Sunday, November 24, 2019

Two Muskegon Area Christmas Bird Counts

Again this year our club will be active in two Christmas Bird Counts following the same basic schedule as in previous years.  (To learn more about CBC's, click here.)

Our City of Muskegon CBC will be conducted on Saturday, December 14, 2019Three groups will begin at 8:00 and try to find as many birds as possible that morning.  Everyone is invited to meet for lunch from noon until 1:00 at the Cherokee Restaurant, 1971 W. Sherman Blvd.  Some people may continue their bird censusing into the afternoon.  Dress for the weather.

The South Group led by Bonnie Kot meets in the old Denny's restaurant parking lot near Mona Lake on Green Street and Seaway Drive and then drives to various birding locations.  The Central Group led by Ric Pedler meets in the B.C. Cobb plant parking lot at the south end of the Veteran's Memorial Park Causeway and then drives to other areas.  The North Group led by Ken Sherburn meets at the west end of the Snug Harbor parking lot in Muskegon State Park and may do more walking than the other groups, probably hiking south from the parking lot to the Muskegon Channel and west to Lake Michigan.

The Muskegon Wastewater CBC is Wednesday, December 18, 2019.  Meet leader Brian Johnson in the headquarters parking lot of the Muskegon County Wastewater Management System (698 N. Maple Island Road).  Participants drive pie-shaped sectors of that 15-mile-diameter circle in the morning finding as many birds as they can.  Everyone meets for lunch from noon until 1:00 at Granny's Griddle Restaurant, 5624 E. Apple Ave. (at Wolf Lake Road).  Some people continue with their counts after lunch.

November 23 Field Trip Report

Sunrise by Carol Cooper

Sixteen people found fifteen bird species Saturday morning at Hemlock Crossing Park.

We began walking around the meadow in front of the nature center, then strolling some trails south and north of the Pigeon River before warming ourselves at the bird feeder viewing room. 

Thanks to Carol Cooper and Charlie DeWitt for sending photos of the trip.  If anyone can explain how the ice formed the patterns in Carol's photo below, we'd like to know -- there's nothing in those designs but ice.

The Meadow Pond by Carol Cooper

Ice Patterns by Carol Cooper

Southside Trail by Charlie DeWitt

One of many beaver-felled trees by Carol Cooper

Studying stuffed toy animals in the feeder room by Carol Cooper

Friday, November 8, 2019

Second Annual Bird Club Forum December 7

     Curtis Dykstra has scheduled another Bird Club Forum for this year. It will take place the morning of Saturday, December 7, 2019, at the Hemlock Crossing Park, 8115 West Olive Road, West Olive, MI. 49460 (the same location as last year's forum).

     Grand Rapids Audubon, Owashtanang Islands (Grand Haven) Audubon, Holland Audubon and the Muskegon County Nature Club (Muskegon's chapter of the Michigan Audubon Society) will present information about their clubs to any members of the public attending. Last year's audience at the first forum included about 80 people. 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

October 19 Field Trip Report

Saturday morning Oct. 19 Liz Notman led eight of us out and back the trail on the western portion of the Upper Macatawa Natural Area.  (Our planned walk on the eastern portion was nixed due to high water.)  It was a beautiful cool morning with the clouds showing a pattern that has a name we couldn't recall.

We found 37 bird species along our way, thickest in the woods to the east, including Killdeer, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret (3), Cooper's Hawk, Bald Eagle, Belted Kingfisher, Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Eastern Bluebird, Cedar Waxwing, White-crowned and White-throated Sparrows and Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Carol Cooper, who took these pictures, identified several wildflowers along the way including the teasel, chicory and New England aster below (plus the woolly bear caterpillar).

Photos by Carol Cooper

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Swainson's Hawk on September Field Trip!

Eight and a half of us birded two Ottawa County locations this morning.  

At the Grand Haven north pier we found eleven bird species including Palm Warbler, Sanderling and Semipalmated Plover.

At Ottawa Sands County Park we found 33 34 species including a Red-tailed Hawk, five American Kestrels that may have been migrating, Sandhill Crane, Great Egret, Belted Kingfisher, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, several Eastern Bluebirds, Swainson's Thrush, and six Warbler species (Nashville, Magnolia, Bay-breasted, Palm, Black-throated Green and American Redstart) and a Swainson's Hawk!

