Monday, December 29, 2014

Eider Still There Monday and Tuesday

I spent two hours at the Grand Haven north pier Monday taking pictures of the Common Eider.  I hope it sticks around for Thursday; that would be a great way to start my new "Year List".

- Charlie DeWitt

(See comments: eider still there on Tuesday.)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Glaucous Gulls, Golden Eagle, and Humans

December 26 Email:

Hi Ric
I didn't catch sight of the Common Eider in Grand Haven today, but I did enjoy my trip to the Muskegon Wastewater.  I found two Glaucous Gulls among the hundreds of gulls on what's left of the ice in the east lagoon.  Also saw three Snowy Owls and informed a newcomer not to approach them on foot.  He was taking pictures.  The highlight of my day was the great looks I got of a Golden Eagle.  I was really happy to get a few good photos too.  Beautiful day.
- Bob Kingsbury

Bob, thanks for the photos and the report, and for explaining to the photographer about approaching the owls.  A lady emailed me yesterday that she saw two photographers throwing white mice in a dry rapid filtration lagoon to get photos of the owls flying.  Unfortunately it may be time for me to stop posting Snowy Owl information here as I did two years ago due to poor human behavior.  - Ric

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Dreaming of a White Christmas

Wishing everyone a Snowy Owl Christmas!
Don Neumann

Thanks to Don for these pictures and video
and the new Snowy Owl header photo.

Merry Christmas to everyone!  - Ric

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Eider Still There Tuesday Afternoon

The Common Eider (posted below) was still at the north pier in Grand Haven as of 1:30 p.m.  At 2:00 some kite surfers came down to the beach and all the ducks flew off.  I think that it would still be worth while checking for the eider.  The duck were feeding next to the pier and I think they will come back.

- Charlie DeWitt

Monday, December 22, 2014

Common Eider at Grand Haven North Pier

I found this Common Eider at the north pier at Grand Haven today about 11:00 a.m.  It was still there at 4:20 p.m.

- Charlie DeWitt

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Rough-legged Hawk at Wastewater

Casey Irwin sends this photo of a light-morph female Rough-legged Hawk on a pylon at the Wastewater yesterday.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Golden Eagle Still at the Wastewater

This morning Carol and I went to the Muskegon County Wastewater looking for the Golden Eagle.  We were unable to find it.  Someone had seen it near the RI cell this morning before we got there.  On the way to the Wastewater we saw a Snowy Owl on Moorland Rd. just south of Cline and
Carol got a nice picture of it.  I had to settle for a picture of some Mallards and a Black-capped Chickadee.

Charlie DeWitt

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Two Owls / Two Explanations

On Tuesday I stayed at the Wastewater late hoping to see short-eared owls. No SE Owls, but this Great Horned Owl was already out hunting for the night.

- Don Neumann

Wednesday evening Don posted the information and photo above.  Earlier in the day he had emailed me a beautiful photo of a Snowy Owl landing on the ground on the Wastewater properties with this explanation: "Just wanted to let you know there was a lady walking through the fields today pushing the snowies as she tried to get pictures.  I'm not posting any if that's what we get from  it."

Two winters ago I stopped posting any pictures of Snowy Owls on this blog because I didn't want to be even a small part of leading people to harass wild animals.  Please, if you go out to observe them, stay back, preferably in your car, and do not force them to fly.  That's just common sense.  For the time being I'll continue posting information and photos about local Snowy Owls to show, as always, some natural beauty in the Muskegon area.  Don's photo certainly does that.  But please be aware that he took the picture with a telephoto lens a good distance away from the owl!  Thanks to the majority of you who act the same way.  12/11/14  - Ric


Monday, December 8, 2014

Four Weekend Photos from Wastewater

December 8 Email:

Hi Ric,
It was nice meeting you on Saturday.  Here are a few pictures of what we saw this weekend.


Terra Berry

Saturday, December 6, 2014

And a Golden Eagle !

This Golden Eagle caused the Snowy Owl (see Ric's post below) to leave its perch.

- Don Neumann

Raptors at the Wastewater Saturday

There were several raptors and birders on the Wastewater properties this morning.  I saw two Snowy Owls, one very white, plus a mottled bird which may not have moved from this cement culvert from 9:00-11:00.  

It was good to see all birders stayed in or behind their cars and a respectful distance from this bird.  One of two light-morph Rough-legged Hawks north of the east lagoon seemed curious about my car.

I also saw eleven Bald Eagles of various ages (7 on the east lagoon by the landfill, 4 on a field south of Apple), a dark morph Rough-legged Hawk on the southside, but no shrike.

It was nice meeting Shawn and Terra Berry (see post below) who may send us some of their photos later.

