Saturday, July 21, 2018

July 21 Allegan County Field Trip Report

A month of drought between last month's field trip and today, so of course the skies opened this morning!  McDonald's didn't.  Three cars, five people, on-and-off rain, 22 bird species, and good food at Crane's Restaurant in Allegan County.  No one drowned. 

photo by Charlie DeWitt

Saturday, June 16, 2018

June 16 Field Trip Canceled Except for Charlie

Four people who showed up for coffee at McDonald's (and one at the old Ferguson Farm) decided to spend the rest of this wet morning at home rather than looking for birds in the rain.  But Charlie DeWitt led his own trip and posted it today on our Recent Sightings page.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Our Big Day Species, Locations and Times

Here are the eBird listings for our Big Day Count last Saturday, May 19, 2018.  Total Species125.

Lane's Landing Before Dawn (2 Species)

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)  X
Barred Owl (Strix varia)  X

Lane's Landing Early Mornng (40 Species)

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)  X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  X
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)  X
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)  X
Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis)  X
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  X
Green Heron (Butorides virescens)  X
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  X
Sora (Porzana carolina)  X
Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis)  X
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)  X
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  X
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  X
Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor)  X
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  X
Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)  X
Alder Flycatcher (Empidonax alnorum)  X
Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii)  X
Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus)  X
Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)  X
Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus)  X
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  X
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  X
Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris)  X
Veery (Catharus fuscescens)  X
Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina)  X
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  X
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)  X
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  X
American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)  X
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)  X
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  X
Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)  X
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus)  X
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)  X
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  X
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)  X
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)  X
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  X

Wastewater Northside Mid-Morning (44 More Species)

Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors)  X
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)  X
Gadwall (Mareca strepera)  X
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) X
Redhead (Aythya americana)  X
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)  X
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  X
Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)  X 
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)  X
Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)  X
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)  X
Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)  X
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  X
Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda)  X
Dunlin (Calidris alpina)  X
Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla)  X
Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos)  X
Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla)  X
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius)  X
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)  X
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  X
Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens)  X
Least Flycatcher (Empidonax minimus)  X
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)  X
Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)  X
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  X
Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris)  X
Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)  X
Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia)  X
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  X
Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)  X
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)  X
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)  X
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)  X
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum)  X
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  X
Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)  X
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)  X
Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)  X
Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)  X
Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna)  X
Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius)  X
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)  X

DNR Headquarters Maple River Mid-Day (17 more)

Black-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus erythropthalmus)  X
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)  X
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)  X
Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)  X
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)  X
Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons)  X
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  X
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)  X
Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla)  X
Blue-winged Warbler (Vermivora cyanoptera)  X
Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea)  X
Wilson's Warbler (Cardellina pusilla)  X
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)  X
Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea)  X
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)  X
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  X
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X

Patterson Park Early Afternoon (8 more)

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  X
Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)  X
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  X
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)  X
Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia)  X
Chestnut-sided Warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica) X
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  X
Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis)  X

Wastewater Southside Mid-Afternoon (4 more)

Northern Harrier (Circus hudsonius)  X
Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)  X
Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia)  X
Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus)  X

Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve Late Afternoon (6 more)

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)  X
Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)  X
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Feral Pigeon))  X
Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica)  X
Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata)  X
Palm Warbler (Setophaga palmarum)  X

Muskegon State Park Snug Harbor Early Evening (2 more)

Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)  X
Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)  X

Muskegon State Park Beach House Evening (1 more)

Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus)  X 

Muskegon State Park Muskegon Channel Evening (1 more)

Purple Martin (Progne subis)  X

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Dragonfly / Damselfly Outing July 28

If there is enough interest, Dave Dister and Jerry Lang will lead a field trip to find and identify dragonflies and damselflies at various local wetlands.  This would be an afternoon event with us meeting at the McDonald's restaurant in North Muskegon at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 28, 2018. 

After lunch we would begin searching at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve, then drive to other local wetland areas, wrapping up around 4:00 p.m.

Some nets would be provided, but bring binoculars and a camera if desired.  Of course we'll keep an eye on bird activity and make note of any interesting plants.  Footwear should include boots or some kind of water shoes.

If interested, email Jerry Lang ( no later than July 25.  On July 26 we will post here whether or not there was enough interest to hold the field trip.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Big Day Final Total = 125 Species

Yesterday's Big Day Count began with a nice amount of people but not so many birds.  Much of that was undoubtedly due to the on-and-off rains throughout the morning.

Lane's Landing

Our core group recorded only one species -- Barred Owl -- before reaching the inner gate at Lane's Landing.  The wet walk between the marshes provided fewer species than most years and before we reached the Prothonotary Woods, we turned around because we were getting very wet!

