dunes Preserve



This morning 17 people accompanied Justin Hesslinga around the Meinert Park area including the Land Conservancy of Michigan's new Flower Creek Dunes Nature Preserve.  Strong southwest winds made birding difficult, but forecast rains never arrived and the sun even shone for awhile.

Only eight bird species were encountered: southbound mergansers (Common or Red-breasted), a Turkey Vulture, southbound Sanderlings (four stopped briefly on the beach to chase the waves), Ring-billed and Herring Gulls, southbound terns (Common or Forsters), a Blue Jay and some Black-capped Chickadees.

This is the rare Pitcher Thistle protected and managed on the preserve:


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Wastewater Field Trip



Feller and Charlie DeWitt led a group of ten people around the Wastewater properties today recording 39 bird species.


Thanks to Travis Dewys for these pictures of the group and some of this morning's birds: Lesser Yellowlegs, young Red-tailed Hawk, adult Bald Eagle, and Stilt Sandpiper.





Saturday, July 19, 2014

Montague Field Trip


This morning Feller led seven of us northeast of Montague around the Henderson Lake Nature Center and the Clear Springs Preserve where we recorded 14 and 17 species respectively.

Ken scans the south end of Henderson Lake.


We had several sightings of Green Heron here, plus a Least Bittern.  There were fewer birds along the north side probably due to dozens of frisbee competitors, many of them decked out professionally.


They did not frighten this pair of "wood ducks" which are ...



... according to Sibley, plastic.

Acadian Flycatchers sang at Clear Springs.  The fledgling of one begged its parent for food.  We also heard and saw at least one Yellow-throated Vireo.

Otherwise we enjoyed everyday summer birds this beautiful summer morning and didn't have enough time to bird Whitehall as had been planned.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Muskegon Lake and White Lake Surveys


July 15 Email to the Muskegon County Nature Club:

I have been working on a project with the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Council, the Muskegon County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce and many other local and community groups to conduct research on Muskegon Lake and White Lake and the way they are perceived by both residents and visitors. The research will be used to guide plans and investments in Muskegon County for the future.

Key to this work is getting the broadest possible cross-section of participants from Muskegon County. I am reaching out to several local organizations like yours in hopes of connecting with those individuals with a unique perspective on these issues. We have created two online surveys to make it as easy as possible for individuals to participate (click below).

Ann Tisdale
Research Associate
Traverse City, MI.

The Muskegon Lake Survey

The White Lake Survey

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Howard Christensen Field Trip


Greg Swanson led a group of seven around the Howard Christensen Nature Preserve this morning.  Although we counted 40 species of birds, this trip included many other forms of nature as well.


Chicken-of-the-Woods Mushroom 


A 15-inch flight feather from a big bird.  We'll check if this fits the dimensions of Common Raven which lives here.

(A quick internet check indicates that this is probably an American Crow feather.  Although it has a very pointy end (indicative of raven; crow's might be more blunt), the size isn't large enough for Common Raven.  If anyone with more knowledge has additional thoughts, please email me.  - Ric) 


A distant Blue-winged Warbler with food in its beak.


Common Whitetail Dragonflies were plentiful, often on the trail lumber.


Checking the marsh wildlife on the south side of the lake.


Painted Turtle


Dot-tailed Whiteface Dragonfly 


Chalk-fronted Corporal Dragonfly


Dragon flies mating.


Entering the Nature Center.


Donated bird mounts from one of the Kent County schools.

.
eBird Report
June 21, 2014
Howard Christensen Nature Center
Traveling
2 miles
235 Minutes
Observers: 7
All birds reported? Yes

Comments: Greg Swanson's MCNC Field Trip

1 Mallard
1 Red-shouldered Hawk
1 Mourning Dove
1 Yellow-billed Cuckoo
1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
2 Belted Kingfisher
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Downy Woodpecker
2 Eastern Wood-Pewee
1 Eastern Phoebe
1 Great Crested Flycatcher
3 Red-eyed Vireo
1 Blue Jay
1 American Crow
3 Tree Swallow
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Tufted Titmouse
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Brown Creeper
1 House Wren
1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
2 Eastern Bluebird
4 Veery
1 American Robin
1 Gray Catbird
1 European Starling
2 Cedar Waxwing
1 Blue-winged Warbler
1 Black-throated Green Warbler
3 American Redstart
3 Ovenbird
3 Common Yellowthroat
1 Eastern Towhee
2 Chipping Sparrow
1 Scarlet Tanager
1 Northern Cardinal
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
3 Brown-headed Cowbird
1 Baltimore Oriole
2 American Goldfinch

