Sunday, September 17, 2023

October Events

 October 17 Program

"Birds of Prey"

Blandford Nature Center

Our programs are in conjunction with the Owashtanog Islands Audubon Society. 

Location:  Loutit District Library, 407 Columbus Ave., Grand Haven

Date:  Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Social Time:  6:00-6:30

Program Time:  6:30-8:00

Blandford Nature Center's live Birds of Prey program will feature some of our many feathered wildlife ambassadors that call Blandford Nature Center their home.  Our birds of prey are native to Michigan and have permanent injuries, making them unable to survive in the wild.  We will have several of these birds at the library and will be discussing what makes a bird a bird of prey.  We will also be passing around natural artifacts.  

The Loutit Library has asked our officers and members to register on their website for bird programs.  Please visit the Library’s calendar at and register.  Registration is free and will help the library keep track of interest in programs presented there.  In addition, by registering you will receive an email reminder of the program and notices for future Muskegon County Nature Club and Owashtanang Island Audubon Club programs.  

October 21 Field Trip

Clear Springs Nature Preserve and Lions Park

9:00 - Noon


The Clear Springs Nature Preserve is located northeast of Montague.  From the US-31expressway take the Fruitvale Road exit.  Drive a short distance east on Fruitvale to Henderson Road and turn right (south) into the park.  

    Meet at 9:00 a.m. in the parking area.  We will then walk down one side of the creek and back up the other side looking for whatever birds we can find.

If that takes less than two hours, we will then drive west on Fruitvale to Old US-31 and down to Montague, across the causeway to Whitehall, and east on Hanson St. to Lions Park (just east of the Whitehall Caboose) for a short bird walk on the trail east of that parking lot.  The field trip will end around noon.

    The public is welcome.  Hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 7, 2023

September Events

September 16 Field Trip

Dune Harbor County Park

8:00 - Noon

Our field trip this month will be at the new Dune Harbor County Park (the old Nugent Sand Co. properties on the west side of Muskegon) on Saturday morning, September 16.  Originally we posted that we’d start at 8:00 at the park entrance on Lincoln Street south of Winnetaska Road (across from Southwood Ave.).  There will still be a club member there at 8:00 if that’s where you go.  But we’ll actually start at the parking lot on Seminole Road along the south side of the park.  We will look for birds on the path around the lake.  The trip will end around noon.  Hope to see you there!

September 19

First Meeting of the Season

5:30 - 6:15 p.m.

Our first of three business meetings this season will be at 5:30 p.m. on September 19 at the Loutit Library before Steve Hamburg's program.  We should know more details that day about the George Wickstrom project at the Muskegon County Resource Recovery Center.  This will also be a good time to renew your membership dues ($20 per year).  All members are invited to attend.  

September 19 Program

Birding in Uganda

Steve Hamburg

The program will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Loutit District Library, 407 Columbus Ave. in Grand Haven.

Uganda in eastern Africa is a beautiful country with a diversity of habitats including forests, plains and rivers.  It is situated on the edge of Lake Victoria and is where the Nile River begins its long journey north toward Egypt.  Not only does the country have some of the last remaining populations of wild chimpanzees and gorillas, but it has a great variety of birdlife.  In 2021, Covid restrictions made it difficult to travel, but Uganda was one country that had not yet closed its borders to tourists.  Taking advantage of the opportunity, Steve was able to spend three weeks there, visiting several national parks and doing what he likes most, birding.

Steve Hamberg was born and raised in Holland, Michigan.  He graduated from Calvin University with a degree in Physics, then moved to Kansas where he received his PhD in Radiation Biophysics, and after that his MD degree, both from the University of Kansas.  In Miami, Florida, he did his residency in Internal Medicine with the University of Miami.  He next moved to Swaziland in southern Africa where he practiced as a missionary doctor for four years.  In 1990, he moved back to Holland and joined an Internal Medicine practice until the practice was acquired by Spectrum Hospital.  He continued as a physician with Spectrum, focusing mainly on care of nursing home residents until he retired in 2022.  Ever since in Africa, he has enjoyed international birding as a hobby.  To date, he has traveled to 90 countries and has seen over 7,500 species of birds worldwide.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

August 19 Field Trip

NOTICE: Change of date (updated Aug. 11):

Our August field trip to the Muskegon County Resource Recovery Center (Wastewater) will be on August 19, the third Saturday of the month, as usual.  (It was previously posted as a week later.)

