Sunday, July 28, 2013

White "Black" Bird -- Comments Welcome!

Referring to the "albino starling" in yesterday's Wastewater post (below), Jerry Vis sends the following pictures.  He also noted that many of the birds around it in several of his images are Red-winged Blackbirds.  There were plenty of red-winged's, starlings, and possibly other blackbirds out there yesterday (grackles this time of year can be shorter-tailed due to molting), and this white bird seems to have too much tail to be a starling.

Thanks in advance for anyone else's comments about this bird or its companions.  And thanks for the photos, Jerry!

- Ric

Saturday, July 27, 2013

32 Wastewater Species

After saying hi to Matt Schultz, Bill Martinez and others at the Five Lakes Sanctuary, I drove out to the Wastewater and recorded 32 bird species from the rapid filtration cells, to the churning lagoons, to the south grass fields.  Along the way I met a couple of Grand Rapids area photographers who may send photos which I'll post here if they do.

- Ric

Jul 27, 2013
Muskegon Wastewater System
3 miles
150 Minutes
Observers: 1
All birds reported? No
Comments:  Muskegon Wastewater Properties 10:15 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

17 Canada Goose
2 Wood Duck
50 Mallard
1 Great Blue Heron
40 Turkey Vulture
1 Red-tailed Hawk
1 Sandhill Crane
1 Killdeer
2 Spotted Sandpiper
1 Lesser Yellowlegs
55 Least Sandpiper
4 Pectoral Sandpiper
4 Red-necked Phalarope -- intermed. plumage: middle churning lagoon
100 gull sp.
4 Mourning Dove
2 Eastern Kingbird
2 American Crow
2 Horned Lark
50 Tree Swallow
1 Bank Swallow
3 Barn Swallow
5 Cliff Swallow
400 European Starling -- 1 albino 
1 Common Yellowthroat
6 Vesper Sparrow
9 Savannah Sparrow
3 Grasshopper Sparrow
3 Song Sparrow
2 Bobolink
20 Red-winged Blackbird
3 Eastern Meadowlark
1 American Goldfinch

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Turnstone at Grand Haven This Evening

This evening I found a Ruddy Turnstone on the Grand Haven North pier.

Charlie DeWitt

Wildlife at the Wastewater This Morning

 White-tailed Deer fawn
 Grasshopper Sparrow
 Baby Rails

I spent a little time at the Muskegon County Wastewater today.  It is the first time for birding the Wastewater since mid June.  The shorebirds are starting to show up.  My big find for the day was some baby rails I believe they are SoraThey are in cell E7; that cell is on the east side of the road, so morning sun is not the best for pictures.  Maybe one of the other photographers could try an afternoon shoot and get better pictures.  The best place to look is a small channel that runs toward the center of the cell.  The birds would cross at that point.  I spent 45 minutes and saw them four or five times.

Charlie DeWitt

Wastewater Shorebirds

July 24 Email:

Shorebirds are back at the Wastewater.  Water has been added to grassy cells D7 and D8.  The large flock is mainly composed of Killdeer, Pectoral Sandpipers and Least Sandpipers.  Other shorebirds seen recently include:

  • Baird's Sandpiper
  • Semipalmated Sandpiper
  • Spotted Sandpiper
  • Lesser Yellowlegs  (good numbers)
  • Sanderling
  • White-rumped Sandpiper
  • Solitary Sandpiper
  • Greater Yellowlegs (1)
In the aeration cell west of the small red barn (near the scales) there were 4 Red-necked Phalarope yesterday (photo below).   A few other shorebirds too.

- Ken Sapkowski

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

M.N.A. Field Trip This Saturday Morning

July 22 Email:

Hi Ric,

Short notice, but we’re having a field trip to Five Lakes Muskegon this Saturday at 10:00 am.  All are welcome, feel free to circulate among Nature Club members & others.

