Sunday, July 14, 2019

The Latest on "Rambi"

Mike VanderStelt's Mourning Dove (see the Wednesday posts below) has a name.  Becky first started calling it "Rambo" because of its toughness and then Mike combined that with "Bambi".

Rambi still visits everyday.  In fact yesterday morning when Mike set down his cappuccino before finding his seat, he found Rambi already sitting in it.

But the bird has found the roost of the local Mourning Doves in the woods across the road and now sleeps at night there with them.  

Mike has read that Mourning Dove youngsters flick their wings to tell their parents they want food ... 

... if so, the voice in this video is Rambi's parent.

Northside Birding Saturday Morning

I had planned to spend the morning at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve, but high water prevented that.  Only the northwest corner was accessible so only an hour was needed.  Birds were plentiful.  I found 16 species, none unusual, the "best" probably a Green Heron.

I also met a man who showed me a blurry cell phone photo of what he thought might be a Northern Goshawk taken recently on marsh habitat near River Road.  From the picture and his description of its size compared with the crows harrassing it, I think he I.D.'d it correctly.  If so, a very good species this far south in the summertime!

I spent the rest of the morning walking around Snug Harbor.  This Common Yellowthroat sang from the woods north of the walking planks on the new section of the Lost Lake Trail.  

Other birds among the 24 species included Alder and Great Crested Flycatcher, Indigo Bunting, lots of Eastern Bluebirds, and a pair of Red-headed Woodpeckers (my 170th year species if I were counting) near the boat launch parking lot.

- Ric

Friday Plover Update

Bad news.  Carol Cooper reports that as of late last week the Piping Plovers have not been seen at Muskegon State Park.  The three babies disappeared, Dad stuck around for awhile, but now he's gone too.

There is one silver lining: Back when the mother plover disappeared, three of the four eggs had hatched and the father was spending his time caring for the fledglings rather than sitting on the last egg.  So the authorities took that egg to the biological research station where it hatched successfully.  The plan to bring that fledgling back here to grow up with its family is no longer possible, so that youngster will be taken to another site further north and left in the care of plovers currently raising their own youngsters.

- Ric

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Can You Identify This Baby?

On June 20 Mike VanderStelt emailed this photo of a baby bird he found out of its nest in his yard.  We didn't know what it was at that time.  You might try guessing before reading further.

At first Mike left the bird alone and hoped its parents would keep caring for it.  When it became apparent that wasn't going to work, Mike stepped in, saved it's life, and -- you may read his update below.

- Ric

A Member of the Family

June 9 Email Update (see post above):

It's eating seed and drinking its own water now and seems to forage in the yard very well.  I got a cage for it when it was still too young so it could learn how to jump across the poles and balance itself well along with building its wing strength a little bit.  Also, it helped the baby transition to eating solid foods.  It stays out all day and night and will usually show up in the morning, so I set it in the cage with the door wide open just so it can get a good drink and maybe have some breakfast.  It will do that, then sit and relax for a bit, then go on its way again.  Not the perfect classical bird life, but it is alive and seems to be enjoying itself.  It is also interacting with the other Mourning Doves, as they are with it.  Hopefully it will totally transition and fly off with them, but if this is its life, I am willing to put in the "work".  - Mike

Mike's Mourning Dove

Sunday, June 30, 2019

At My Pond

While this American Robin was trying to get breakfast ...

... a family of Tree Swallows was doing the same.

But why catch your own ...

 ... when Mom will shove a dragonfly down your throat?


Don Neumann

High Water Saturday Morning

A huge bucket-loader was filling the 3rd St. and Coho Dr. intersection on Harbor Island yesterday morning where water had been over the pavement.  This mama Mallard hid on high water in the woods away from the marsh:

All 23 bird species were common including Willow Flycatcher, Cedar Waxwing, and this female Red-winged Blackbird clucking to her kids that she had a treat:

At the Hofma Preserve I found 18 species during an abbreviated stay.  (Not wearing waders, I didn't make it to the marsh boadwalk.):

Eighteen woodland species included Wood Duck (a female squeaking repeatedly), Veery and Rose-breasted Grosbeak; nothing remarkable except a beautiful morning walk!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Plover Update

Carol Cooper reports that the fourth Piping Plover egg was taken to the University of Michigan Biological Station Sunday night and hatched successfully on Monday.  The remaining three chicks at the state park were still doing fine as of last night under the care of their dad.  Unfortunately still no sign of their mom.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Plover Update

Carol Cooper reports today that the young female of the pair of Piping Plovers at the state park has disappeared, but so far the male (8-years old who was also the male last year) seems to be tending to the family (two chicks already).  Carol says it's possible the plover authorities may have to come in and take the chicks, but so far that hasn't been necessary.

