Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Usual Subjects at Grand Haven Today


I walked Hofma Preserve and Harbor Island this morning not seeing a lot of birds at either location.  From the 26 species at the preserve, here's a Swamp Sparrow and an Eastern Phoebe:



From the 21 species at the island, a Cliff Swallow and a Song Sparrow:



- Ric

Friday, July 24, 2015

Pileated Woodpecker


July 23 Email:


Today I got a brand new lens for my camera and within a couple hours, look who showed up.  There was a female with him, but I wasn't able to capture a picture of her.  I'm glad to see a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers flying around my house.  Casey Irwin

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Red-tailed Hawks


Casey Irwin confirmed the species of his hawk (see previous post) by taking a walk in the nearby woods, photographing two Red-tailed Hawks (including this nice picture), and even finding their nest!


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Monday Hawk and Cicada Photos


July 20 Emails:

 I caught a quick picture of this hawk before it took off out into a field next to my driveway. - Casey Irwin


Just a shell of its former self, a freshly-minted Cicada for your viewing pleasure drying out on my fence. - Mike VanderStelt


Sunday, July 19, 2015

26 Species Plus Storm on July 18 Field Trip


Nine of us birded the Allegan State Game Area yesterday recording 26 bird species.  Details and photos posted on our homepage.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Richards to Causeway to Nature Preserve


What a beautiful, cool, slightly breezy morning!  I birded Richard's Park, Veteran's Memorial Causeway and the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve recording 23, 11, and 23 bird species respectively, none unusual.  Robins, starlings, blackbirds and Barn Swallows were plentiful.

Enjoyed seeing a Warbling Vireo fledgling still sporting its "bad hair day" feathers and this Eastern Kingbird atop a tree with another (possibly an offspring?) further down in the foliage at Richard's Park.


Two Sandhill Cranes flew over the south end of the Causeway; no sign of the Peregrines on the Cobb Plant rooftop nest box.

This Swamp Sparrow flew to the preserve's boardwalk railing while I was trying to "pish" a Marsh Wren into view.  The wren kept singing beside the boardwalk but never showed itself.


- Ric

Monday, July 13, 2015

Monday Email Questions and Answers


July 13 "Least Tern Sighting?" Email:


I captured this photo on a cellphone (unfortunately the only camera on board) about one mile west of the south pier in Grand Haven.  Is this bird common to the area?

- DeeAnn Fayette

Thanks for the picture, DeeAnn.  I think these are Forster's Terns but will be interested in comments from others.  - Ric

July 13 "MCNC Website Sandpiper Question" Email:

 I noted your post from the evening of 13 June, titled, “Wastewater Birds Friday and Saturday,” which included a photo of three sandpipers and the question, “Can anyone ID these?”  The three are a White-rumped Sandpiper (rightmost bird) and two Semipalmated Sandpipers, and those two species are among the most expected shorebirds in early June.

- Phil Chu

Friday, July 10, 2015

Scarlet Tanager: How Old?


July 9 Email:

I spotted this beauty in the woods behind my house north of Ravenna.  I spent about 15 minutes watching it preen itself.  I don't recall seeing one around my house in probably close to 4 or 5 years. 

Thanks!
Casey Irwin



Thanks for the photo, Casey.  The plumage might allow someone who knows molt patterns to age this bird.  It's obviously a male Scarlet Tanager but not as splotchy as I'd imagine a first-year male to be.  Maybe older tanagers also get this scruffy appearance when they molt?  Thoughts, anyone?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Broad-winged Hawk Nest and Family


This year the Broad-winged Hawks built their nest ridiculously close to our street.  I didn't want to publicize it until the hatchlings departed.  This week the nest seems to be abandoned, although somebody slept up there Monday night.

Besides chipmunks, the two parents snatched many young robins from our neighborhood.  They successfully raised one youngster, and two if the fledgling with the "Nike swath" under its eye (last photo) is not the same fledgling as in the other two photos.

 June 6: Mom on nest.
.
June 17: First fledgling visible.

