Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pine Warbler at Black Lake Park

Pine Warbler

Took a walk at Black Lake Park today and found this Pine Warbler.

Charlie DeWitt

Monday, April 29, 2013

Long-tailed Duck Last Week

Carol Cooper sends this photo taken April 21 of a Long-tailed Duck at the rocks on the pier head at Pere Marquette Park.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Martins and Caspian Tern at Grand Haven

Purple Martin

Caspian Tern

On Saturday, April 27, I was at the Grand Haven north pier and noticed Purple Martins using the nest boxes that are just north of the parking lot.  I also got my First of the Year Caspian Tern.  

Charlie DeWitt

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Birds at Wastewater Friday

Dan Lockard sends these photos from the Wastewater yesterday: American Kestrel, Common Goldeneye, Horned Grebe, Ruddy Ducks, Scaup species (Lesser, I think), Wilson's Phalaropes and Red-tailed Hawk.

- Ric

Friday, April 26, 2013

Black Lake Park

Green Darner

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Brown Creeper

This might sound like heresy, but I went to Black Lake Park looking for Green Darner dragonflies and Mourning Cloak butterflies.  I found 4 Green Darners and 2 Mourning Cloaks.  The butterflies would not sit still for pictures and the dragonflies weren't much better.  I did see a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and a few other species of birds.

Charlie DeWitt

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Brown Thrasher at MLNP

April 24 Email:

The Brown Thrasher has been around at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve for a few days now.  Today it came into the bird station and enjoyed some peanut butter.

Carol Cooper

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ahhh, Just to Sit on the Deck

Between yesterday and today I've had Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers, Pileated Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, European Starlings, Mourning Doves, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Dark-eyed Juncos, various sparrows, Common Grackles, White-breasted Nuthatches, Northern Flickers, Northern Cardinals, and an American Robin sitting on my suet feeder (first time I've seen that).

In the wetland I've had Great Blue Heron, Canada Geese, Wood Ducks, Pied-billed Grebes, Mallards, Buffleheads, Cooper's Hawk (hunting), Belted Kingfisher, Great Horned Owl (in the trees of course), Red-shouldered Hawk (also hunting), and a Hooded Merganser taking up residence in my duck house!

I'm sure I've forgotten a few, but other than that, it's been pretty boring around here.  ;)

Mike VanderStelt

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hummingbirds and Other New Arrivals Tuesday

Today Ken Sapkowski reports that Louisiana Waterthrushes are back at Patterson Park, Upland Sandpipers and Wilson Snipe are around the Wastewater, and Swamp Sparrows are back at Lane's Landing.  This morning Paula Wiggins had a Ruby-throated Hummingbird at her feeder north of the Muskegon River.  This was surprising because she doesn't usually put her feeder out until Mother's Day, suggesting that we all might get our hummer feeders out now if they're not up already.

Spring Birds on Monday

Roxanne Eacker sends these photos of a Brown Thrasher and female Red-winged Blackbird at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve yesterday.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Birds at Wastewater on Monday

Great Egret
 Eastern Kingbird
Wilson's Snipe

Today I took a ride to the Muskegon County Wastewater to see if I could find the White-faced Ibis that was reported on 04-20-2013.  No luck!  I did find a Great Egret at Swanson and Laketon and Eastern Kingbird and Wilson's Snipe in the rapid infiltration area.  There was a Brown Thrasher in the brush on the edge of the rapid infiltration area.

Charlie DeWitt

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Horned Grebes at Little Black Lake

Horned Grebes

Horned Grebe

Horned Grebe

Wood Ducks

I went for a walk at Black Lake Park and found a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.  Not much else going on at the park.  On the way home I stopped at the bridge on Wood Road.  There were 6 Horned Grebes on the east side of the bridge.  I watched and took pictures for an hour.  On several occasions I saw a grebe come to the surface with a worm. 

Charlie DeWitt

Ruby-crowned Kinglet at Nature Preserve

I had my first-of-the-year Ruby-crowned Kinglet at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve today, April 21st.  I also saw 70 plus Bonaparte's Gulls and an Osprey at the east end of White Lake in Whitehall.