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mike Moran Photo Gallery


Thanks to Chip Francke and many others (like Steve Mueller and Greg Swanson) there is now a gallery of several of Mike Moran's 33mm color slides online.  Mike's photos used to grace the pages of our original website.  All of them were taken the old-fashioned way -- with film (and unbelievable patience)!

Michael G. Moran 1940-2008

Notice: The link to the gallery above has been adjusted to take you to all of Mike's galleries, not just the bird photos.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Bluebird Trail Thanks to Volunteers !


June 6 Email:

Ric,

I wanted to send you an update on our nest box monitoring project at the wastewater.  First, thank you to everyone who has volunteered so far and an extra thank you to Bob Wygant for coordinating everything.  I hope those who have volunteered were able to enjoy the experience and may volunteer again sometime.  We are nearing the half way mark for the 2014 monitoring season.  I would like to share some numbers with you, feel free to share on your website.  On the White Road Trail (40 boxes):  33 nesting attempts  4 from Eastern bluebirds, 21 from tree swallows, and 8 from house sparrows.  13 Eastern bluebird eggs, 4 young are ready to fledge any day, 82 tree swallow eggs, 10 live young to date, 9 house sparrow eggs have been shaken or holes poked in eggs.  I have attached a few pictures from the trail, please forgive the quality as I am not a photographer but thought people may be interested to see our success.  Overall, I feel this year has seen improved success.  We have fewer predator attacks but I am noticing house sparrow issues with holes being pecked in some of the tree swallow eggs (11 of the 82 eggs).

I also check 12 nest boxes on the LaPres trail.  On this trail I have 27 tree swallow eggs (5 nesting attempts) with 10 live young to date; 14 Eastern bluebird eggs (3 nesting attempts) with 5 lost due to a predator (I believe a snake or rodent as 4 eggs and 1 live young missing from nest with nest in tack).  So far no house sparrow problems on this trail.

Thank you again for your support with this project.  I hope everyone is having a great summer and hope to see you at the wastewater.

Anita Friend





Monday, May 19, 2014

Big Day: 19 People Record 127 Species



Saturday, May 17, 2014:  Charlie, Feller, Travis, Ric, Ken-1 and Jim began before 5:00 a.m. at the outer gate of Lane's Landing.


Charlie, Feller, Ken-2 and Roger ended at 8:20 p.m. along the north side of the Muskegon Channel.


Along the way via State Game Area Headquarters, the Muskegon Wastewater properties, Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve and Snug Harbor they were accompanied by Pat and Connie, Bill, Kathryn, John, Dick and Shirley, Dave and Bonnie, Brian, and Jeff.




Thanks to Charlie for the people pictures and Sherri (who was not with our group but was photographing at the Wastewater same day) for the bird pictures.  Too bad she wasn't with us or we might have added her American Pipit, Willet and Scarlet Tanager (posted on our Recent Sightings page) for an even 130!


Here, basically in the order we recorded them, are the 127 species we found and their locations:

