Monday, January 21, 2019

Horned Larks and Lapland Longspurs

 Horned Lark

Lapland Longspurs

There was a mixed flock of Horned Larks and Lapland Longspurs on Swanson Road south of White Road on the Wastewater properties.

- Charlie DeWitt

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Backyard Redpolls !

Saturday (posted below) I couldn't find any redpolls, so today they find me.  Carol looked up from her puzzle by our back window and asked, "What are those birds under the feeder?"  Go figure!

1 of 4 Common Redpolls under our feeder this morning.

- Ric

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Year Birds

Hoping to see one of Charlie's black-backed gulls (see Tuesday below), I drove down to Grand Haven this morning.  Nothing.  So I went out to the Wastewater where I got distant views and blurry photos of a Rough-legged Hawk and a Snowy Owl (#38 and #39 for the year if I were counting).  

There were also some Snow Buntings, but I couldn't find the redpolls.  :-(

- Ric

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Piping Plover News

January 9 Email:

This is one of Bahama Mama’s chicks from 2018.  He was sighted at Three Rooker Preserve State Park, Dunedin, Florida, last week along with three others born in the Great Lakes Region.  The others were from Canada.

- Carol Cooper

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Tuesday Birding

On Tuesday I went to the Grand Haven north pier to pick up my Long-tailed Duck for the year.  The Great Black-backed Gulls were still there, seven in all.  After the pier I stopped at the Ottawa Sands County Park and picked up my First-Of-Year Red-headed Woodpecker.

- Charlie DeWitt

 Long-tailed Ducks

 Great Black-backed Gull

Red-headed Woodpecker

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Beginning Our 2019 Bird Lists

As usual, Charlie and Feller DeWitt and I spent New Years morning beginning our year lists.  Susan Herrick joined us this year.

Pere Marquette Park provided my first 11 species, none of them unusual.  "Winnetaska Lake" on the Nugent Sand property added 9 more including Gadwall, Redhead, Greater Scaup, Common and Red-breasted Merganser and Double-crested Cormorant.

The Wastewater provided 11 new species including three woodpeckers (Downy, Hairy and Red-bellied), Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Snow Bunting and Snow Goose (probably the same two as Saturday among the Canada Geese).

That would be 31 species on opening day for anyone who was counting.

- Ric

Monday, December 31, 2018

Great Black-backed Gulls at Grand Haven

Great Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls

I went to the Grand Haven north pier to check for ducks.  Nothing new.  What I did find was 15 Great Black-backed Gulls, 12 adult and 3 immature.  This is the most I have seen at one time on the pier.  The picture has 7 adult and 1 immature, plus some Herring Gulls.

- Charlie DeWitt

Winter Birds and HAPPY NEW YEAR !

December 30 Email:

Hi Ric:

I just thought I would pass along some bird pics from the Wastewater from the end of this week.  They are Snow Buntings bathing (and drying), Common Redpolls, and a Gadwall.    

Happy New Year!

- Kevin Feenstra 

Thanks for the photos, Kevin.  I was out there Saturday morning with my son and grandson looking unsuccessfully for an owl.  We did see a large flock of Common Redpolls and two Snow Geese among hundreds of Canada Geese.


- Ric

Monday, December 24, 2018

Golden Eagle and MERRY CHRISTMAS !

Judy Fleener had Brian Bialik send me these excellent pictures of a Golden Eagle he photographed last Wednesday at the Wastewater- Ric


Video of Redpolls Last Wednesday

Carol Cooper sent this iPhone video of Common Redpolls along the center dike December 19, the day of the Wastewater Christmas Bird Count.  I finally figured how to post it.  - Ric

Thursday, December 20, 2018

An Interesting Local Sighting

Yesterday one of the groups conducting the Muskegon Wastewater Christmas Bird Count reported a Eurasian Collared-Dove west of Ravenna along Heights-Ravenna Road.

- Ric

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Monday at the Wastewater

 Bald Eagle

 Snow Geese

Red-tailed Hawk 

I had a chance to visit the Muskegon County Wastewater on Monday.  Not a lot going on bird wise, but it was a nice day to be birding.

- Charlie DeWitt

Monday, December 10, 2018

Wisdom Lays Another Egg at 68

December 9 Email from Ken Cook (who presented our October program) with information intended for some of our club members.  - Ric

I was thinking that some folks in your club may find the attached of interest.  Feel free to pass on as appropriate.  I had the privilege of taking this photo of Wisdom when I was at Midway Island a few years ago.

While it is not ultimately known for sure how long any Laysan Albatross lives, this particular documented one is now at least 68 years old.  As of 2018, it is claimed to be the oldest known banded bird released into the wild.

I can tell you that when I was there, all of the biologists knew where this bird was, and always kept an eye on it.  It was a continuing topic of conversation.

The attached (click here to read) appeared in recent news releases to indicate the egg-laying a couple of weeks ago.  To me these type of surprises are what makes taking photos such as this so interesting and enjoyable.


- Ken Cook

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Short-eared Owl Friday in Ottawa County

Thanks to Ken Sapkowski for informing us that Carl and Judi Manning watched a Short-eared Owl late yesterday morning (!) on a field east of 128th Street south of Bingham (a couple miles southeast of Hemlock Crossing park in Ottawa County).  Even if you don't try to see the bird, click here to see Judi's many beautiful photographs!

- Ric

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Soft and Hard Birds at Pere Marquette Park

 Purple Sandpiper

 Long-tailed Duck

Carryliteus Plasticus 

On Tuesday I went to the Muskegon south pier looking for the Purple Sandpiper (posted below) and I found it!  That's #212 for the year.  There were also 3 Long-tailed Ducks.

On the way back to my truck I noticed a duck along the shore in some brush, just past the high water mark.  After a long slow approach, I was able to get close enough to grab it.  When I got it in my hand, it was very docile.   It must have been a captive at one time because there was a length of string on it.  Upon closer inspection, I found it to be a Carryliteus Plasticus.  When I turned it over, there was the unmistakable sound of BB's rattling inside.  So I thought the only humane thing to do was bring it home.

(Carryliteus Plasticus originates in Italy.  It comes in many colors and shapes and imitates most North American waterfowl.  It starts to be seen on lakes and ponds in the U.S. around mid-September until late November.  It can be seen in flocks as small as six and as large as dozens, oftentimes near boats.)

- Charlie DeWitt