Saturday, September 15, 2018

Birds, Bugs and a Game of Tag

Previewing next weekend's field trip I walked around some trails at Black Lake and Hoffmaster Parks this morning.

Sunlight filtering into the woods at Black Lake Park.

Black Lake was birdy (18 species including Cooper's and Red-shouldered Hawks, Belted Kingfisher and the usual backyard birds); Hoffmaster was not.  So long as I kept moving, bugs weren't bothersome, but stopping for even a second brought swarms of mosquitoes, some even landing on DEET-treated skin.  Hopefully there will be fewer next week.

At 9:45 on the Christmas tree field south of Judson east of Wood, a small group of American Crows harrassed and were harrassed by a large juvenile Cooper's Hawk.  All started on the ground, then flew after each just above the saplings, then landed, then flew up and chased again, several times for several minutes.  One of the crows crawked like a raven during these confrontations, and the hawk or one of the crows bill-clicked like an owl.  It was fun to watch! 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

White-fronted Geese at Wastewater Today

September 13 Email:

While birding at Wastewater today I found three Greater White-fronted Geese mixed in with many Canada Geese. They were on the west side of Swanson Road south of White Road. Got a picture of one of them.

- Jim Zervos

Monday, September 10, 2018

Buff-breasted Sandpipers on Sunday

September 9 Email:

Hi Ric,

No photos, but there were three Buff-breasted Sandpipers on the center dike today.

- Mike Boston

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Snug Harbor Walk

A cool breezy walk at Snug Harbor this morning produced 24 bird species, none unusual, but three that are more often heard than seen: Eastern Wood-pewee, Wood Thrush and Red-eyed Vireo.  I couldn't morph any of the several vireos into a Tennessee Warbler; the best warbler was a Magnolia.  

Other species included Pied-billed Grebe, Bald Eagle, Red-shouldered Hawk, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe and Common Yellowthroat.  A turkey apparently dropped this feather near the trail:

 - Ric

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Kevin's Recent Bird Photos

September 4 Email:

Hi Ric:

I thought I would pass along some recent bird pics to you. This is a heron eating a nightcrawler and a merlin from the wastewater from this morning. The osprey, goldfinch and red-headed woodpecker are from the Muskegon River during the last week.   

Have a great week! 

- Kevin Feenstra

American Goldfinch

Great Blue Heron


Red-headed Woodpecker


You too, Kevin.  Keep sending pictures like this whenever you want!  - Ric

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Buff-breasted Sandpiper All Weekend

Buff-breasted Sandpiper by the DeWitts

On Friday Rob Goff reported a Buff-breasted Sandpiper on the center dike at the Wastewater.

On Saturday afternoon Ken Sapkowski found it, on the center dike, about a 1/4 mile north from the south end.

This Sunday afternoon Carol and I found it again about where Ken said it would be.  It was feeding in the weeds next to the road.

- Charlie DeWitt

65 Species Sunday

September 2 Email:

Hey Ric,

I had 65 species at the Wastewater this morning -- was hoping maybe some more rarities may have been blown down by the thunderstorm.  Mostly usual suspects, while most summer species were gone already.  A few wonderful warblers east of Moorland on White (1 Cape May, 1 Palm, 2 Black-throated Green) close to where I often will find some.  Two Vesper Sparrows.  Several Eastern Meadowlarks and Eastern Kingbirds remain, and a good many waterfowl.  Highlight was a most-obliging cinnamon-chested Northern Harrier sitting, preening, dusting, stretching, alighting, hovering and soaring right in front of me.  Blessings be with you.  Sincerely, 

- Phil Vreeman

Juvenile Northern Harrier by Phil Vreeman

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Swallow-tailed Kite !

Dayle Vanderwier was driving west on Sternberg Road near Carr Road today when a Swallow-tailed Kite flew along parallel to his car for a short distance.  No way to chase a bird like that, but we might all keep our eyes open!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Over 50 Species on Today's Field Trip

Details about this morning's field trip to the Wastewater properties are posted on our homepage.  This evening Charlie DeWitt emailed:

This is one of the seven Great Egrets that I saw on White Rd today.  

Thanks, Charlie!  That's beautiful!

Friday, August 17, 2018

We Need a Butterfly Identification

Ric, can you ID this butterfly?  - Frank Aspey

No, I cannot, but I don't know butterflies.  Hopefully someone viewing this can I.D. it for you (either in the Comments below or in an email to me which I'll post here).  - Ric

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Nature Preserve Saturday Morning

Charlie (below) at least photographed one bird on his walk at Black Lake.  At the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve this morning I snapped none, despite seeing and hearing many (22 species).  I did shoot a butterfly near the southwest boardwalk and flowers near the northeast boardwalk:



- Ric

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Cardinal at Black Lake Park

Female Northern Cardinal

I went to Black Lake Park looking for dragonflies and this is what I found.  Some days you just have to settle for what shows up.

- Charlie DeWitt

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Thursday Morning at Black Lake

Birds and bugs were plentiful this morning at Black Lake.  I recorded 22 bird species including Great Blue Heron, Northern Flicker, Alder Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler and Indigo Bunting.

Dragonfly on a trail at Black Lake Park
(Thanks to Charlie DeWitt for identifying this as a
female Common Whitetail)

Viceroy Butterflies near the bridge. 

Monarch Butterfly along the creek.

Song Sparrow on a leaf in the meadow.

- Ric

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Loud Yard Birds This Morning

This Pileated Woodpecker preened his feathers and called from the telephone pole at the corner of our yard today.  A Northern Flicker kee-YEER'd from a tree nearby.  A loud duet.  It didn't sound like love.

- Ric

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Dragonfly / Damselfly Field Trip

I was part of Jerry Lang and Dave Dister's group of six this afternoon as they hunted dragonflies and damselflies at their first location, the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve.  Later the rest of the group visited Lost Lake and Black Lake.  Photos and a complete list of species recorded for the entire trip are posted on our homepage

I know nothing about these bugs, so the walk was reminiscent the 1980's with people like Tim Hicks and Margaret Drake Elliott naming birds from brief glimpses and distant sounds.  Today's guys were catching glimpses and checking books for bug names.  Hopefully I got the captions right for these pictures:

Blue Dasher

12-Spotted Skimmer

Eastern Pondhawk

( Charlie's photo is posted on our homepage. )

(Part of my mind was able to pay attention to the birds, so I counted 22 species on this walk around the preserve.  Of note were Common Yellowthroats singing their witchety-witcheties at half the normal pace and independent fly-overs by four closely-related cousins: Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Great Egret and Least Bittern!)

- Ric