Mike Boston

Friday, April 19, 2013

Avocets at Lake Harbor Park

April 19 Email:

I spotted 12 American Avocets this afternoon in Muskegon County at Lake Harbor Park. They were near the bridge over Mona Lake channel. They were hanging out with Mallards!

Jennifer Reck

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Loons and Other April Waterbirds

As in past years, I have been monitoring the migration over Lake Michigan from various shoreline vantages in Muskegon County. Not surprisingly, the persistence of chilly temperatures delayed strong movements of most aquatic and terrestrial birds.

Localized flights of Long-tailed Ducks, Common Goldeneyes, and Red-breasted Mergansers comprised the bulk of winter totals, but during the last week of March, numbers of other waterfowl finally surged, and by mid-April diversity has reached a maximum. Other waterbirds and raptors are quickly becoming more numerous, and in the last two days, morning flights of passerines over the dunes have grown significant.

Nearly 200 Common Loons have passed so far this month, but the best flight occurred on April 7, when I tallied 92 in 2.5 hours. This total surpasses my previous high count of 87 from November 10, 2009.

My peak for Tundra Swans this spring was 102 on April 5. Unlike most other species, these fly northwest over Lake Michigan, so they can be quite high after crossing the dunes. Glaucous Gulls have passed regularly this year, 26 Caspian Terns on April 15 was a nice total, and my first Forster's Tern appeared on April 12.

Brian Johnson

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wednesday Birding

White-throated Sparrow

I did some birding at the Muskegon State Game Area this morning.  If you are going to bird this area, the bridge over the Maple River behind the state game area Headquarters building has 3 to 4 inches of water over it.  Also on the south side of the Maple River the trail that goes west has one place that has 6 to 8 inches of flowing water over it.  Boots are a must.

Charlie DeWitt

Sunday, April 14, 2013

What Sticks Twigs in the Ground This Way?

This morning my brother-in-law told me he had dozens of twigs sticking in his lawn under his walnut tree.  I went over and saw them.  Then I tried to Google and Bing what was going on but could only find this video of what appears to be the same phenomenon:


At my brother-in-law's they're not between bricks, they're just randomly in the lawn, and only under the walnut tree (which is huge, branches overhanging much of his back yard).  I cannot find an answer online but would appreciate any and all comments.  Thanks!

- Ric

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Purple Finches

I had this pair of Purple Finches at my feeder near Cloverville this afternoon, April 13th, and at least one Common Redpoll still hanging around too. These are the first Purple Finches I've seen at my feeder in several years

Mike Boston

Black Lake Birds This Morning

Other than the snow I had a great day with the birds this morning at Black Lake.

Travis Dewys

Blue-winged Teal, pair

Pileated Woodpecker, male
Eastern Bluebird, female

Wood Duck, male

Belted Kingfisher, male

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bad Weather, Good Birding

American Woodcock
at Lanes Landing

Birded Muskegon County Wastewater, Lanes Landing, Muskegon State Game Area (Messinger Road) and Black Lake Park.  Feller DeWitt and I totaled 74 species for the day.  The most interesting stop was the yellow gate at Messinger Road.  Right by the gate we had 40 Dark-eyed Juncos, 15 American Tree Sparrows, 1 Northern Cardinal and 12 Fox Sparrows.  We then walked out to the open fields on the south side of the Maple River.  The fields were full of water and waterfowl; we estimate 600 ducks:  Mallard, American Black Duck, American Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal, Northern Pintail, Gadwall and Canada Goose.  We also had Sandhill Crane, Northern Harrier and a Short-eared Owl. 

Charlie DeWitt

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Carolina Wren at Nature Preserve

I saw one of the Carolina Wrens at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve on Sunday, April 7th.