Matt Schultz
Michigan Nature Association

For anyone interested, meet Matt's group at the back of Eagle Alloy's east parking lot off Evanston Ave. a short distance west of Wolf Lake Road.  - Ric

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Birds at "The Dubs" on Saturday

July 20 Email:

I saw your other post today and that explained why I didn't see ANYone at "The Dubs" (aka The Wastewater) today!

finally made it out and caught almost all the summer birds I was hoping for before they leave!  Dickcissel, Orchard Oriole, Upland Sandpiper, Bonaparte's Gull, Grasshopper Sparrow, more Vesper Sparrows than I've ever had before (7), and good numbers of shorebirds, the highlight being a beautiful Short-billed Dowitcher shining in the sun. Also had a Peregrine Falcon chasing the plentiful peeps in the grassy cells.  Great day!!  Still have to crunch the numbers, but thought I'd check in first.

Blessed birding be with you!

Photos attached of Dickcissel, Short-billed Dowitcher (ugh, this picture does it NO justice!) and Upland Sandpiper if you're interested.

Phil Vreeman

Yes, Phil, very interested!  Thanks for the photos and the information.  - Ric

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hemlock Crossing Field Trip

Ten birders recorded 30 species of birds on the fields and in the woods along the Pigeon River this beautiful morning at Hemlock Crossing in Ottawa County on our club's monthly field trip.  We also met new park naturalist Curtis Dykstra who coincidentally will be our program speaker for January 2014.

Jul 20, 2013
Hemlock Crossing Park
1 miles
210 Minutes
Observers: 10
All birds reported? Yes

Comments: Muskegon County Nature Club July Field Trip

2 Mallard
1 Sharp-shinned Hawk
4 Rock Pigeon
3 Mourning Dove
2 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
Picoides Woodpecker (Downy or Hairy)
2 Eastern Wood-Pewee
1 Eastern Phoebe
3 Red-eyed Vireo
1 Blue Jay
1 Barn Swallow
7 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Tufted Titmouse
2 White-breasted Nuthatch
2 Eastern Bluebird
1 American Robin
1 Cedar Waxwing
5 Common Yellowthroat
1 Chipping Sparrow
2 Field Sparrow
5 Song Sparrow
1 Scarlet Tanager
2 Northern Cardinal
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
3 Red-winged Blackbird
1 House Finch
6 American Goldfinch

Report generated for eBird by BirdsEye Birdlog NA app for iPod.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

15 Birders, 26 Species and a Former Student

On Thursday an article in the Muskegon Chronicle caught my attention.  It was an invitation to a bird walk this morning at Snug Harbor with several objectives, one "how to get connected with area Audubon Clubs."  As president of Muskegon's only Audubon club, I was curious because all names associated with this walk were unknown to me.  Question: How were we going to get connected?  Answer: I showed up.

The leader was Brian Zuber of the DNR, assisted by fellow staffer Phil Higgins and Grand Rapids volunteer Joe Kurnik -- great guys all!

What a fortuitous meeting!  Not only did all of us with similar objectives meet each other, not only did the eleven other participants (including four cool kids) meet us, not only did we share brochures and see a Great Egret and tell bird stories and enjoy a wonderful bird walk, but I also met Marie from my first 8th grade class at Oakridge Junior High School way back in 1967! 

- Ric

- - -

Jul 13, 2013
Muskegon State Park, Snug Harbor
0.5 miles
160 Minutes
Observers: 15
All birds reported? Yes
Comments:  DNR Bird Watching 101 - Brian Zuber, Phil Higgins, Joe Kurnik

2 Mute Swan
1 Great Blue Heron
1 Great Egret
2 Green Heron
2 Bald Eagle
1 Mourning Dove
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
2 Eastern Phoebe
1 Eastern Kingbird
1 Warbling Vireo
3 Red-eyed Vireo
2 American Crow
7 Barn Swallow
2 Black-capped Chickadee
2 Tufted Titmouse
4 American Robin
1 Gray Catbird
3 Cedar Waxwing
1 Common Yellowthroat
3 Song Sparrow
2 Northern Cardinal
5 Red-winged Blackbird
12 Brown-headed Cowbird
1 American Goldfinch

Report generated for eBird by BirdsEye BirdLog NA app for iPod

Friday, July 12, 2013


July 11 Email:

Today I saw this mama duck and three babies along the Muskegon Channel on the northside.  Two of the babies looked like Mallards, but the mama looked very white/gray.  Fun watching them.  - Carol Cooper

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

... And Speaking of Dragonflies

July 1 Email:

I love the dragonflies too.  Here is one from today at Snug Harbor. Carol Cooper