At the bottom of this page find Zachary DeBruine's latest BirdTrax gadget listing all eBird sightings of the last two weeks within 15 miles of downtown Muskegon.
To see all the details in some of the pictures, right-click them. From the mini-list choose "Open link in new window". In that window click the picture for actual size, often too big to fit your monitor. Scroll around to appreciate all the details. Then click again to see the entire picture.
I added six new species to my Year List this morning from the Muskegon Channel to Lakeside Cemetary to the Five Lakes to the Wastewater.
Aside from the many Mallards and Common Goldeneyes near the channel, "better ducks" were Greater Scaup, Bufflehead, Common andRed-breasted Mergansers and one Long-tailed Duck near the inner red lighthouse by the Coast Guard station.
I couldn't find Carol's woodpecker (see post below) in three slow circles of Lakeside Cemetary, but I almost ran over five Wild Turkeys in Carr Road just beyond the Five Lakes.
No owls were visible at the Wastewater. Horned Larks fed here and there on the roads and fields. I saw four Bald Eagles (1 adult), a Red-tailed Hawk, two light-morph Rough-legged Hawks, an American Kestrel, dozens of American Crows (but no ravens) and a flock of ten Cedar Waxwings by the headquarters building.
Terra Berry from the Fremont area writes, "Yesterday my husband came upon a delightful surprise. A year ago we put up this box hoping to entice a kestrel, but we ended up with this beautiful lil Eastern Screech-Owl!".
She sent other photographs taken this month including this of two Ruffed Grouse.
Finally got some Pine Siskins at my feeder north of Ravenna! I was just talking to my mom about not seeing any and wishing some were at the feeder. Not 10 minutes later, one appears. There are at least 7 at my feeder now. New lifer for me!
I birded the Wastewater this morning looking for some stuff I hadn't seen yet this year. Despite its being pretty quiet (few birds, no humans), I did add four year species bringing my 2016 total to 38 (for anyone who's counting).
Absent were any owls, shrikes or longspurs. Present were 18 species including 2 light-morph Rough-legged Hawks, 50 American Tree Sparrows, 3 Horned Larks, a female American Kestrel, 2 Common Ravens (along Swanson east of the East Lagoon) and 4 Snow Buntings (a half mile north of the ravens).
After I close the banding station at
the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve (usually in late November), I
switch to netting in my Norton Shores backyard as acceptable weather
and free time allow. Over the last five winters, the most common
species have been Dark-eyed Junco (468), American Goldfinch (195),
Northern Cardinal (59), Black-capped Chickadee (49), and House Finch
(33). A few surprises sometimes occur (such as a Chipping Sparrow
captured during February 2014), and overall, winter banding has
yielded 19 species. This compares favorably to my average annual
contribution of 16 species to the Great Backyard Bird Count.
Six species of neighborhood raptors
(Sharp-shinned, Cooper's, Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks,
Merlin, and Great Horned Owls) put some pressure on the local birds,
but mammalian predators, including cats, are fortunately much less
common. However, this coyote examining the feeders on January 9
demonstrates that surprises are not limited to birds.
The smallest, but the most cold-hardy
of the spotted thrushes in Michigan, the Hermit Thrushoccurs chiefly
during migration in Muskegon County. Based on captures from the fall
banding station, the first birds appear during the last week of September,
peak passage averages October 11, and most stragglers depart during
the first week of November. However, some Hermit Thrushes breed in
Muskegon County on conifer-dominated tracts within the Manistee
National Forest. Moreover, while the species is not a regular winter
resident, individuals may be found during even the worst winters, as long
as sufficient stocks of berries persist (both native and exotic
species are consumed). I have encountered solitary birds for the last
three years, but this individual (on January 6) was the first for
Black Lake Park. Its retained greater coverts indicate that it
hatched last summer.
Two Weeks of Sightings Within 15 Miles of Muskegon
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