Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Two Christmas Bird Counts in December

As always we will have no meeting, program or field trip in December.  We will conduct two Christmas Bird Counts (CBC's):

The Wastewater CBC will be Wednesday, December 15, 2021.  To participate, meet Brian Johnson in the Muskegon County Wastewater Management parking lot from 8:00-8:30 a.m.  During the rest of the morning people will drive pie-shaped sectors of that 15-mile-diameter circle counting as many birds as possible.  Whether participants meet for lunch at Granny's Griddle Restaurant (Apple Ave. at Wolf Lake Road) will be determined that morning. 

Our City of Muskegon CBC will be Saturday, December 18, 2021.  There will be three groups.  All meet at 8:00 a.m. and get together for lunch around noon at the Cherokee restaurant on W. Sherman Blvd.  Some people continue birding into the afternoon.  Dress for the weather.

The South Group meets with Bonnie Kot in the Anchor Chiropractic (old Denny’s) parking lot on Green St. at Seaway Drive.  They drive to various locations where they walk and look for birds. 

The Central Group meets with Charlie DeWitt in the old B.C. Cobb parking lot near the south end of the Veteran’s Memorial Causeway.  They census birds at various locations with a fair amount of walking.  They may split into two or more smaller groups and might not be as easy to hook up with as the South and North groups.

Ric Pedler and Ken Sherburn will lead the North Group meeting at the west end of the Snug Harbor Parking Lot in Muskegon State Park (west of North Muskegon).  Many conditions (snow cover, the pipe project under the Muskegon Channel, etc.) will determine details, but this group may walk a few miles if there’s not much snow cover.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

November 20 Field Trip Report

Ten of us meandered around Black Lake Park this morning -- a nice cold walk with a few birds scattered here and there; nothing to write home about.

Among the seventeen species were at least one Brown Creeper, five Pied-billed Grebes, and several Dark-eyed Juncos.  Surprisingly, no Northern Cardinals appeared on our walk, but two flew in front of Charlie's truck as he was leaving.

Photos by Carol Cooper:

The sun barely visible at the parking lot.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

November Program and Field Trip

November 18 Meeting and Program

( See Sidebar for Time and Place Details )

Birding in West India

Steve and Angie Hamberg

The country of India has a number of habitats and a good diversity of bird species.  In Thursday's audio-visual program, Steve and Angie Hamberg will concentrate on the more arid western portion of India, largely following its border with Pakistan.  They start north in the Punjab region where a manmade wetland attracts wintering species from even further north, then south into Rajastan, land of palaces and fortresses where isolated natural areas provide a refuge for local wildlife.  Next they go into the Thar Desert to look for a couple of endangered birds.  This is followed by a visit to the great salt flats bordering the Arabian Sea.  Their program ends at a forested reserve northeast of Mumbai to find a rare owl.

Steve and Angie Hamberg are from Holland, Michigan.  Steve is a practicing physician, though soon to retire.  Angie is a retired elementary school music teacher.  Together they have been to 85 countries around the world and have birded in most of them.  Steve keeps a list of all of the birds he has seen and is presently at 7,211 species on his world checklist!

Field Trip

Black Lake Park, Etc.

November 20, 2021

We will meet Saturday morning at 8:00 in the parking lot of Black Lake Park (on the west side of Wood Road about a mile south of Pontaluna Road).  At 8:15 we will begin our slow clockwise walk around the park heading south to the creek, west to the first viewing platform, north to the second viewing platform, east to the meadow and south back to our cars.  The entire distance is about a mile.

Depending on time and the group's desire, we may then drive to the west side of Black Lake to look for birds there or at the adjoining Hoffmaster State Park.  The  trip will end around noon.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Special Election of Officers in February 2022

Nominate another club member or volunteer yourself from now until January 31, 2022, to be president, vice-president, secretary, or treasurer of the Muskegon County Nature Club next season (Sept. 16, 2022 - Sept. 21, 2023).  Members will vote anonymously at our meeting on February 17, 2022, or non-anonymously by mail or email from February 18 until February 28, 2022.

(Ric will not be the club’s president after September 16, 2022, but will remain an active member and help whoever succeeds him in every way he can.)

Sunday, October 24, 2021

October 23 Field Trip Report

The forecasted weather (cloudy with a 15% chance of rain) didn't hold true for yesterday's conditions at the Upper Macatawa Natural Area.  Instead the day began with ground fog and mostly clear skies.  The sun burned off the fog fairly quickly.  Then clouds hurried in from the northwest and rain sprinkled us for much of the rest of the morning.  Nonetheless, on our walk along the trails six-and-three-halves of us found many individual birds of 34 different species.