1Woodcock, AmericanLL
2Robin, AmericanLL
3Owl, BarredLL
4Catbird, GrayLL
5Snipe, Wilson'sLL
6Sparrow, SwampLL
7Owl, Great HornedLL
8Crane, SandhillLL
9MallardLL
10Sparrow, SongLL
11Yellowthroat, CommonLL
12SoraLL
13Goose, CanadaLL
14Chickadee, Black-cappedLL
15Blackbird, Red-wingedLL
16Crow, AmericanLL
17Warbler, YellowLL
18Owl, Eastern Screech-LL
19Dove, MourningLL
20Coot, AmericanLL
21Teal, Blue-wingedLL
22Cardinal, NorthernLL
23Grebe, Pied-billedLL
24Heron, GreenLL
25Duck, WoodLL
26Grackle, CommonLL
27Flycatcher, WillowLL
28Kingbird, EasternLL
29OvenbirdLL
30Towhee, EasternLL
31Thrush, WoodLL
32Flycatcher, Great CrestedLL
33Vireo, Red-eyedLL
34Wren, MarshLL
35Merganser, HoodedLL
36Gull, HerringLL
37Night-heron, Black-crownedLL
38Cormorant, Double-crestedLL
39Grosbeak, Rose-breastedLL
40Gnatcatcher, Blue-grayLL
41Goldfinch, AmericanLL
42Flycatcher, LeastLL
43Oriole, BaltimoreLL
44Cowbird, Brown-headedLL
45Woodpecker, DownyLL
46Warbler, Black-and-WhiteLL
47Waterthrush, NorthernLL
48Phoebe, EasternLL
49Warbler, ProthonotaryLL
50VeeryLL
51Warbler, MagnoliaLL
52Woodpecker, Red-belliedLL
53Redstart, AmericanLL
54Vireo, Blue-headedLL
55Heron, Great BlueLL
56Blackbird, RustyLL
57Warbler, Yellow-rumpedLL
58Hawk, Red-tailedLL
59BobolinkLL
60Thrasher, BrownLL
61Jay, BlueLL
62Bunting, IndigoLL
63Starling, EuropeanLL
64Swan, MuteLL
65Wren, HouseSGA
66Flicker, NorthernSGA
67Sparrow, HouseSGA
68Bluebird, EasternSGA
69Swallow, TreeSGA
70Swallow, BarnSGA
71Hawk, Cooper'sSGA
72Vulture, TurkeySGA
73Sparrow, ChippingSGA
74Vireo, Yellow-throatedSGA
75Sandpiper, SpottedSGA
76Rail, VirginiaSGA
77Warbler, Blue-wingedSGA
78Woodpecker, PileatedSGA
79Sparrow, VesperSGA
80Nuthatch, White-breastedSGA
81Eagle, BaldSGA
82Shoveler, NorthernWW
83Sandpiper, UplandWW
84Lark, HornedWW
85Dowitcher, Short-billedWW
86Phalarope, Wilson'sWW
87Sandpiper, LeastWW
88Sandpiper, PectoralWW
89Swallow, BankWW
90Meadowlark, EasternWW
91Swallow, CliffWW
92Scaup, LesserWW
93RedheadWW
94Turnstone, RuddyWW
95Oriole, OrchardWW
96Sandpiper, SemipalmatedWW
97Gull, Ring-billedWW
98KilldeerWW
99Duck, RuddyWW
100Coot, AmericanWW
101BuffleheadWW
102GadwallWW
103Grebe, EaredWW
104Grebe, HornedWW
105Gull, Bonaparte'sWW
106Swallow, Northern Rough-wingedWW
107Wigeon, AmericanWW
108Turkey, WildWW
109Pintail, NorthernWW
110Falcon, PeregrineWW
111Swift, ChimneyMLNP
112Pigeon, RockMLNP
113Thrush, Swainson'sMLNP
114Sparrow, Lincoln'sMLNP
115Warbler, PalmMLNP
116Thrush, Gray-cheekedMLNP
117Finch, HouseMLNP
118Sparrow, White-crownedMLNP
119Sparrow, White-throatedMLNP
120Warbler, Wilson'sMLNP
121Vireo, WarblingMLNP
122Warbler, Cape MayMLNP
123Warbler, Black-throated GreenSnug Harbor
124Nuthatch, Red-breastedSnug Harbor
125Warbler, CanadaSnug Harbor
126Martin, PurpleChannel
127Woodpecker, Red-headedChannel

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Potluck Picnic


The 25 club members who braved the weather for our annual potluck picnic at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve Thursday evening enjoyed comradery, delicious food, and such warblers as Yellow, Yellow-rumped, Black-and-White, Magnolia, Wilson's and Northern Parula.  Photos (and cake) by Carol Cooper.




