Thursday, January 4, 2018

January Program and Field Trip

January 18 Program
Birding Around Muskegon County
Charlie DeWitt and Ric Pedler

Tonight's program will be a modified version* of one presented last year to the Holland Aububon Club. It's a color-photograph presentation, most of them by Charlie, a few by Ric and by Charlie's wife Carol, explaining some of the reasons why Muskegon and north Ottawa County are so special to birds and birders, with details about many specific places to see birds.

    * We will gear most of our comments to those who are already familiar with birding this area.

See Sidebar for location and times.

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January 20, 2018
Northside Field Trip

Weather permitting*, meet at the McDonald's restaurant (M-120 at Lake Drive) north of the Veterans Memorial Park Causeway in North Muskegon for coffee and chatter 7:15-8:00 p.m.

We will drive our cars kitty-corner over to the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve and walk the preserve for awhile finding as many winter birds as we can.

Then we will car-pool west out Ruddiman Drive (25-mile-per-hour speed limit enforced in North Muskegon) to Snug Harbor in Muskegon State Park (Recreation Passport license plates required).  Depending on conditions, we may bird along Muskegon Lake, walk the trail south from the west end of the parking lot, or bird the Lost Lake trail north.

If time allows, we may also drive out to Lake Michigan and down to the channel.

This trip will end around noon.  The public is welcome.

    * If there's a cancellation, we will post it here.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Christmas Bird Count Reports

Our club conducted two Christmas Bird Counts this year: the Muskegon Wastewater CBC (Brian Johnson, coordinator) Dec. 20 and the City of Muskegon CBC (Ric Pedler, coordinator) Dec. 23.  Because of their general nature, all reports from these counts are posted on our Recent Sightings page.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

November Field Trip Reports


Twenty-one vehicles transported 45-50 bird-watchers around the Muskegon County Wastewater properties on Friday morning November 17.  Click here.


Six hardy individuals looked for birds from downtown Grand Haven out to the State Park, down to Pigeon River, then over to Hemock Crossing this morning.  We had barely more bird species than participants, but as always a good time.

The species of the morning was Great Black-backed Gull.  Charlie's photo.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Upper Macatawa Field Trip Report

Liz Notman led ten of us around the Upper Macatawa Natural Area this morning.  Other than titmice we found all the usual suspects among our 43 species including Green-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, Great Blue Heron, Northern Harrier, Cooper's and Red-tailed Hawks, Killdeer, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Flicker, Red-bellied, Downy, Hairy and Pileated Woodpeckers, Golden- and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Eastern Bluebird, White-crowned, White-throated, Song and Swamp Sparrows, and various blackbirds (Red-winged, European Starling and Common Grackle). 

We came upon this Praying Mantis along one of the grassy trails.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Montague Field Trip Report

Seven people birded the greater Montague area Saturday morning September 23.  At Henderson Lake they found 15 bird species including Pied-billed Grebe, Green Heron, Winter Wren, Cedar Waxwing and Common Yellowthroat.

Fourteen species were recorded at Clear Springs Nature Preserve including Killdeer, Belted Kingfisher, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe and Brown Creeper.

At Covell Park Trumpeter Swan and Wilson's Warbler were among 9 species, and at Lions Park Marsh Wren and White-crowned and White-throated Sparrows were among 19 total species.

Thanks to Ken Sapkowski for leading the trip and to Tracy Zervos for the species information.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Wastewater Field Trip Report

Ten of us found 60 species of birds on the Wastewater properties this morning.

Notable in the dry cells south of White Road were Bobolinks, Eastern Meadowlarks, Grasshopper and Savannah Sparrows, Sandhill Cranes and three swallows (Barn, Tree and Bank).

Bobolink by Charlie DeWitt

Sandhill Cranes by Charlie DeWitt

Around the lagoons we added Blue- and Green-winged Teal, Hooded Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Pied-billed and Eared Grebe, Semipalmated Plover, Least, Pectoral, Semipalmated, Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Red-necked Phalaropes and a Merlin.

Red-necked Phalaropes by Charlie DeWitt

While departing the property we added Belted Kingfisher and Great Egret.