State Game Area along the Maple River

That altered our original plans.  In order to stay dry and still find some birds, we drove to the Wastewater.  The north side provided many species, but not the three American White Pelicans that were also there yesterday morning.  By the time we got to the State Game Area headquarters at 11:00, we had about 85 species, a respectable number.  And most of the rain had stopped.

Patterson Park

Old orchard homestead on the south Wastewater properties

Having already birded north of Apple Ave. at the Wastewater, we headed to Patterson Park after lunch.  Then it was the south Wastewater properties including the abandoned orchard, supper at North Muskegon McDonald's, the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve, and Muskegon State Park (the Lost Lake trail first, and the Muskegon Channel at end of day).

Die-hards along the channel wall at the end of the day.

Our final Big Day Total was:   125 species   .

Friday, May 18, 2018

Potluck Picnic Meeting

Over 25 people attended our Potluck Picnic Meeting Thursday evening May 17, 2018.  Afterwards we took a walk around the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve finding 38 species of birds.  (Details posted on Recent Sightings.)

Saturday, April 21, 2018

April 21 Field Trip Report

We began in Ottawa County at the Kitchel-Lindquist Dunes Preserve walking north and clockwise back around to the parking lot finding 26 species along our way.  Of note were Belted Kingfisher, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Red- and White-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, Fox Sparrow and Brown-headed Cowbird.

Photo by Carol Cooper

At the fisherman's parking lot north of the Grand Haven Channel we listed Long-tailed Duck, Bonaparte's Gull, Caspian Tern, Double-crested Cormorant and Purple Martin.

At Black Lake from the bridge down to and including Black Lake Park we found at least 39 species.  Of the 24 new species for this morning, Wood Duck, Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, scaup (sp), Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, Pied-billed and Horned Grebe, Green Heron, a buteo hawk, American Coot, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Bluebird, Brown Thrasher, Yellow-rumped Warbler, American Tree Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco and Common Grackle were notable.

So in about three and a half hours of bird-watching we found 54 species of birds.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

AuSable Valley Audubon Field Trip

AuSable Valley Audubon Society will be holding a field trip:

May 17-19

It will include Guided Birding Walks and Saturday Educational Programs.  For more information contact Ruth Golm,

Saturday, March 17, 2018

March 17 Field Trip Report

Eighteen of us birded the Muskegon County Wastewater properties this morning.  We began by driving the rapid-filtration cells.  Then we birded the parking lot by the administration building, drove carefully across the gull-filled center dike and checked the landfill area.

Next stop, the car wash!  Photo by Carol Cooper

Crossing to the southside our caravan turned west at the model airplane field and drove to the end of Laketon.  Swanson being barricaded south of the clay pond, we drove north up Seba and back to the north side.  After checking out the granery, we drove the seldom-traveled road west along the northern portions of the system and then back to headquarters.

Along the way we recorded 46 bird species despite its being a cold day in March.

eBird Report:

Muskegon Wastewater System, Muskegon, Michigan, US
Mar 17, 2018 8:15 AM - 12:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
17.0 mile(s)
Comments:    Muskegon County Nature Club March Field Trip
46 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  24
Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)  2
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)  12
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  6
Redhead (Aythya americana)  1
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)  1
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  7
Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)  2
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)  1
Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)  1
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)  9
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  1
Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)  1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  3
Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus)  2    1 dark morph, 1 light morph
Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis)  2
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)  5
Wilson's Snipe (Gallinago delicata)  3
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  2000    conservative estimate
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)  36
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Feral Pigeon))  3
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  3
Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus)  2    
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)  1
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  1
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  1
Northern Shrike (Lanius borealis)  1
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  3
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  9
Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris)  9
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  3
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)  1
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  1
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)  4
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  5
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  18
American Tree Sparrow (Spizelloides arborea)  1
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  1
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  12
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)  1
Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna)  6
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  24
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)  2
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus)  1
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  9
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  3

Saturday, February 17, 2018

February 17 Field Trip Report

Eleven hardy souls birded three locations this cold cloudy morning.  Ice covered all of Muskegon Lake and the birdable shoreline of Lake Michigan.  The only water was in the Muskegon Channel where we saw thirteen bird species including Redhead, White-winged Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser and Bald Eagle.

Birders at Lake Harbor Park by Carol Cooper

The Mona Lake Channel was also liquid.  We walked the Lake Harbor Park trail out to the Big Lake recording 17 species including Redhead, Greater Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Rock Pigeon (not often seen on field trips) and Red-breasted Nuthatch.

 Redhead in Mona Lake Channel

Female Greater Scaup in Mona Lake Channel

We concluded our morning walking around Black Lake Park where we found 16 species including Red-bellied Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Bluebird and Cedar Waxwing.  

We didn't hear or see any Pileated Woodpeckers, but there was plenty of evidence that they've been around recently!

Including the Wild Turkeys on Lincoln Street near the Nugent railroad siding, we totaled 32 bird species for the day and had a good time doing it.