Friday, May 2, 2014

Northern Ohio: 10 Birders, 100 Species


Tuesday through Thursday (April 29-May 1) John & Betty, Dick & Shirley, Jerry & Alison, Ken, Dayle, John and I birded around Toledo (Magee Marsh, Metzger Marsh, Oak Openings).  Warm summer weather on Tuesday morphed to winterish by Thursday. All days were windy, but it never rained while we were birding, and we had a great time.

Highlights included "walking into summer" on Tuesday afternoon. It was shirtsleeve weather as Ken, John and Dayle walked the Oak Lodge ranger station trail at the southeast corner of Oak Openings (below).  Lots of towhees and sparrows (including Field Sparrows singing in Ohio dialect and Lark Sparrows further east along Girdham Road).



Why had we worried about too many birders on the Magee Marsh boardwalk?  On Tuesday evening we had it almost to ourselves (below); the same early Wednesday morning.  Later on Wednesday and through Thursday morning there were still precious few birders, maybe half a dozen per hundred yards of boardwalk? 


Highlights at Magee Marsh included two male American Woodcocks dancing and displaying around a female with one male "winning the competition", then flying a victory circle above our heads as lightning flashed all around just before dark on Tuesday.


On Wednesday evening a Summer Tanager flew in for excellent views by John, Ken, Dayle and me.  As of this writing the local photographer who snapped several photos of this beautiful but weirdly-plumaged bird (see Sibley's drawing of the first spring male) has not sent photos, but I'll post them here when/if he does.  Probably the same bird displayed at the same place the next morning for the rest of our group (and Connie who showed up that day)! 

Yellow-throated and White-eyed Vireos were seen by some of us, Prothonotary and Canada Warblers by others.  Blue-headed and Warbling Vireos were everywhere, as were Nashville and Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Wood Ducks.  Mama eagle kept ripping food that Daddy kept bringing to their nest near the parking lot; a Sora walked around on his ridiculous green feet shortly after noon at Metzger Marsh; we had the greatest feather-counting view of a male Rusty Blackbird just below the Magee boardwalk, and of a woodcock almost as close probing its long beak full-length into the muck while still looking up with eyes set closer to the back than the front of its head; the trumpeter swans blared on their trombone mouthpieces; etc., etc., etc.  


We tallied 100 species for the trip: red-winged and rusty blackbird, bluebird, cardinal, catbird, chickadee, coot, cormorant, cowbird, crane, creeper, crow, dove, ring-necked, ruddy and wood duck, bald eagle, great egret, flicker, least flycatcher, gnatcatcher, goldfinch, goose, grackle, pied-billed grebe, grosbeak, Bonaparte's and herring Gull, Cooper's, broad-winged and red-tailed hawk, great blue and green heron, jay, junco, kestrel, killdeer, kingbird, ruby-crowned kinglet, mallard, martin, red- and white- breasted nuthatch, Baltimore and orchard oriole ...

... osprey, parula, phoebe, pigeon, Virginia rail, robin, shoveler, sora, nine "sparrows" (chipping, field, house, lark, Lincoln's, song, swamp, white-crowned and white-throated), starling, rough-winged and tree swallow, mute (not in Ohio) and trumpeter swan, scarlet and summer tanager, blue-winged teal, Caspian and common tern, thrasher, hermit and wood thrush, titmouse, towhee, turkey, blue-headed, warbling, white-eyed and yellow-throated vireo ...

... vulture, black-and-white, black-throated green, Blackburnian, blue-winged, Canada, magnolia, Nashville, palm, prothonotary, yellow and yellow-rumped warbler, woodcock, downy, red-bellied and red-headed woodpecker, wren and yellowthroat.

For the trip our gang recorded 13 warblers (eleven "named warblers" above plus Northern Parula and Common Yellowthroat).  We thought we should have had redstarts and ovenbirds too, but did not.

Of our pre-trip "target birds" (Lark Sparrow, Summer Tanager and Blue Grosbeak) only the grosbeak eluded us, probably because we were too early in the season, possibly because they were hunkered down from the wind.

- Ric