Saturday, November 15, 2014

Short-eared Owl at the Wastewater

Carol and I birded the Wastewater south of Apple Ave. looking for the Short-eared Owl.  At 5:31 p.m. we saw one owl west of the model airplane field.  It was only there for a minute or two, then headed east over Swanson Rd. and was gone.

- Charlie DeWitt

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pine Siskins

Just had my first Pine Siskins in a couple of years at my backyard feeder.

- Mike Boston

Same with Carol and me.  None since winter before last, but as many as four at a time on our feeders today.  Here are pictures through our back and side windows of Pine Siskins, American Goldfinch and House Finch.


- Ric

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Fall Waterbird Highlights

In order to gain a better understanding of the diversity, timing, and magnitude of the waterbird migration over Lake Michigan, I have been conducting fixed-position watches from Muskegon County beaches for the past five years. So far this fall, beginning September 7, I have conducted 21 such surveys.

When the phenology and weather are favorable, the numbers of passing birds can be most impressive. Such was the case yesterday (November 6), when I tallied 387 southbound Common Loons at Hoffmaster State Park. The flight, which continued for at least three hours, was so strong that I counted as many as 27 loons during a single minute. The total easily established a new daily record for the lake watch.

Other highlights this season include:

267 Gadwall on October 25
31 Black Scoters on October 24
120 Bufflehead on November 6
1,167 Double-crested Cormorants on September 28
135 Bonaparte's Gulls on October 16
1 jaeger on October 17
first Great Black-backed Gull on October 19

- Brian Johnson

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Peregrine Falcon Information

Don Neumann was able to get the following information about the Peregrine Falcon he posted below on October 26 (see also subsequent post and photo October 29).  Sorry about the formatting, but these are the vital statistics from the form that Mr. Anderson emailed to Don.  Anyone desiring the 24-page year end conservation report .pdf file please contact me.  - Ric

gender: F 
banded: 06/23/2014 
breeder: WPR 
bander: jsc
name: NIPSCO Schahfer Plant Wheatfield 
county: Jasper 
state: IN 
type: Smokestack
Don,  The above is the id of the falcon.  Interesting it was fledged from a power plant as we pioneered the falcon/power plant program starting in 1988 and wrote a manual on attracting and managing the peregrine at electric power plants.  Attached is a copy of our year end conservation report.    Bob Anderson

Birds at Wastewater Last Weekend

November 4 Email:

"A few of the birds my husband and I saw while visiting over the weekend ..." Green-winged Teals, Merlin, Horned Grebe and Bald Eagle.

Terra & Shawn Berry

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Muskegon County Wastewater

Carol and I spent some time at the Muskegon County Wastewater today.  We had 6 Red-tailed Hawks, 4 Rough-legged Hawks (2 dark morph and 2 light morph) and this Greater Yellowlegs.  After seeing Mike's post below, I think I should have gone to Pere Marquette Park today!

- Charlie DeWitt

Purple Sandpiper at Pere Marquette

I saw this Purple Sandpiper at Pere Marquette Park on Saturday, 11/1/14.

- Mike Boston

North of the Muskegon Channel Saturday

At Muskegon State Park the winter gate was up east of the Channel parking lot.  I walked from there to Jeff's Dune for a little hawk-watching and then to the east end of the Fisherman's Campground and back seeing 14 bird species and one nicely-antlered White-tailed Deer.  It was a beautiful morning but cold, especially in the wind up on the dune.

Apparently migrating birds included 100 American Crows, 10 Tundra Swans and 2 Rough-legged Hawks.  A Red-tailed Hawk and immature Bald Eagle soared north of the dune.

There were several Dark-eyed Juncos and a few Golden-crowned Kinglets in the campground.  This one is in the process of taking off:

This American Tree Sparrow foraging along the road and in a tree below Jeff's Dune seemed to be hawk-watching as well.


- Ric

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Peregrine and Shrike at Wastewater Tuesday

Today on the Wastewater properties Jamie Krupka saw a young Peregrine Falcon near the west churning lagoon (see photographs in the posts below) and a Northern Shrike at the usual location, the tree line west of the maintenance building on Laketon west of Swanson.

Monday, October 27, 2014

More Sunday Wastewater Birds

October 27 Email:

My husband and I spent a couple hours yesterday bird watching at Muskegon Wastewater and we saw several Snow Buntings, 13 Tundra Swans, a Peregrine Falcon and a Greater Yellowlegs

- Terra and Shawn Berry


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Raptor Sunday at the Wastewater

Raptor Sunday:  Peregrine Falcon and leg bands, Northern Harrier and a Red-tailed Hawk.  Not pictured is the group of 20 or so Tundra Swans on the east lagoon. 

- Don Neumann

Monday, October 20, 2014

Three Recent Local Pictures

October 19 Email:

10/8/14 merganser sunning herself on the rocks in the Muskegon Channel-north side,
10/15/14 wood duck at the Bear Lake Channel-North Muskegon,
10/19/14 sanderling at Muskegon State Park

- Carol Cooper

Red-breasted Merganser, Wood Duck, Sanderling

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dark-Morph Hawk at Wastewater

I saw this hawk at the Wastewater Sunday, early afternoon, in the basins. Did not get a picture of it flying, though under the wings was very white. The bottom shot is from the Audubon website of a dark morph Swainson's Hawk. Could this be one also?

-  Don Neumann

Don's hawk could be a Swainson's this time of year, but a dark-morph Rough-legged Hawk would be more likely.  See more information in the comments. - Ric

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher at Ludington

October 15 Email:

Around 4:23 p.m. this afternoon Mark Wloch had just finished walking the south breakwater at Ludington Harbor. As he drove south on South Lakeshore Drive (a few hundred yards south of the harbor parking lot), he saw a long-tailed bird and pulled over to view it better. It was a gorgeous Scissor-tailed Flycatcher ! The bird appears to be an adult female, as the tail is not nearly as long as an adult male's tail.

Amazingly, this not only is the county's second STFL, but it occurred 39 years and one day after the first bird was found (October 14, 1975 by Gary Worton). This flycatcher breeds in the southern Great Plains, but there are records of at least 44 birds seen between 1962 and 2012 in Michigan. Mark is new to Mason County, but he is quickly discovering why I believe the area to be a birder's paradise in northwestern Michigan.

Congratulations, Mark !

Dave Dister

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

White-fronted Geese at Wastewater Today

I spent some time at the Muskegon County Wastewater today and found 2 Greater White-fronted Geese in the east lagoon.  They were mixed in with 1,000 or more Canada Geese.  In Cell B10, there were 200 Mallards, 7 Northern Pintails, 2 American Wigeon, 3 American Black Ducks and 5 Green-winged Teal.

I counted 20 Eastern Bluebirds on the power lines west of the west lagoon.  American Pipits were all over the Wastewater property.

Charlie DeWitt