Friday, August 31, 2012

Nighthawks, Swifts, Dragonflies and Field Trips

There were dragonflies and other insects above my house tonight and for a half hour at least three Common Nighthawks and at least eight Chimney Swifts veered around up there catching them.

And while I'm not on the subject, we've posted our Field Trip and Programs schedules on the homepage.

- Ric

Monday, August 27, 2012

Golden-Plover & Red-Necked Phalarope at WW

August 26 Email:

Hi Ric,

Shirley and I were at the Wastewater yesterday and today. The shorebirds have been superb.  The highlight yesterday was a single American Golden-Plover.  Today's was even better if possible; a Red-necked Phalarope.  I have included a picture of each.  I have them on my Flickr site as well:

Thanks, Rich Schadle

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday Birds at the WW

August 25 Email:

Wastewater birds today.  Please see attached.

Dan Lockard

Thanks, Dan.  I'm ID-ing your birds as Green Heron, Red-tailed Hawk (young, no red tail), Killdeer, Lesser Yellowlegs, Short-billed Dowitcher, Northern Shoveler and Great Blue Heron; others may chime in.  - Ric

24 Bird Species, No Homo Sapiens

Jerry Lang and I met at the Gillette Nature Center this morning to lead people on a "Family Birding Sarturday" walk around Hoffmaster State Park.  Nobody else showed up for the official walk.

So we walked a trail that Ted Ogren had told me about earlier this week and then meandered back to the Bob Moblo Memorial Pond behind the nature center where we observed several migrating warblers and were able to identify seven.

- Ric

Hoffmaster State Park, Muskegon, US-MI
Aug 25, 2012 6:30 AM - 9:50 AM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 mile(s)
Comments: Family Birding Saturday with Jerry Lang
24 species

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  12
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  3
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)  2
Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)  1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  1
Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)  1
Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens)  2
Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus)  2
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  2
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  3
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  5
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)  1
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  2
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  2
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)  3
Tennessee Warbler (Oreothlypis peregrina)  1
American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)  2
Chestnut-sided Warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica)  1
Black-throated Blue Warbler (Setophaga caerulescens)  1
Palm Warbler (Setophaga palmarum)  1
Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)  1
Wilson's Warbler (Cardellina pusilla)  1
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)  3
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  6

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

Friday, August 24, 2012

Can Anyone ID Either of These Birds?

August 23 Email:

Hi Ric,

My wife and I had a wonderful day at the Wastewater plant. There were about  fifteen Sandhill Cranes in the field to the east of the model airplane area and a lot of shore birds.

I photographed two birds that I need help identifying if you don't mind.  I think the one is a Short- or Long-billed Dowitcher but I'm not sure. The other is a small brownish gull, possibly an immature.  It was smaller than either the Ring-Billed and the Herring Gulls and it was the only one of its type out of several hundred gulls on the shore line.   Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Rich Schadle  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Eared Grebes at WW August 21

August 23 Email:

Below is a copy of the post I made to the UmichBirders listserv on Tuesday evening.  Now that I've found the recent sighting page of the MCNC blog, I figured that I ought to pass it along.

"My work took me to the far side of the state today.  A quick spin through the Muskegon Wastewater facility yielded three Eared Grebes in adult (breeding) plumage this morning.  They were paddling southbound from the north dike of the east storage lagoon.  There were goodly numbers of shorebirds, Lesser Yellowlegs being the most prominent.  A few Short-billed Dowitchers were also peppered into the small flocks of Killdeer, Spotted and 'Peep' Sandpipers.  Swallows and Northern Shovelers were ubiquitous."

Dan Sparks-Jackson
Chelsea, MI

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Birding Muskegon County Saturday

August 18 Email:

We birded Muskegon County today.  At Muskegon State Park we had a few fall migrants start to pass through the area including Blackpoll Warbler, Wilson's Warbler and Bobolink

At Muskegon Wasterwater we had migrant Dickcissel flyby, several juvenile Black-crowned Night-herons, a Whimbrel (along the north dike of the west lagoon), a Ruddy Turnstone (also along the north dike of the west lagoon), 11 Red-necked Phalaropes about 300m off of the north dike of the west lagoon, the usual shorebird suspects (Least, Spotted, Pectoral, Baird's and Semipalmated Sandpiper, Killdeer, Lesser Yellowlegs), and we also had a 1st fall or non-breeding plumaged Eared Grebe in the west lagoon as well.

Good birding,

Jonathan and Michael Lautenbach and Alison Vilag.

Attached is a picture of the Whimbrel.


Mona Lake Redtail

Theron Wierenga of Mona Shores sends these photos of a Red-tailed Hawk that frequents his neighbor's yard along Mona Lake near the Henry Street bridge.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Few Oddities in My Backyard

I got a shot of this Chipping Sparrow feeding an immature Brown-headed Cowbird yesterday, and after conferring with Feller DeWitt, (local Genius) he explained to me that Cowbirds will often lay eggs in Chipping Sparrows nests, and when they hatch, the Sparrows will unwittingly raise them as their own! (Does that mean the Cowbirds are "deadbeats" or the Chipping Sparrows are "saps" -- or both) in any event, it was interesting.

Also, out of the blue, about a week and a half ago, my typical 3 to 4 Ruby-Throated Hummingbird daily visits, turned into 10 to 20 at a time around the feeder! They're constant from dawn to dusk, and will empty my 32oz. feeder (filled to the brim) in a little over two days. Going by the gauge on the feeder, it's saying I'm feeding more than 30 birds. Here's a video of the feeder activity; the ones actually "at" the feeder are just a portion; the rest are in the trees, etc. around the yard. (Please excuse the quality; YouTube would only record 31seconds at "high-def." so I went to 640 x 380 to get a longer version. I'll fix the problem for your future cinematic pleasures. ;)
Mike VanderStelt

Monday, August 6, 2012

Thanks Phil!

Ruddy Turnstone
photo by Carol DeWitt

Carol and I went to the Muskegon County Wastewater on Sun Aug. 5 and found the Ruddy Turnstone that was reported on Aug 4 (below).  It was in the northwest corner of the West Lagoon.
This is number 222 for Michigan for the year.  This number is only important to me and three other people; you know who you are.  As Paul Harvey used to say "Over my shoulder a backwards glance." ;-)

Charlie DeWitt

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Saturday at the Wastewater

Today at Muskegon Wastewater we had one Ruddy Turnstone (Phil's photo below) along the north shore of the West Lagoon. There were good numbers of Killdeer, Lesser Yellowlegs, Least, Semipalmated, Pectoral and Baird's Sandpipers. We also had one White-rumped Sandpiper on the pipe in the NE corner of the West Lagoon. Two Semipalmated Plovers were present in the lowered cell. We had a brood of Northern Shovelers, which we found interesting for Muskegon County.
It seems that Upland Sandpipers and Dickcissels have moved out of the Wastewater. There were still quite a few Swallows around.
Joseph and Jonathan Lautenbach
Phil Vreeman