Our group will meet just inside the Maple Island Road entrance to the MCRRC at 9:00 a.m.  Besides looking for shorebirds, we’ll also try for late summer grassland birds.  Having a walkie-talkie tuned to Channel 11, Subchannel 0 can be helpful but is not necessary.  Bring yours if you have one; the club will also have a few there for borrowing.

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

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Muskegon Peregrines Update

Below is a summary of recent email and Discord (birding app) posts regarding Peregrine Falcons in downtown Muskegon.  Here's a photo from Wildside Rehab of one of the juveniles that was "rescued" and is now in rehab prior to release.

As some of you may recall, peregrines successfully fledged numerous youngsters for several years using the nest boxes on what used to be the tallest object in Muskegon County, the smokestack of the B.C. Cobb plant.

Those boxes were moved to the roof of the Shoreline Inn before destruction of the smokestack.  Although the boxes were never used as nest sites, peregrines were sometimes seen on that roof killing pigeons and rearing young.

Unlike the old Cobb Plant properties, ground level in downtown Muskegon is no place for a fledgling falcon.  Three juveniles, one last year, two this year, were recovered from the ground near the Huntington Bank Building and it's been confirmed that peregrines are using that rooftop ledge for nesting.

Although there's nothing definite yet, it's possible that the Shoreline Inn boxes might be moved to the Huntington Bank building with future youngsters perhaps being banded as were the Cobb Plant young. 

Sunday, June 25, 2023

July 8 Butterfly Field Trip

Five people arrived at the Muskegon State Game Area headquarters for our scheduled butterfly field trip but left soon afterward due to rainy conditions.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

June 3 Allegan Field Trip Report

Nine adults and four juveniles birded two sections of the Allegan State Game Area this morning.  All told we found 59 bird species along the way.  (Photos below by Carol DeWitt.)

We began with stops along the fields and woodlots of the farm unit.  Notable species included many Dickcissels; Willow, Least and Great-crested Flycatcher; Bobolink; Ring-necked Pheasant; Green Heron; Brown Thrasher; Vesper, Field and Grasshopper Sparrow; Bobolink; Eastern Meadowlark; Red-tailed Hawk; Eastern Towhee; Orchard Oriole; Cedar Waxwing and American Redstart.

Then we drove a few miles east of Fennville to bird the huge tract of woods in the eastern SGA.  Bird species included Eastern Wood-Pewee; Ovenbird; Hooded, Cerulean and Blue-winged Warbler; Yellow-billed Cuckoo; Veery; Scarlet Tanager; Pileated Woodpecker; Acadian and Least Flycatcher; and Yellow-throated Vireo.

Female Rose-breasted Grosbeak with food for her family. 

We stopped birding around 12:30.  Most of us then enjoyed a late lunch at the Crane's Pie Pantry Restaurant west of Fennville before returning home. 

Sunday, May 28, 2023

June 3 Field Trip to Allegan County

Our monthly field trip is scheduled for this Saturday, June 3.  We will bird the Allegan State Game Area in the morning and enjoy lunch at the Crane’s Pie Pantry Restaurant west of Fennville at midday.

Allow about an hour of travel time from Muskegon to the US-31 / M-89 interchange south of Holland.  We we will meet at 8:30 in the parking lot of the Shell gas station a half mile east of the interchange where M-89 crosses the Blue Star Highway.  From there we will drive to various places on the nearby farm properties of the Allegan State Game Area to look for whatever birds we can find.  Having a walkie-talkie in your vehicle tuned to Channel 11, Subchannel 0 can be helpful, but is not necessary.

Around noon we’ll drive to the Crane’s Orchard Pie Pantry Restaurant, 6054 124th Ave. (M-89), Fennville, MI. for lunch.  Some of us may return to Muskegon with a stop at New Richmond Bridge Park along the north side of the Kalamazoo River .  

