Monday, April 14, 2014

While the Power Was Out

On Saturday morning I led ten people from Nik Kalejs' DNR field trip around the Wastewater properties.  On Saturday afternoon my power went out until Sunday night.  In the meantime Dan Lockard emailed two sets of photos from the Wastewater and Muskegon State Game Area.

For the field trip we recorded 32 species in two hours including three "Eastern's" (Bluebird, Meadowlark and Phoebe), Canvasback, Redhead, American Wigeon, Bufflehead, Bonaparte's Gull, Horned Grebe, Ruddy Duck, Gadwall, Tree Swallow, Red-tailed Hawk, Belted Kingfisher and Field Sparrow.

- Ric

Dan's Saturday sightings: Great Horned Owl, Pied-billed Grebe and Redhead.

Dan's Sunday sightings: Great Horned Owl, Muskrat and Turtles.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Harlequin Duck at White Lake Sunday

I saw this male Harlequin Duck at the extreme southeastern end of White Lake on Sunday morning, 4/13/14.

Mike Boston

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Four Reports About Birds This Week

April 9 Email Reports:

Jack Blanshine sends two photos of Bonaparte's Gulls from the twenty off Whitehall Marina Wednesday afternoon.

Mike Boston sends a photo of three swans (presumably Tundra Swans) flying over the fields northwest of the Musketawa Trail and Swanson Road intersection.

David Janetski saw a Short-eared Owl at the Wastewater well before dark on Monday, April 7.  We tried for it last night with no success.  - Ken Sapkowski

I saw what I believe were two Great Egrets at McGraft Park today.  No camera with me but they were on the far side of the pond across from the park.  - Rick Hamlin

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Ruddy Ducks on Little Black Lake

At the bridge on Wood Road there were 6 Ruddy Ducks plus Common Loon, Canvasback, Greater Scaup, Bufflehead and Mallard.  Little Black Lake is ice free, so the west side of the lake would be a better place to scope the whole lake.

- Charlie DeWitt

Monday, April 7, 2014

Name That Goose

April 7 Email:

Ric, I went to the bike path and Swanson this afternoon.  I saw all but the Great White Fronted and this strange goose.  Sibley's new second edition has it as a Domestic Graylag & Swan Goose hybrid. Anybody have any other ideas?

Phil Willemstein

Phil, "Farmus Domesticus" is always a good guess.  We'll see what others say. - Ric

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Waterfowl West of Ravenna

They were too far away for any decent photos, but the partially flooded fields west of Swanson Road at the Musketawa Trail were hosting Tundra Swans, Greater White-fronted Geese, Northern Pintail, American Wigeon and Green-winged Teal, as well as thousands of Canada Geese today.

- Mike Boston

Cackling Geese and Snowy Owl

April 4 Email:

Ric, I don't know if you want to post these pictures because they are a little old.  I will not be taking any more pictures for six to eight weeks because of my shoulder surgery.  The Cackling Geese look like hutchinsii in the Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America, page 12. 

Charlie DeWitt

Charlie, I hope your rotator cuff heals properly and you can get back out in the field soon.  Why don't you send other photos like these occasionally and we'll post them even if they're not "recent".  Posting your Snowy Owl also gives me the opportunity to lift the moratorium on posting that species here.  It seemed that there were far fewer of them on the Wastewater properties this season than the year of the mis-behaving bird-chasers.  By now most should be heading back to their breeding grounds (the owls, not the chasers).  - Ric

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Horned Grebes at MCNC Today

April 1 Email:

This morning Carol Cooper emails this photo of two Horned Grebes in the Muskegon River at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Signs of Spring

On Sunday I had a Tree Swallow at the Muskegon County Wastewater; today Eastern Phoebe, Wood Ducks and Hooded Mergansers at the yellow gate at the Muskegon State Game Area headquarters building. I checked Little Black Lake at the bridge on Wood Road and had one Blue-winged Teal.

- Charlie DeWitt

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Bobcat at MSGA

Although similar to last year in timing, early spring arrivals have obviously been a few weeks behind longer-term normals. At last, various blackbirds, Robins, Song Sparrows, Sandhill Cranes, Killdeer, Woodcock, and assorted waterfowl are appearing in decent numbers. However, my most interesting encounter in the last couple days has been of the furry kind. While hiking the Muskegon State Game Area on March 28, I was fortunate to spot this Bobcat before it saw me.

Brian Johnson

Cranes and Shrike at WW Saturday

Dan Lockard sends these photos of Sandhill Cranes and the Northern Shrike on the Wastewater properties yesterday.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

28 Species But No Rusties at SGA

I birded along the Maple River beyond State Game Area headquarters again this morning hoping for Rusty Blackbirds.  Found none, but the area was full of bird life, and despite temps in the mid-thirties with lotsa snow still on the ground, the morning had a spring feel to it.

Many of the Dark-eyed Juncos and American Tree Sparrows were singing and five of the 28 species were new for me this year (no laughing, please):  Wood Duck, Turkey Vulture, Red-shouldered Hawk, Sandhill Crane and Song Sparrow.

- Ric


4 Canada Goose
4 Wood Duck
2 Gadwall
25 Mallard
38 Wild Turkey
1 Turkey Vulture
1 Red-shouldered Hawk
1 Sandhill Crane
3 gull sp.
1 Mourning Dove
4 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Hairy Woodpecker
1 Pileated Woodpecker
12 Blue Jay
7 American Crow
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Tufted Titmouse
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
5 American Robin
5 European Starling
24 American Tree Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
15 Dark-eyed Junco
8 Northern Cardinal
60 Red-winged Blackbird
3 Common Grackle
3 House Sparrow

Monday, March 24, 2014

Female American Kestrel

March 23 Email:

An American Kestrel female from the Muskegon Wastewater today. - Sherri Lockard

Friday, March 21, 2014

You Don't See This Everyday

March 20 Email:

Somebody is stockpiling food at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve; this scaup was left on top of a broken dead tree.  - Carol Cooper

Carol, thanks for the interesting photo.  If anyone suspects a particular raptor or other predator or has opinions about this, please leave a comment.  Thanks!  - Ric

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Merganser on Mona Lake

March 18 Email:

I saw this Red-breasted Merganser in Mona Lake by the Lake Harbor Bridge.Tom Bancuk