Monday, August 31, 2015

September 17 Program


Birds and More in Ecuador
Ed and Katie Bolt

"Equador" is smack on the Equator, so one might envision hot humid days and sultry nights. That image, however, presents just one of several climate zones within this modest-sized South American country. Geographically Equador is only slightly larger than the combined Dakotas but is jaw-dropping lush in its abundance of living things.

Join Ed and Katie Bolt as they share with you the wide variety and beauty of this life-infused country, from the rugged Andean foothills to the high "Altiplano" to the low Napo River jungle. Their pictures show not only beautiful birds (300 species in 14 days) but also the exotic terrain and seemingly limitless plant life.

Warning: You will want to go there!

Ed and Katie Bolt live in Grand Rapids, Ed born there, Katie from the Detroit area. Always interested in the natural world, Katie was first to cultivate her knowledge of birds, taking an ornithology class at Grand Rapids Community College, then joining the Grand Rapids Audubon Club and taking along Ed who was raised to go where he was told. As a result of too much volunteering, Ed became president of G.R.A.C. from 2009-2011.

Complementary to their love of birds is a keen interest in travel and photography. Katie is a recently-retired school psychologist from Sparta Schools and Ed a retired architect. They have two indoor cats.

(See all 2015-2016 programs listed in the sidebar.)

September 19 Field Trip


Kitchel-Lindquist Dune Preserve
North Grand Haven Channel
Leader: Feller DeWitt

Meet at the McDonald's restaurant on Sternberg east of Harvey near the Lakes Mall from 7:15-8:00 for coffee and chatter.

At 8:00 we will drive to the Kitchel-Lindquist Dune Preserve west of Ferrysburg. From the Ferrysburg Fire Barn at 174th Ave. and Northshore Drive go west on Northshore two miles to Lake Michigan and continue south around the bend another mile to Berwyck Street. This is the city of Grand Haven with a speed limit of 25 miles per hour. Turn left on Berwyck to the preserve entrance on your left just before the North Shore Marina parking lot.

By 8:30 we should be walking the trail north through the various habitats of the preserve.

Returning to our cars later in the morning, we will drive to the nearby north channel parking lot where the Grand River flows into Lake Michigan and walk the short distance to the beach looking for shorebirds, waterbirds, migrating hawks, etc.

The trip will end around noon. Hope to see you there!

See all 2015-2016 Field Trips listed in the sidebar.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

August 15 Field Trip Report


Twelve of us (not counting unexcused tardy individuals) birded the Wastewater properties this morning without seeing a single Tree Swallow!.

 Photo by Carol Cooper

We recorded 50 bird species (49 not including the pair of Egyptian Geese in Churning Lagoon #3, or 51 including the eight phalaropes in non-breeding plumage swimming too far out on the West Lagoon to I.D.) notably Blue-winged Teal, Hooded Merganser, Sandhill Crane, White-rumped Sandpiper (SE corner of East Lagoon), Bank, Barn & Cliff Swallows, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Cedar Waxwing, Dickcissel, Bobolink and a Common Raven flying from the landfill to a sprinkler unit east of Swanson where it "crawked".

 Great Blue Heron by Carol DeWitt

Without enough dry habitat in Churning Lagoon #2 shorebirds were confined to the small lagoon (#5) and the edges of the big lagoons.  We gave eBird 24 Killdeer, 9 Spotted Sandpiper, 1 Greater Yellowlegs, 12 Lesser Yellowlegs, 6 Least, 1 White-rumped, 1 Pectoral and 1 Semipalmated Sandpiper.  Sparrows were limited to 2 Chipping, 4 Field and 9 Song.

Bobolink by Charlie DeWitt

As always, lots of fun birding with a great group of people on a beautiful day!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

July 18 Allegan Field Trip Report


The original plan was to walk a one-mile loop on the Allegan State Game Area in the morning followed by lunch at the Crane's Orchard Restaurant.  Instead (thanks to an impressive and beautiful storm front), we headed up to Crane's as the rains came, then returned to the SGA for a partial walk at midday after the skies had cleared.


Led by Feller DeWitt, nine of us recorded 26 bird species including a pair of Red-tailed Hawks, a pair of Eastern Towhees, families of Tree Swallows and Eastern Kingbirds, 20 Sandhill Cranes, 3 Dickcissels, Barn Swallows, Eastern Bluebirds, Cedar Waxwings and plenty of sparrows (Field, Grasshopper, Chipping and Song).

Pardon the blurry images, but prior to the storm this Dickcissel sat for pictures, showing off his rubber-necked ability to preen.



Do not try this at home!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

June 20 Snug Harbor Field Trip Report


Our group of twelve found 50 bird species at Snug Harbor (Muskegon State Park) this beautiful morning.  See the complete report and pictures posted today on our Recent Sightings page.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

May 30 Montague Field Trip Report


Rains were light to moderate as Dayle Vanderwier led five people (Henderson Preserve) and four people (Clear Springs Preserve) bird-watching northeast of Montague this morning. 