This trip is open to the public.  Hope to see you there. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Report: Big Day Count May 20, 2023

Six people started Saturday morning's Big Day Count at 5:00 by the outer gate of Lane's Landing.  Our goal was to find as many bird species as possible in one day.  At one time or another eleven people participated as the group birded the State Game Area, the Muskegon Resource Recovery (Wastewater) properties, Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve, and Muskegon State Park's Snug Harbor, Lost Lake Trail, and Muskegon Channel northside.  Two people finished at 9:15 p.m.  (Photos by Glen Miller.)

Lane's Landing and SGA provided 75 species.  Besides the usual suspects these included Trumpeter Swan, American Bittern, Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoos, Common Gallinule, Yellow-throated Vireo, Brown Creeper, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Veery, Prothonotary, Blue-winged, Black-and-White, Cerulean and Wilson's Warblers, Acadian Flycatcher, Cedar Waxwing, Eastern Towhee and Scarlet Tanager.

The Wastewater properties gave us 42 more including Red-tailed Hawk, Horned Lark, Lapland Longspur, Wilson's Phalarope, American Pipit, Baird's and White-rumped Sandpipers, Sanderling, Orchard Oriole, Lesser and Greater Scaup, Redhead, Canvasback, American Coot and Kestrel, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Vesper, Savannah and Grasshopper Sparrows, Bald Eagle and Common Raven.

After supper we added Mute Swan and Blackpoll Warbler at the nature preserve, Winter Wren on the Lost Lake Trail, and Purple Martin at the channel.  We had no great misses today but were disappointed at finding no Bonaparte's Gull or Black-throated Green Warbler along our way.

The grand total was a very respectable 121 species for the day.  Thanks to all who participated!

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

May Events

May 18, 2023

Potluck Picnic Meeting

Our annual membership potluck supper, meeting, and bird walk will be at Snug Harbor, May 18, 2023.  See your newsletter for details.  

We've had two M.C.N.C. meetings this season: Sept. 15, 2022 at the Roosevelt Park Community Building and Jan. 26, 2023 at the Norton Shores branch library.  Our final meeting will follow this evening's supper and will include an election of officers for 2023-2024.  Anyone interested in being next year's president, vice-president, secretary or treasurer should let Beth know sometime before the meeting.

May 20, 2023

Big Day Count

Diehards will meet at 5:00 a.m. at the outer gate to Lane's Landing just beyond where Maple Island Road crosses Mosquito Creek a mile north of the entrance to the Muskegon County Resource Recovery Center (MCRRC).  Be careful pulling into and out of this driveway as traffic on Maple Island Road can be fast.

Shortly after five we will drive a mile to the inner gate, stopping occasionally to listen for night birds.  When it's light enough to see, we will walk the mile north to the Muskegon River and back.  Then we'll drive up Maple Island Road less than two miles to the MDNR headquarters for birding along the Maple River.

Lunch as usual will be brown-bag on the porch of the headquarters building.  During the afternoon we'll bird the MCRRC properties and perhaps Patterson County Park (depending on what species we still need).

After an optional supper at the North Muskegon McDonald's, we'll bird the nearby Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve before driving west to Snug Harbor at Muskegon State Park and concluding our day along the north wall of the Muskegon Channel.

Our "purpose" is to have our group count as many bird species in the county as possible in one day.  Anyone is welcome to join our group anytime along the way.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Bluebird Nest Box Monitoring

Once again this summer some of our members will help monitor the bluebird boxes on the Muskegon County Resource Recovery Center (MCRRC) properties.  Monitoring boxes is a great way to learn more about cavity nesting species and to get up close to nature!  

Simply sign up for a week when you'll be available and then choose whatever day (10:30 a.m. - 4:00 during that week that works for you.  (You will receive an email reminder prior to your scheduled appointment.). Pick up your monitoring field sheets at the Administration Building prior to monitoring your nest boxes.

Sign up online by clicking here.


- Anita Friend, MCRRC