To see all the details in some of the pictures, right-click them. From the mini-list choose "Open link in new window". In that window click the picture for actual size, often too big to fit your monitor. Scroll around to appreciate all the details. Then click again to see the entire picture.
This might sound like heresy, but I went to Black Lake Park looking forGreen 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.
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. ;)
Today Ken Sapkowski reports that Louisiana Waterthrushesare 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.
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 Snipein the rapid infiltration area. There was a Brown Thrasher in the brush on the edge of the rapid infiltration area.
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.
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
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 200Common 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, 26Caspian Ternson April 15 was a nice total, and my first Forster's Tern appeared on April 12.
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.
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!
I had this pair of Purple Finches at my feeder near Cloverville this afternoon, April 13th, and at least one CommonRedpoll still hanging around too. These are the first Purple Finches I've seen at my feeder in several years
Birded Muskegon County Wastewater, Lanes Landing, Muskegon State Game Area (Messinger Road) and Black Lake Park. Feller DeWittand 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 AmericanTree 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-earedOwl.
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. AtLittle Black Lake I hadMute Swan, Canada Goose, Canvasback, Common Merganser, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Redhead, American Wigeon, Lesser Scaup, Ruddy DuckandBlue-winged Teal. Not bad for an hour hike!
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 Andyand 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.
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
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