Roger Newell's Report and Photos

Roger Newell grew up near the south Wastewater properties.  He lives in Florida now and is active in large-bird rehabilitation.  On his annual trips back up here we usually find a day to bird together (see May 30 post below).  He also visits other parts of Michigan on his trips.  On Friday he emailed:

Hi Ric,

In spite of the rain and high water, I was able to tie my record for most species on one of my trips (124).  I got 2 Michigan Life birds (American White Pelican and Black-and-White Warbler) and 4 LIFE BIRDS (glimpse of a Virginia Rail at Hofma Preserve), Evening Grosbeak at Hartwick Pines State Park, Clay-colored Sparrow near Gaylord, and finally a Kirtland's Warbler near Gaylord).  I was also able to see and get a lousy picture of a male Ruffed Grouse at Lanes Landing (saw one on two different days).  Will send some pictures later.  Thanks again for birding with me. 

Rog Newell

Yesterday he sent many of his photos, several of which are posted below.  Most were taken around here.  Enjoy!

- Ric

Red-necked Phalarope

Magnolia Warbler

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Hermit Thrush

Eared Grebes

Black-billed Cuckoo



Cross-billed Bald Eagle at Pentwater

Yellow-throated Vireo

Quick shot of Ruffed Grouse on the Lane's Landing road.

Clay-colored Sparrow at Gaylord

Kirtland's Warbler near Hartwick Pines State Park

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Beautiful Morning: The Usual Suspects

"Just" a Grasshopper Sparrow

Hoping for a Year Bird, I walked along a field on the south Wastewater properties this morning.  When a sparrow popped into sight, I thought it might be #170.  No such luck.  "Just" a Grasshopper Sparrow.  I also counted Warbling Vireo, Indigo Bunting, Horned Lark, Eastern Meadowlark, Upland Sandpiper and Eastern Kingbird among the 21 species.

Then I drove out to Patterson Park for a beautiful stroll along Rio Grande CreekEighteen bird species included Wood Thrush, Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Eastern Phoebe (of course), and American Redstart.

- Ric

Friday, June 14, 2019

Three Unrelated Items from Thursday

1.  Regarding "Miscellaneous Stuff from Friday" posted below, here is a photo from yesterday (6/13/19) of one of the Peregrine Falcon chicks wearing Nik's jewelry:

2.  Carol Cooper emailed an appropriate way to watch the Piping Plovers:  "We are having a tent set up near the plover nesting area with info, and a scope for viewing.  Stickers will be available.  Just on the weekends, but we are watching as much as possible." 

3.  Ken Sapkowski emailed that there's a report on eBird of a Henslow's Sparrow at the Wastewater.

- Ric

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Miscellaneous Stuff from Friday

Carl England from Chicago accompanied me to a few birding areas on Friday morning.  At DNR headquarters we happened to see Nik Kalejs who was planning to band the Peregrine Falcon chicks at the Harbor Island box later that day.  Below is an image from the webcam of the two chicks (bird on left partially covering bird on right).  Click here to watch them live.  (When they stand, you can sometimes see their new jewelry.)

This mama Snapping Turtle was laying eggs near Nik's office.

Later Carl and I birded Lane's Landing and the Wastewater properties.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  Eastern Kingbirds were again nesting in the "Kingbird Tree" (Laketon at Seba south of Apple Ave.) and an Orchard Oriole perched in the tree briefly.  

Carl took pictures.  If he sends some, we'll post them here.

- Ric

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Wet Cool Birding This Morning

Great Blue Heron at the preserve.

Rog Newell and I wore jackets and dodged raindrops while birding two locations this morning.  All 32 species at Black Lake and 31 at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve were " the usual suspects".

Black Lake species included Sandhill Crane, Belted Kingfisher, Eastern Wood-pewee, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Veery, American Redstart, Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Indigo Bunting.

MLNP provided Great Egret, Green Heron, Bald Eagle, Tree and Barn Swallows, and Baltimore Oriole

- Ric