September 29 Update: Yes, the first hawk below is a Swainson's Hawk, not a Red-tailed Hawk as previously thought.  We noticed both hawks flying near each other over the lake at the park.  They separated with the Swainson's flying over the Grand River and continuing south while the redtail soared higher and drifted northward.  Since the day after our field trip I've been away from home without access to my computer and unable to correct the error until now.  Thanks to Chip Francke, Phil Chu, Adam Byre, Ken Sapkowski and others for making the correct identification!  Thanks to Charlie DeWitt for taking such a beautiful picture!

All photos by Charlie DeWitt

Sunday, August 25, 2019

August 17 Field Trip Report

Seven people birded the Wastewater properties Saturday morning August 17.  They found 51 species including Osprey and Piping Plover!  

Sunday, July 21, 2019

July 20 Field Trip Report

As with last month, the weather forecast for this trip probably kept people away.  However, the hot sweltering conditions predicted did not come to pass, and four of us enjoyed a couple of hours birding along the Maple River near State Game Area headsquarters.

We arrived there earlier than expected because we only drove the Lane's Landing road to the inner gate and back.  We never got out or even rolled down our windows because the deer flies were EVERYWHERE !

Surprisingly there were very few flies or mosquitoes in the headquarters area.  It was very warm but not oppressive, and downright comfortable at the times when a cool westerly breeze flowed along the path by the river.

We found 26 bird species from 9:00-11:00 including two male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (one juvenile, one adult), a constantly-singing Wood Thrush that finally came out of the foliage beside the river and walked behind us on the path, Baltimore Oriole, Ovenbird, at least three Blue-winged Warblers (perhaps all first-year?), American Redstart, Scarlet Tanager and Indigo Bunting.

We also performed some civic duties removing a branch from the entrance road and reporting an alarm beeping inside the DNR building.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

June 15 Allegan County Field Trip Report

Yesterday's rainy forecast caused Michigan Audubon to re-schedule its Allegan County field trip this morning and probably kept several people from ours.  So only Charlie and Carol DeWitt and I met at the Blue Star Highway Shell Station.

Carol stayed in the truck as Charlie and I walked a little way up the Swan Creek trail off 42nd St.  This skeleton on a tree stump amused rather than alerted us since we suspected human intervention, but perhaps we should have been looking out for cougars.

Back along the road Mark Mordyk, his two sons, and Tom Beeke joined us so we walked the trail again with them.  We almost certainly heard the Worm-eating Warbler right where it's been reported, but could never see it so did not count it because the sound might also have been a Chipping Sparrow in this very un-chipping-sparrow habitat.  Grrr!

We did add three Year Birds: Hooded Warbler, plus the cuckoo (Yellow-billed) and waterthrush (Louisiana) that we missed on Big Day (Black-billed and Northern).  The 25 species along the creek also included Blue-winged Warbler, a Wood Thrush on her nest, Yellow-throated Vireo and Eastern Towhee.

Charlie and I continued to the Allegan State Game Area (159th St. south of 118th Ave.) finding 18 species including several Field and Savannah Sparrows and Bobolinks, plus Baltimore Oriole, Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Indigo Bunting.

After lunch at the Crane's Orchard Pantry Restaurant we headed home via the little park by the railroad trestle at New Richmond north of Fennville.  We found no Prothonotary Warblers, but did see swallows (Barn and Cliff), a pair of Red-tailed Hawks, and a northbound freight train.

Overall a very good day.  And not a drop of rain!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Big Day Count Total = 134 Species

Our Big Day Count on Saturday May 18 produced 134 bird species!  A complete report is posted on our Recent Sightings page.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Regarding Four April Events

April 13 Presentation
Laura Erickson at Fremont

Mrs. Erickson's program at the Fremont Library was very informative.  Later a few of us took her to the DNR State Game Area headquarters (found no Rusty Blackbirds) and the Wastewater properties (where we watched a raven harrass a harrier south of White Road!).  As she photographed Ruddy Ducks on the east lagoon she said it was the best view she'd ever had of that species.  (Meet Laura Erickson in the post below.)

April 18 Program
Birding on the Central Amazon
Steve and Angeline Hamberg

Dr. and Mrs. Hamberg presented a beautiful photo-and-video program about birding on the Amazon River in Brazil.  

April 20 Field Trip
Two Grand Haven Locations

Thirteen of us birded Harbor Island and the Hofma Preserve this morning finding 43 and 23 bird species respectively.  Because one of those was a Yellow-headed Blackbird, we've posted the complete report on our Recent Sightings page.

April 21-30
Ohio Birding

See the "Cold Ohio Birding" post on our Recent Sightings page.