Thanks to Charlie for leading us around, sending us the photographs, and finding the kingfisher, and to Mark for spotting the egret!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Ferguson Farm and Walleye Ponds Trip Report

Fifteen Thirteen of us enjoyed a morning of birding north of the Muskegon River today.

Group south of the Ferguson Farm bridge by Charlie DeWitt

We counted 37 species at the old Ferguson Farm (State Game Area property south of River Road north of Lane's Landing) including Wood Duck, six Blue-winged Teal, lotsa Green Herons, a startled American Woodcock, Belted Kingfisher, Red-headed Woodpecker, Yellow-throated Vireo, Prothotary Warbler, American Redstart, Indigo Bunting and Baltimore Oriole.

Viewing the Prothonotary Warbler from the bridge.

Seven of the 25 species at Holton Duck Lake Road from the bridge south to the abandoned walleye ponds at the Muskegon River were new for the day including Sandhill Crane, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird, Cedar Waxwing and this Turkey Vulture sunning its wings:

Carol Cooper counted 25 species of wildflowers including these three: Blue Vervain, Trout Lily and Teasel: 

Thanks to Ken Sherburn for casing the road construction beforehand and leading this morning's trip!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Allegan State Game Area Field Trip Report

June 10, 2017
Allegan State Game Area
Leader: Ken Sapkowski

Ken led our group of six to two locations at the Allegan State Game Area.  First we birded a trail along Swan Creek west of 44th Street, then the fields along 59th St. south of 118th Ave. before eating a late lunch at the Crane's Orchard Pie Pantry Restaurant on M-89 west of Fennville.

Birds of note among the 39 species were Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Acadian Flycatcher, Wood Thrush, Cedar Waxwing, Ovenbird, Worm-eating Warbler (we spent lots of time catching brief glimpses of this constantly-singing bird), Louisiana Waterthrush, Chestnut-sided and Pine Warblers, Grasshopper Sparrow, Dickcissel and Bobolink.

Remarkably on our way home John Walhout and I stopped briefly along the north end of the New Richmond bridge finding exactly four species, none of which were found earlier at the State Game Area: Prothonotary Warbler, Cliff Swallow, Chipping Sparrow and American Robin.  Go figure!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Berrien County Field Trip Report

May 6-7
Berrien County Bonus Field Trip

Ken Sapkowski led 12 of us around Warren Dunes and Warren Woods State Parks, Three Oaks, Galien County Park and the Kessling Preserve.  Saturday and Sunday were both beautiful but very cool and quite windy, which undoubtedly kept the birds down.

Nevertheless we found many wonderful birds (I added 26 species to my Michigan Year List) including Northern and Louisiana Waterthrushes, Scarlet Tanager, Swainson's Thrush, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common and Forster's Terns and Prairie Warbler.

 Galien River

 On the bridge at Warren Woods State Park

 Yellow-rumped Warbler at Warren Dunes State Park

 Rose-breasted Grosbeak at Warren Dunes State Park

Prairie Warbler at Warren Dunes State Park

Sunday, April 23, 2017

April 22 Field Trip Report

Twenty people participated in this morning's field trip to Grand River Park in eastern Ottawa County.  Ric's sincere apologies to those who got wet feet after we promised no such thing.

The Young ...

... and the Not-As-Young

We were amazed to see the Grand River within its banks this morning.  On our "dry run" for this trip on April 11 the water was approximately at this yellow line:

After birding along the river, we might have been wiser to head to Grand Ravines Park North.  Our feet were dry until we walked the trails south and away from the river.  Go figure.

On the brighter side, we did find 42 species of birds this lovely cool day including black-billed swans (3 Tundra/Trumpeters flew over us at the boat launch ramp), Double-crested Cormorant, Red-tailed Hawk (4 presumably migrating overhead), Virginia Rail (calling north of the parking lot), Sandhill Crane, Belted Kingfisher, Pileated Woodpecker, Barn Swallow, Brown Creeper, House Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, American Tree Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Eastern Towhee and Eastern Meadowlark.

Heading southwest we came upon a Garter Snake, perhaps a sign that we should turn around?  

Hopefully everyone enjoyed the morning.  The park had lots of birds today; imagine what it will have in May!