Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Southeast Texas Program at Kalamazoo

Ric Pedler pondering a question during last night's program for the Kalamazoo Audubon Society at People's Church.  It featured photographs by Charlie DeWitt, Carol DeWitt and Ric from our bird-watching trips to southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Two 2016 Muskegon Christmas Bird Counts

Details about the Muskegon City Christmas Bird Count (Dec. 17) and the Muskegon Wastewater Christmas Bird Count (Dec. 21) will be posted here in early December.  Meanwhile, if you have never participated in either of our CBC's, please send an email to Ric Pedler (oakridge35@yahoo.com).  For information about the Christmas Bird Count in general, click here.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

November 19 Field Trip Report

Six mentally-questionable bird-watchers recorded a total of four bird species on our November field trip this beautiful, calm, warm Saturday morning: Rock Pigeons at McDonald's, Mallards at Bear Lake Channel, Mute Swans at Snug Harbor and Gulls (sp) north of the Muskegon Channel. 

Photographs cannot convey the glorious ... oh, forget it!  :-)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Hemlocks / Watershed / Land Conservancy

Three important items were presented at our October meeting.  The web links mentioned at our November meeting are included here:

1.  Thanks to Elizabeth Brockwell-Tillman (Hoffmaster State Park) and Heidi Frei (Michigan DNR) for briefly describing the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid problem now facing us in West Michigan.  (Heidi will present more details at our Nov. 17 meeting.)  There are presently outbreaks in Holland, Norton Shores and Whitehall.  All birders should be looking for this pest and reporting their sightings.  Learn more here and here.

2.  Kathy Evans of the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission needs volunteers to help with Muskegon Lake Watershed Restoration projects and marsh monitorings.  Click here for more information.

3.  Our program was presented by Joe Engel, executive director of the West Michigan Land Conservancy.  He will be contacting us in future regarding such things as bird, plant, and insect surveys on conservancy properties in the Greater Muskegon area.  Learn more about the conservancy here.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

October 22 Field Trip Report

Fourteen people, most wise enough to dress for temperatures considerably lower than the forecast 50's, birded two northside areas yesterday morning.

Around Snug Harbor at Muskegon State Park they recorded 29 species including Green-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, American Coot, Pileated Woodpecker, Brown Creeper, Golden-crowned Kinglet, sparrows (American Tree, Chipping and Song), Dark-eyed Junco and Purple Finch.  

Later at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve they watched Brian Johnson banding kinglets, chickadees, a titmouse and tree sparrows.  Additional species at the preserve included an unidentified hawk and thrush, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Common Grackle and Belted Kingfisher.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

September 17 Field Trip Report

Early morning rains moved out of the area before today's bird walk.  After gathering near the Hoffmaster State Park Pavilion at 8:20, 14 of us drove over to Black Lake Park and walked the trails until 10:00. 

Birding a Black Lake trail. - photo by Travis Dewys

Among the 29 bird species were Northern Flicker, American Redstart, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Red-headed Woodpecker (immature), Swainson's Thrush, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Pied-billed Grebe, Cedar Waxwing, Tennessee Warbler, Nashville Warbler and Pine Warbler.

Back at Hoffmaster we saw Baltimore Oriole and Scarlet Tanager females and a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers. Unfortunately only Black-capped Chickadees came to the Bob Moblo Pool behind the Gillette Nature Center during our visit.

Thanks to Feller DeWitt for leading.  For the day we counted 36 species.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

August 20 Field Trip Report

Thanks to Pat Bazany for leading us on a successful field trip today, and knowing when to stop.

At least 20 people in more than 10 cars birded the center section of the Muskegon County Wastewater properties this morning finding over 40 kinds of birds.

The rapid filtration cells along White Road produced Song, Vesper and Savannah sparrows, Dickcissel, Bobolinks (dozens in immature or female plumage), kingbird, meadowlark, Sandhill Crane, Great Blue Heron and Indigo Bunting.

Shorebirds in the two western aeration lagoons and along the big West Lagoon included sandpipers (Least, Semipalmated, Pectoral, Solitary, Baird's, Stilt, Spotted), Lesser Yellowlegs, plovers (Black-bellied, Semipalmated, Killdeer) and Short-billed Dowitchers.

Ducks included Ruddy, Mallard, Gadwall, shovelers and Blue-winged Teal; swallows included Barn, Tree and Cliff; extras included hummingbird, bluebird, vulture, kestrel, Pileated Woodpecker and Red-tailed Hawk.

By 11:30 the sun had long-since disappeared.  Pat called it a day before the fast-approaching purple storm could dampen any part of our trip.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

July 16 Field Trip Report

Ten of us began this morning's field trip at the old Ferguson Farm on East River Road followed by a quick, unsuccessful search for the Prothonotary Warbler at the Cedar Creek bridge on Holton-Duck Lake Road.  Thanks to Charlie DeWitt for the five photos!