Mike Boston

Good Birds at Black Lake

 Eastern Towhee

Winter Wren

I took a short walk at Black Lake Park located on Wood Road between Judson and Wilson on the east side of Little Black Lake.  I had Eastern Towhee, Winter Wren, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Wood Duck, Mallard, White-breasted Nuthatch, Northern Flicker and Pileated Woodpecker.  At Little Black Lakehad Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Canvasback, Common Merganser, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Redhead, American Wigeon, Lesser Scaup, Ruddy Duck and Blue-winged Teal.  Not bad for an hour hike!

Charlie DeWitt

Sandhill Cranes at MLNP Today

Carol Cooper sends these photos of two pair of Sandhill Cranes at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve today.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spring Birds on Saturday

 Greater Yellowlegs
photo by Carol DeWitt

 Tree Swallow
photo by Carol DeWitt

Bonaparte's Gull

Fox Sparrow

The first three species were on the Muskegon Wastewater propeties.  The Fox Sparrow was at Muskegon State Game Area headquarters.

Charlie DeWitt

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Tree Swallows, Rusty Blackbirds, Etc.

Author Bob Tarte from the Lowell area birded the Wastewater properties and State Game Area headquarters with me this morning.  We also met Josh Kamp of the Coopersville area along our way.

We were surprised to see Tree Swallows already at WW foraging over the ice of the East Lagoon.  Rusty Blackbirds were our target species at SGA but were still a bit of a surprise as we'd already been down by the bridge and found none.  But we meandered west along the north bank toward where a Red-shouldered Hawk was screaming and then heard the Rusties.

Bob "paid" me for leading our trek with an autographed copy of his Enslaved by Ducks!  Thanks again, Bob.  That was excellent compensation for absolutely no work!

Afterward I followed some directions Brian Johnson had given me for finding the Five Lakes Nature Preserve (subject of our April 18 program and our April 20 field trip).  Years ago my son Andy and I had followed a little path off Laketon Ave. labeled "Five Lakes Sanctuary", but it seemed to go nowhere.  Today I started at this sign behind Eagle Alloy on Evanston ...

... which has no trail near it.  I walked into the woods a short distance so I could turn and snap this picturesque landscape from which I'd come ...

... then continued northward until I found a trail (well-worn by RV's, as Brian had promised) and then some surprisingly nice habitat: marsh (the southernmost of the Five Lakes), oak woods, a pine plantation "inhabited" by this "dwelling" ...

... and ultimately the other four lakes.  Below is the view west toward where Laketon begins swerving (ultimately to become Carr Road); the path Andy and I had inspected is over there.

At any rate, I'm anxious to follow the Michigan Nature Association's leader on Saturday the 20th to see and hear more about this place which I knew absolutely nothing about before.  Its eBird numbers below reflect more the bad time of day than its birding possibilities earlier in the day and later in the month.

- Ric

Muskegon Wastewater System, Muskegon, US-MI
Apr 4, 2013 9:30 AM - 11:15 AM
Protocol: Traveling
3.0 mile(s)
Comments:  North and South of Apple Avenue with Bob Tarte
28 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  X
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)  X
Canvasback (Aythya valisineria)  3
Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)  2
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)  X
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  X
Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)  X
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)  4
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  2
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)  X
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  X
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  X
Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris)  X
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  8
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  X
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  1
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)  1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  X
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  X
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)  X
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  X
Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna)  X
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)  X
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)  X

Muskegon SGA--Headquarters, Muskegon, US-MI
Apr 4, 2013 11:25 AM - 11:55 AM
Protocol: Traveling
0.25 mile(s)
Comments: State Game Area Headquarters to Maple River with Bob Tarte
11 species

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)  1
Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis)  1
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  1
Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris)  X
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  1
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)  1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  X
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  X
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  X
Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus)  8
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X

Five Lakes Nature Preserve, Muskegon, US-MI
Apr 4, 2013 12:55 PM - 1:45 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.5 mile(s)
Comments: Checking Out Brian's Directions for Five Lakes Nature Preserve
6 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  X
Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)  5
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  X
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)  X
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  X

These reports were generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Wednesday Birding

Wood Duck pairs

Blue-winged Teal hen and drake

American Kestrel male

Charlie DeWitt