No cardinals or chickadees all day!  No ducks either, though it was a good day for them.  Of the fourteen species at Henderson, notable were Green Heron, Cedar Waxwing and Black-billed Cuckoo.  Of the twelve species at Clear Springs, the Belted Kingfisher and a Magnolia Warbler were the highlights.

Of the three species outside the windows of the Harbor View Grille in Whitehall during lunch, best were the 12+ Chimney Swifts.

Despite the damp conditions, everyone had a good time!

Hope to see you on our summer field trips (see side bar for dates and places).

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May 23 Big Day Count Report


Another very large THANK YOU to all nineteen people who took part in our Big Day Count Saturday (May 23, 2015).  A special thanks to Marc Miedema for bringing his little tape player and Travis Dewys for taking photos of the event.

It was cold and the birds were not easily gotten.  Here are the 108 bird species that we found and where we found them:

Lane's Landing:  American Robin, Whip-poor-will, Northern Cardinal, Wood Thrush, Yellow-throated Vireo, Yellow Warbler, Swamp Sparrow, American Woodcock, Pied-billed Grebe, Canada Goose, Common Yellowthroat, Gray Catbird, Wood Duck, Red-winged Blackbird, Willow Flycatcher, Mourning Dove, Common Grackle, Sandhill Crane, Marsh Wren, European Starling, Mallard, Tree Swallow, Wild Turkey, Alder Flycatcher, Northern Flicker, Song Sparrow, Least Flycatcher, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, American Goldfinch, Great Crested Flycatcher, American Crow, Red-eyed Vireo, American Redstart, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Tufted Titmouse, Eastern Wood-pewee, Black-capped Chickadee, Baltimore Oriole, Downy Woodpecker, Indigo Bunting, Brown-headed Cowbird, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Warbling Vireo, Eastern Kingbird, Sora, Barn Swallow, Least Bittern, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Blue Jay, Brown Thrasher, Double-crested Cormorant and Turkey Vulture.

Muskegon County Wastewater System:  Killdeer, Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Shoveler, Eastern Meadowlark, Dunlin, Semipalmated Plover, Bank Swallow, Blue-winged Teal, Grasshopper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Brewer's Blackbird, Wilson's Snipe, Horned Lark, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Redhead, Lesser Scaup, Ruddy Turnstone, Least Sandpiper, Herring Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Bufflehead, Greater Scaup, American Wigeon, Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpiper, Rock Pigeon, White-rumped Sandpiper, Ruddy Duck, Belted Kingfisher, American Coot, Eared Grebe, ** Black Scoter **, Bald Eagle, Horned Grebe and Bonaparte's Gull.

State Game Area Headquarters:  House Wren, Eastern Bluebird, Scarlet Tanager, House Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Blue-winged Warbler, Bobolink, American Bittern, Vesper Sparrow and Upland Sandpiper.

Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve:  Caspian Tern and Mute Swan.

Snug Harbor:  Common Loon.

Muskegon Channel across from USS Silversides:  Purple Martin.

Ellis Road:  Eastern Phoebe and Chipping Sparrow.

- Feller DeWitt

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Final Club Meeting of This Season


Our annual potluck picnic meeting was Thursday May 21 at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve pavilion.  Everyone enjoyed the food, companionship and a bird walk afterward on a cool, beautiful evening.


Thanks to Carol Cooper for many of the preparations, the cake and these photos from the event.





New Book on Birds of Ottawa County



A new book, Birds of Ottawa County, Michigan: An Annotated Checklist, includes the most up-to-date information on the 328 species of birds that have been observed in Ottawa County over the years. Each species account includes current breeding status and describes when the bird is present in the county and how likely you are to see each species at the appropriate time of the year. There is additional information on range, natural history and locations for many species. There are also seasonal bar graphs for each species that quickly show when each bird is present and how common it is when it is present. In addition to the species accounts and graphs, the book lists over 20 of the best birding locations and provides valuable information about birding in Ottawa County.
The book is coauthored by Chip Francke, Carl Manning, and Judi Manning. The authors volunteered all their time writing and researching this publication. Ottawa County Parks funded the project and all proceeds from book sales will go to the Ottawa County Parks Nature Education Center.
The book is beautifully illustrated by Michigan artist Amelia Hansen including an original color painting of Pileated Woodpeckers for the front cover. Over 25 of her excellent black and white bird illustrations are found throughout this publication. Amelia was chosen to be the 2015 International Migratory Bird Day artist. You can see more of her work at the Ottawa County Parks Nature Education Center. Local Muskegon graphic designer Amy Gustin completed the layout of the book and created the seasonal bar graphs.

The 156 page book costs $14.95 and can be purchased at the Ottawa County Parks Nature Education Center located at Hemlock Crossing County Park in Port Sheldon Township (closed Monday). For more information, please call 616-786-4847.

Four Upcoming Field Trips


May 30, 2015
Montague Area Field Trip
Dayle Vanderwier

The same as in past years, we will meet at McDonald's on Apple at US-31, leave there around 8:00 a.m. going to Henderson Nature Preserve, then Clear Stream, and ending up at the White River Nature Trail in Whitehall.

(See the Sidebar for our three summer field trips.  Details about those will be posted here later.)