Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Camo Ruddy and Backyard Merlin

October 21 Email:

The last time I sent you a picture (posted below), I didn't explain it.  A Ruddy Duck at the Wastewater was diving within the green slime area and came up with this slime over it.  So I called it "camo ruddy".  Here's a better picture.  -Phil Willemstein

Thanks for the update, Phil.  We have bunches of Pine Siskins at our feeder today.  This afternoon Carol looked out the kitchen window and noticed this Merlin at the top of a tree.  Good yard birds!  - Ric

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

This and That

Carol Cooper emailed Oct. 19:  "Just got a report that Enforcer, Muskegon's male Piping Plover for the last three seasons, was spotted August 29 and September 3 at Matagorda Beach in Texas."

Phil Willemstein emailed Oct. 19:  "Sending you a couple of things I happened upon at the Wastewater this week end."

The first "things" are female and male Northern Shovelers.  The second "thing" appears to be a Ruddy Duck on a bad hair day, but other opinions will be appreciated.  On Monday afternoon while again looking unsuccessfully for a hawk migration (only 2 migrating Red-tailed Hawks), I did see a pair of Common Ravens "crawking" and flying south high over the Muskegon Channel- Ric

And here's that photo of the Western Screech-owl that Andy told me about (discussed on Saturday's field trip.)  It landed on the co-pilot's seat of an airplane dropping water on a California wild fire.  Full story here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Greater White-fronted Geese on Tuesday

October 13 Email:

I was encouraged by Rick Brigham to post a sighting I had tonight at the Muskegon Wastewater to the Muskegon Nature Club.  I saw approximately 13 Greater White-fronted Geese at around 6:30-6:45 p.m. in a field located just south of the astronomy observatory.  I have attached photos.  On the chance these are relocated, I hope members of your club might enjoy seeing these geese. - Joseph Mallot

Greater White-fronted and Canada Geese

Thanks, Joseph.  I hope the geese stick around awhile so that members of our club and others may see them.  - Ric

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Saturday Morning at Black Lake Park

Lots of color this sunny-to-cloudy morning with gun shots booming often south of the lake.

Notable among the 20 bird species were Sandhill Crane, Osprey (Year Bird 151 if I were counting) Belted Kingfisher, Eastern Bluebird, Hermit Thrush (at least 3), Field Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco and White-throated Sparrow.

Field Sparrow

Hermit Thrush

A hunter's animated decoy at the south end of the lake attracted 6 Mallards which were about to land when they apparently smelled a rat.  They swerved up and away, followed by the booming; one dropped into the water and was retrieved by a black dog.  So the hunter got 1 and eBird got 5

- Ric

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Muskegon Channel

This morning's strong west winds were not the best for "pushing" migrating hawks along the shore, but I spent a couple hours "hawkwatching" at the Muskegon Channel anyway.  Most of today's migrants were Blue Jays (250). 

The Lake Express at 10:30

Other birds included 5 migrating Sharp-shinned Hawks, 3 Red-tailed Hawks (2 migrating; 1 playing in the wind north of the channel), 1 migrating Broad-winged Hawk (harrassing a redtail), and several among the other 16 species apparently migrating (Turkey VulturesEuropean Starlings, other small birds, Double-crested Cormorants, and American Crows).

- Ric

Monday, October 5, 2020

Black Lake Park

Swamp Sparrow

Great Blue Heron

Palm Warbler


with lunch

Sandhill Cranes
The Cranes were doing a little dance.


Here are some pictures from Black Lake Park this morning.  I didn't keep a list.  I was out for a quick walk to check on the fall colors.

- Charlie DeWitt

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Hudsonian Godwit on Wednesday

September 30 Email:

saw the Hudsonian Godwit this morning near the southeast corner of the east lagoon.

- Mike Boston

Monday, September 28, 2020

Sunday at the Wastewater

 Hudsonian Godwit

Sunday afternoon Carol and I went to the Wastewater looking for the Hudsonian Godwit.  We found it along the shoreline at the northwest corner of the east lagoon.

- Charlie DeWitt

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Hudsonian Godwits etc. Saturday Morning

Brenda Eikenberry and Ken Sapkowski phoned shortly after noon that they were heading for the Wastewater to see two Hudsonian Godwits reported this morning on the pipe near the northwest corner of the east lagoon.

I had considered birding the Wastewater this morning, but instead walked Ottawa Sands County Park.  The closest thing to godwits were these Pied-billed Grebes.

I took this picture "for the record" figuring I could get closer for a better shot.  Well, I got closer, but they knew I was there and submerged.  Two minutes later I saw just the head of one spying on me from the lake grass for a few seconds.  That was it until much later as I was heading for my car and saw them far off on the surface again (laughing).

Other birds of interest included a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, three Red-tailed Hawks spending their morning around the eagle-nest dune, lots of Blue Jays flying around in flocks (one of 48 birds), and three probably-migrating species (3 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 1 American Kestrel, and 1 adult Red-headed Woodpecker flying southbound over the trees southwest of the lake).

- Ric

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Grand Haven North Pier Wednesday

Pectoral Sandpiper

Black-bellied Plover

I went looking for the American Golden Plovers that were reported on the 22nd but didn't find any.

- Charlie DeWitt

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Another Photo from Saturday

Better late than never: Along with the other stuff posted on our homepage, Beth Miller photographed this Ring-billed Gull with a frog Saturday morning at the Grand Haven north pier.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Buff-breasted Sandpiper Still at Grand Haven

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

 Common Tern

The Buff-breasted Sandpiper (see post below) was very tame.  It walked within 3 feet of my lens.

- Charlie DeWitt

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Snow Geese on Sunday


September 20 Email 1:27 p.m.:

Five Snow Geese in the field south of the observatory at the Wastewater best seen from the north side of the east lagoon.  Should still be there. 

- Ken Sapkowski

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Merlin Chasing Buff-breasted Sandpiper Today

Our group had a memorable field trip down in Ottawa County this morning.  The report with details and pictures is posted on our homepage.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Some Raptors Migrating Today

Conditions seemed good for hawk watching this afternoon, so I spent a couple hours watching the sky from east of the Silversides.  I saw at least 25 Red-tailed Hawks migrating high above the Muskegon Channel (many other raptors too high to identify were also probably Red-tails).  Other migrants included 6 American Kestrels, 6 Turkey Vultures, 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk and a Monarch butterfly.  Nothing unusual among the other ten species.  

- Ric