Tuesday, September 3, 2019

September Program and Field Trip

September 19, 2019
Southeast* Hot Spots
Don Neumann

See Sidebar for Time and Place Details

Southeast United States, not Southeast Michigan !  

Our own Don Neumann will present his photographs starting in Atlanta before heading to the Atlantic coast at Savannah.  From there he will follow I-95 down to the coast stopping at several locations before arriving at Jacksonville and the main destination: the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail.  

Actually the GFBWT isn't one destination but a series of over 500 sites throughout the state that provide millions of birds protected habitat with places for people to see them.  Some sites cover thousands of acres while others cover just a few.  

From beaches to swamps to forests to parks he'll show us birds from the American Oystercatcher to the elusive Yellow Rail with many others in between.  We may even see a butterfly or two and possibly an alligator!  It is, after all, Florida.

Many of you know Don as a member of our club.  He is also a businessman, photographer and explorer.  He owns and operates a seasonal business which allows him to pursue his passion for photography and explore our beautiful country. 

In his thirties he took a winter job at a Colorado ski area (yes, a ski bum) and has been living a seasonal nomadic life since.  Living (mostly) in Muskegon he has spent winters recently in Colorado, Montana and Georgia, but West Michigan will always be his home.

Field Trip
Grand Haven North Pier
Ottawa Sands County Park
September 21, 2019

From 7:15-8:00 a.m. if you like, please join us for coffee and conversation at one of two restaurants: McDonald's on Sternberg Road east of Harvey St. near Meijer and the Lakes Mall or McDonald's on Beacon Blvd. (U.S. 31) in Grand Haven.  

Around 8:20 we will convene in the parking lot on the north side of the Grand Haven Channel (from Ferrysburg take North Shore Drive west to Lake Michigan, south to Main Street, and then a right and left turn into the parking lot).  We will spend about an hour looking for waterbirds and shorebirds along the pier.  

We will then head back north and east to Ottawa Sands County Park (on the south side of Northshore Drive about 3/4 of a mile east of Lake Michigan, approximately one mile west of the Ferrysburg fire department).  

We'll spend the rest of the morning walking the easy trails in the woods and along the east side of the park's lake.  We should see many birds here including the park's resident Bald Eagles.

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

(See entire 2019-2020 schedule posted in the sidebar.)

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.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Meet Laura Erickson on April 13 !

MCNC-member Susan Herrick of Grand Haven informs us of a unique opportunity for Muskegon-area bird-watchers:

Laura Erickson, who Susan has known since the 1980's, will be presenting a program at the Fremont Library at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 13.  No registration is needed and the program is free.  Afterward Susan will take Laura to a few natural areas (beginning at Loda Lake, followed by sites we might suggest along their way back to Grand Haven).  Susan hopes some of us can join them.  Bring kids and grandkids too!

For those not familiar, Laura Erickson, the 2014 recipient of the American Birding Association's prestigious Roger Tory Peterson Award, has been a scientist, teacher, writer, wildlife rehabilitator, professional blogger, public speaker, photographer, American Robin and Whooping Crane expert for the popular Journey North educational website, and Science Editor at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.  She has written eleven books about birds, including the ABA Field Guide to Birds of Minnesota; National Geographic Pocket Guide to Birds of North America; the best-selling Into the Nest: Intimate Views of the Courting, Parenting and Family Lives of Familiar Birds (co-authored by photographer Marie Read); the National Outdoor Bird Award-winning Sharing the Wonder of Birds with Kids; 101 Ways to Help Birds; and The Bird Watching Answer Book for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  She is currently a columnist and contributing editor for BirdWatching magazine.  Since 1986 she has been producing the long-running "For the Birds" radio program for many public radio stations; the program is podcast on iTunes.  She lives in Duluth, Minnesota, with her husband, one indoor cat, and her little birding dog Pip.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

March 23 Field Trip Report

Nineteen people followed Liz Notman around western portions of the Upper Macatawa Natural Area south of Zealand on Saturday morning.  Conditions were sunny and very cool.


Notable among today's 35 bird species were Wood Duck, Green-winged Teal, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Hooded Merganser, Sandhill Crane, Killdeer, Northern Harrier, Eastern Bluebird, White-throated Sparrow and Brown-headed Cowbird.

Thanks to Carol Cooper for these photos of some of the older and younger participants:


Saturday, February 23, 2019

February 23 Field Trip Report

Nine of us birded Grand Haven, the Pigeon Creek channel, Hemlock Crossing and the fields along 128th Avenue in Ottawa County this morning finding 39 bird species along the way.

Birds of note included many Bald Eagles and White-winged Scoters plus a Great Black-backed Gull and Long-tailed Duck at Grand Haven; Bufflehead, Redhead, and Hooded Merganser at Pigeon Creek; Eastern Bluebird, Pileated, Downy, Hairy & Red-bellied Woodpeckers, American Tree Sparrows and Pine Siskins at Hemlock Crossing; and Horned Larks along 128th Ave.

Warm clothing helped early against the cold easterly winds until we reached the Hemlock Crossing Nature Education Center.  

Birding in comfort through the nature center window.
(Photo by Charlie DeWitt)

Saturday, January 19, 2019

January 19 Trip Report

Our original plan was to bird the Muskegon Channel area, Lake Harbor Park, and Black Lake Park.  However, after finding very few birds but lots of frigid winds at the first two locations, we decided we'd have a better chance of seeing a good bird at a feeder from the warmth of a house.  So that's what we did! *

Feller, Greg, Ric and Ken.  - Photo by Charlie

January 31 Update:  That bird was a Summer Tanager!  Photos and details are now posted at Recent Sightings