Notable were seven waterbirds (Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, Mallard, American Black Duck, Green-winged Teal) plus Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, White-crowned Sparrow and Yellow-rumped Warbler. 

Carol Cooper took these pictures:

Watching the Red-tailed Hawk on the pole.

Surveying the ponds from the look-out platform.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Bird Calendars Available

October 20 Email:

    In case you or anyone you know is interested…. If you like the photography I produce, there are 2022 calendars for sale at the Bird House on Lake Street in North Muskegon that highlight photography of various sorts.  

    There is a calendar that has been created of Richard’s Park …the park that now can only be entered when heading away from North Muskegon on the Causeway …formerly could be entered also from Ottawa Street.  The calendar was created as a fundraiser to create awareness/ appreciation for that little park…  The money gained from the purchase of calendars has allowed for the purchase of a number of bird houses and one bat house that have been installed around the park in various trees.  

    There is a second calendar that features wildlife from around the State of Michigan…and one from Minnesota (Great Gray Owl…that can also be seen occasionally in Michigan)

    The third calendar is one that features views of our Muskegon lakeshores….beauty abounds!

    Just thought I’d mention that to you as we’re nearing the end of 2021 already….2022 will be here in a FLASH of time!

- Ruth Achterhoff Aust

Sunday, September 19, 2021

September 18 Field Trip Report

Fourteen people birded two Ottawa County locations this morning on our September field trip.  We found 36 bird species today.

Just east of the Grand Haven north pier seven small birds occupied a lone tree.  Six of the seven seemed to be warblers: a Nashville, a female Black-throated Blue, and a Bay-breasted (I.D.'d by Chip Francke who happened to be walking by).  One was a Yellow-throated Vireo.

Notable from the pier were Caspian Tern, Ruddy Turnstone, and a number of Sanderlings, some of which we nearly stepped on.

North Pier Birders by Carol Cooper

Sanderling by Carol Cooper

After the pier we walked the woods and open areas along the east side of the lake at Ottawa Sands County Park.  Birds of note included a Gray-cheeked Thrush, Red-headed Woodpeckers, some warblers (Nashville, male Black-throated Blue, and Palm), some local and migrating raptors (Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, American Kestrels), Pied-billed Grebe, Wood Ducks, Spotted Sandpipers, Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches, and Great Blue and Green Herons.

Scanning the sky for raptors by Carol Cooper

Hornet Nest near the parking lot by Carol Cooper

Monday, September 13, 2021

Muskegon County Birding Listserv

 "If you are a birder in Muskegon County, you might want to join the Muskegon County birds listserv that was started by Beth Miller some time ago  If you want to join, email Beth at glenabeth@gmail.com.  You will receive more info after you join."   - Chip Francke

Saturday, August 21, 2021

August 21 Field Trip Report

Nineteen people showed up for our August 21 Wastewater Field Trip.  We caravanned through the Rapid Infiltration cells, birded the north end of the center dike, and finished at the Clay Pond on the south side.

Shorebirds were nicely spread around the lagoons despite none of the rapid filtration cells being drawn down.  We found 13 of these: Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, Stilt Sandpiper, Sanderling, Baird's Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope ...

... Spotted Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpiper, and Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs.  Two birders not with our group reported a Ruddy Turnstone.

Others among the 54 species identified by our group included Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Hooded Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Sandhill Crane, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret ...

... Green Heron, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks, American Kestrel, Merlin, Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Bluebird, Cedar Waxwing, Eastern Meadowlark, Baltimore Oriole, and Dickcissel.

Moments of interest included a yellowlegs morphing from a phalarope, a crow morphing from a hawk via a raven, and an eagle morphing back and forth from golden to bald.  Sorry if you missed any of this -- we'll hold another field trip next month.

Additional photos by Carol Cooper:

Saturday, July 17, 2021

July 17 Field Trip Report

Seven of us birded the Allegan State Game Area farm unit this morning.  We found 35 bird species including Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Sandhill Crane, Willow Flycatcher, Sedge Wren, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, Eastern Meadowlark, Indigo Bunting and Dickcissel. 

American Goldfinch

 We concluded our day with lunch at the Crane's Pie Pantry Restaurant.

Photos by Carol DeWitt