June 18:  Three chicks on the nest.  (Photo by Roger Newell)

June 29:  Hatchling growing its juvenile feathers.

July 4:  First fledgling, side view.

July 4:  First fledgling, back view.

July 7:  Wet fledgling, perhaps Baby One, perhaps Baby Two.

The hawks are still calling regularly, but without the high snag branches of the white oak removed from our backyard last fall, we won't see this year's youngster/s as often as we saw the two last summer.

- Ric

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Avocet and Dowitchers at The Dubs Today


July 5 Email:

Hey, Ric, if you haven't yet gotten any pics from the many better photographers out there, then here's some of the American Avocet and Short-billed Dowitchers at The Dubs (Wastewater) this afternoon.  ~ Phil Vreeman



Thanks, Phil!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Avocet Still Here 4th of July


July 4 to Mich-listers:

The American Avocet previously reported at the Muskegon Wastewater
continues this morning as of 8:00 am.  Same location, middle drainage cell.  Also, 2 Lesser Yellowlegs were present.

Good birding,

Kevin Vande Vusse

Monday, June 29, 2015

Sapsuckers & Avocet but No Scoter


Excerpts from Monday June 29 Email:

... By the way, today I bumped into two, or maybe three, yellow-bellied sapsuckers down fairly close to the end of Brickyard Road (about 150 yards north of the bridge over Little Cedar Creek), on the north side of the Muskegon River in the Muskegon State Game Area.  This is a mile away from the place where Brian Johnson had seen a sapsucker about four Junes ago.

Also by the way, I went from the State Game Area to the Wastewater, where the American avocet is still present, and where I finally happened upon the Eared Grebes; I couldn't find the scoter, though, and that's despite stopping and scoping a couple of times on each side of the lagoons -- I'm starting to think that it's really gone. 

- Phil Chu

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Lake Harbor and Black Lake on Saturday


I walked around Lake Harbor Park after breakfast this morning.  Not surprisingly, it was quieter birdwise and busier peoplewise than a month ago.

The "best" bird was a small tern flying south over the beach.  Its upper primaries were very light so I took it as a Forster's Tern (unfortunately, because it's the Common I need for Michigan this year).  

Others among 18 species were this Herring Gull asking for its portrait on the north channel light,


a Belted Kingfisher, lots of Bank Swallows (this juvenile on a cable along the south side of the channel),


and a Northern Cardinal singing atop a high snag, then dropping toward another male in the trees below.



Later at Black Lake Park there were 22 bird species including Great Blue Heron, Great Crested Flycatcher, Warbling & Red-eyed Vireos, Eastern Bluebird, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, Indigo Bunting and Baltimore Oriole.

I'm assuming these two dragonflies on the field near the entrance are common species.  Thanks to anyone (Charlie? Greg?) who I.D.'s them in the comments below.



- Ric

Friday, June 26, 2015

Kitchell/Lindquist Friday Morning


Chip Francke's and the Mannings' new Ottawa County bird book (posted May 23 on our home page) says on page 19 that Pine Warblers are resident at Kitchel/Lindquist Dunes Preserve, so I birded there this morning in hopes of finding one.  No luck; all songs like theirs in the pine trees were being sung by Chipping Sparrows.

Nevertheless, I still had a pleasant walk and found 33 species including American Kestrel, Great Crested Flycatcher, Purple Martin, Brown Thrasher, Cedar Waxwing, Eastern Towhee, and a photographable American Redstart and Yellow Warbler.



- Ric

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tuesday Morning on the WW Grasslands


Five of us birded the Wastewater fields north and south of Apple this morning before meeting to discuss next year's field trips.  We counted 45 bird species including Dickcissel ,


Green Heron, Sandhill Crane, Spotted and Upland Sandpipers, Yellow-throated, Red-eyed and Warbling Vireos, Northern Rough-winged, Tree, Bank, Barn and Cliff Swallows, Chipping, Field, Vesper, Grasshopper and Song Sparrows, Bobolink, Red-winged and Brewer's Blackbirds, plus Baltimore and Orchard Orioles (two nesting pairs of the latter).

- Ric