 Baltimore Oriole at the farm.

It was a beautiful day and many birds were out, several with their families, especially the Great Crested Flycatchers!

Eastern Wood-Pewee singing near the farm parking lot.

Juvenile Green Heron on the farm footbridge.

Our day concluded with eight people walking along the north bank of the Maple River at State Game Area headquarters.  All told we recorded 47 bird species this morning with totals of 35 at the farm and 21 along the river.

Three of us walking the Maple River two-track.

Highlights at the farm included Hooded Merganser, Green Heron, Sandhill Crane, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Great Crested Flycatcher, Sedge Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Gray Catbird along the Maple River

Species of note along the river included Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Yellow-throated Vireo feeding a fledgling, Eastern Bluebird, Wood Thrush, Blue-winged Warbler feeding a fledgling, American Redstart, Chipping Sparrow (many juveniles) and Indigo Bunting (at least 1 female and 3 males).

Monday, May 23, 2016

Big Day Count: 8 People and 117 Bird Species

Four to eight people trekked from 4:45 a.m until 7:45 p.m. from Lane's Landing to the State Game Area headquarters to the Wastewater to the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve to Muskegon State Park (Snug Harbor, the lakeshore, and the Muskegon Channel) on our annual Big Day Count, Saturday, May 21, 2016.

Highlights included Common Nighthawk, American Bittern, Black-crowned Night-heron and both cuckoos at Lane's Landing, Blue-winged and Cerulean Warblers at the SGA, Willet, White-rumped Sandpiper, Orchard Oriole, Red-headed Woodpecker and Black Tern at the Wastewater and two Barred Owls at Snug Harbor.

Our final "official total" was the 117 species listed below in alphabetical order.  Disappointing misses included Hairy Woodpecker, both nuthatches, and most of the warblers -- not even a Yellow-rumped!

Bittern, American
Blackbird, Red-winged
Bluebird, Eastern
Bunting, Indigo
Cardinal, Northern
Catbird, Gray
Chickadee, Black-capped
Coot, American
Cormorant, Double-crested
Cowbird, Brown-headed
Crane, Sandhill
Cuckoo, Black-billed
Cuckoo, Yellow-billed
Dove, Mourning
Dowitcher, Short-billed
Duck, Ruddy
Duck, Wood
Eagle, Bald
Finch, House
Flicker, Northern
Flycatcher, Alder
Flycatcher, Great Crested
Flycatcher, Least
Flycatcher, Willow
Gnatcatcher, Blue-gray
Goldfinch, American
Goose, Canada
Grackle, Common
Grebe, Pied-billed
Grosbeak, Rose-breasted
Gull, Bonaparte's
Gull, Herring
Gull, Ring-billed
Harrier, Northern
Hawk, Red-tailed
Heron, Great Blue
Hummingbird, Ruby-throated
Jay, Blue
Kingbird, Eastern
Kinglet, Ruby-crowned
Lark, Horned
Martin, Purple
Meadowlark, Eastern
Merganser, Hooded
Night-heron, Black-crowned
Nighthawk, Common
Oriole, Baltimore
Oriole, Orchard
Owl, Barred
Parula, Northern
Pewee, Eastern Wood-
Phoebe, Eastern
Pigeon, Rock
Plover, Piping
Plover, Semipalmated
Redstart, American
Robin, American
Sandpiper, Least
Sandpiper, Semipalmated
Sandpiper, Solitary
Sandpiper, Spotted
Sandpiper, Upland
Sandpiper, White-rumped
Scaup, Lesser
Shoveler, Northern
Sparrow, Chipping
Sparrow, Field
Sparrow, Grasshopper
Sparrow, House
Sparrow, Savannah
Sparrow, Song
Sparrow, Swamp
Sparrow, Vesper
Sparrow, White-crowned
Starling, European
Swallow, Bank
Swallow, Barn
Swallow, Cliff
Swallow, Northern Rough-winged
Swallow, Tree
Swan, Mute
Swift, Chimney
Tanager, Scarlet
Teal, Blue-winged
Teal, Green-winged
Tern, Black
Thrasher, Brown
Thrush, Wood
Titmouse, Tufted
Vireo, Red-eyed
Vireo, Warbling
Vireo, Yellow-throated
Vulture, Turkey
Warbler, Black-throated Green
Warbler, Blue-winged
Warbler, Cerulean
Warbler, Prothonotary
Warbler, Yellow
Woodpecker, Downy
Woodpecker, Pileated
Woodpecker, Red-bellied
Woodpecker, Red-headed
Wren, House
Wren, Marsh
Yellowlegs, Greater
Yellowlegs, Lesser
Yellowthroat, Common

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

May 19 Potluck Report Updated

After our annual potluck picnic meeting on May 19, 2016, club members took a brief evening walk around the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve finding 38 species of birds.