Thursday, July 23, 2015

August 15 Wastewater Field Trip


Meet at the McDonald's restaurant on Apple Ave. (M-46) west of US-31 for coffee and chatter from 7:15-8:00 on Saturday morning August 15, 2015.  At 8:00 drive/carpool to the main entrance of the Muskegon County Wastewater Management properties on Maple Island Road just north of White Road where we will re-group.

From 8:30 until noon we will drive around many of the birding areas of the Wastewater properties (lagoons, woodlands, marshes, fields, old orchards) stepping out of our cars often to observe whatever birds or non-feathered wildlife we find.

Many of the resident grassland birds will still be on the property and August is the heart of the shorebird migration season, so there should be plenty of birds to see.  A spotting scope and a walkie-talkie (Channel 30, Sub-channel 00) are handy but not essential on this trip.

The public is welcome.  Hope to see you there.

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.)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Howard Christensen Field Trip Report


Five of us enjoyed Greg Swanson's guided tour of the Howard Christensen Nature Center this morning.  


Of 49 bird species, we found only seven warblers (Blue-winged, Nashville, Black-throated Green, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush and Common Yellow-throat).  Not even a Yellow!  And no bluebirds!

Notables included the waterthrush, Ruffed Grouse, Common Raven and Olive-sided Flycatcher.  Others were Green Heron, Red-shouldered Hawk, Sandhill Crane, Great Crested Flycatcher (vocalizing all over the property, including a pair at their nest), Veery, Wood Thrush, Eastern Towhee, Indigo Bunting and Scarlet Tanager.


That's the least-blurry tanager photo.  Greg suggested I post the blurriest as a Vermillion Flycatcher:


And if you believed that, then you'll also believe that these are birds:




Suffice that we enjoyed everything from snails to frogs to pigs (Penelope) this beautiful spring morning.

- Ric

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

FIVE CLUB EVENTS THIS MONTH


May 9, 2015
North American Migration Count
Brian Johnson

May 16, 2015
Howard Christensen Nature Center
Greg Swanson

May 21, 2015
Potluck Picnic Meeting
Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve
Ric Pedler

Potluck picnic supper at 6:00.  Bring a dish to pass.  Park in the outer lot and walk in to the pavilion.  Brief business meeting afterward including election of officers for 2015-2016.  Conclude with a bird-walk around the nature preserve.  

May 23, 2015
BIG DAY COUNT
Feller DeWitt

The hard-core group will go all day from 4:45 a.m. until dark.  Beginning at the outer gate at Lane's Landing we will spend several hours birding the Lane's Landing marsh and woods.  Then it's State Game Area headquarters for late-morning birding and brown-bag-lunch at the headquarters building.  Early afternoon at the Wastewater properties.  Late afternoon wherever necessary species may take us.  Supper at the McDonald's restaurant in North Muskegon, then to the other side of the interersection looking for birds at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve before heading west to Muskegon State park's Snug Harbor woods and north side of Muskegon Channel.  Everyone is welcome to bird with us all day or any part of the day.  Our object: to count as many bird species as possible in one day and have as much fun as possible doing it.

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.)