- Ric

Snowy Owls at Wastewater

December 5 Email:

My husband and I had what turned out to be a fantastic birding day!  We  headed to Coopersville in search of the Snowy Owl, turned out to be a bust so we headed to Muskegon Wastewater where we saw 5 Tundra Swans on the west lagoon, 1 Pintail Duck in B10 with all his Mallard friends, 6 whitetail deer, 15 Bald Eagles (most of them were feeding on east lagoon) and due to two very sweet women 4 Snowy Owls (2 of them were on west lagoon and 2 of them in field 30 on top of irrigation).  We finished out our trip seeing 20 various hawks

Have a great birding day!

Terra & Shawn Berry

Friday, November 28, 2014

Golden Eagle and Snowy Owl

November 28 Email:

Tom Beeke and I had an adult Golden Eagle east of the headquarters today at Muskegon Wastewater. Also this Snowy Owl in Coopersville.

Josh Kamp

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ravens This Morning

Greg Swanson heard Common Ravens shortly after 10:00 this morning along Wolf Lake Road between Heights-Ravenna and Sheridan.  They gradually moved south-southeast.  Shortly afterward I drove some roads southeast of there but did not hear them.

- Ric

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Short-eared Owl at the Wastewater

Carol and I birded the Wastewater south of Apple Ave. looking for the Short-eared Owl.  At 5:31 p.m. we saw one owl west of the model airplane field.  It was only there for a minute or two, then headed east over Swanson Rd. and was gone.

- Charlie DeWitt

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pine Siskins

Just had my first Pine Siskins in a couple of years at my backyard feeder.

- Mike Boston

Same with Carol and me.  None since winter before last, but as many as four at a time on our feeders today.  Here are pictures through our back and side windows of Pine Siskins, American Goldfinch and House Finch.


- Ric

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Fall Waterbird Highlights

In order to gain a better understanding of the diversity, timing, and magnitude of the waterbird migration over Lake Michigan, I have been conducting fixed-position watches from Muskegon County beaches for the past five years. So far this fall, beginning September 7, I have conducted 21 such surveys.

When the phenology and weather are favorable, the numbers of passing birds can be most impressive. Such was the case yesterday (November 6), when I tallied 387 southbound Common Loons at Hoffmaster State Park. The flight, which continued for at least three hours, was so strong that I counted as many as 27 loons during a single minute. The total easily established a new daily record for the lake watch.

Other highlights this season include:

267 Gadwall on October 25
31 Black Scoters on October 24
120 Bufflehead on November 6
1,167 Double-crested Cormorants on September 28
135 Bonaparte's Gulls on October 16
1 jaeger on October 17
first Great Black-backed Gull on October 19

- Brian Johnson

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Peregrine Falcon Information

Don Neumann was able to get the following information about the Peregrine Falcon he posted below on October 26 (see also subsequent post and photo October 29).  Sorry about the formatting, but these are the vital statistics from the form that Mr. Anderson emailed to Don.  Anyone desiring the 24-page year end conservation report .pdf file please contact me.  - Ric

gender: F 
banded: 06/23/2014 
breeder: WPR 
bander: jsc
name: NIPSCO Schahfer Plant Wheatfield 
county: Jasper 
state: IN 
type: Smokestack
Don,  The above is the id of the falcon.  Interesting it was fledged from a power plant as we pioneered the falcon/power plant program starting in 1988 and wrote a manual on attracting and managing the peregrine at electric power plants.  Attached is a copy of our year end conservation report.    Bob Anderson

Birds at Wastewater Last Weekend

November 4 Email:

"A few of the birds my husband and I saw while visiting over the weekend ..." Green-winged Teals, Merlin, Horned Grebe and Bald Eagle.

Terra & Shawn Berry

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Muskegon County Wastewater

Carol and I spent some time at the Muskegon County Wastewater today.  We had 6 Red-tailed Hawks, 4 Rough-legged Hawks (2 dark morph and 2 light morph) and this Greater Yellowlegs.  After seeing Mike's post below, I think I should have gone to Pere Marquette Park today!

- Charlie DeWitt

Purple Sandpiper at Pere Marquette

I saw this Purple Sandpiper at Pere Marquette Park on Saturday, 11/1/14.

- Mike Boston

North of the Muskegon Channel Saturday

At Muskegon State Park the winter gate was up east of the Channel parking lot.  I walked from there to Jeff's Dune for a little hawk-watching and then to the east end of the Fisherman's Campground and back seeing 14 bird species and one nicely-antlered White-tailed Deer.  It was a beautiful morning but cold, especially in the wind up on the dune.

Apparently migrating birds included 100 American Crows, 10 Tundra Swans and 2 Rough-legged Hawks.  A Red-tailed Hawk and immature Bald Eagle soared north of the dune.

There were several Dark-eyed Juncos and a few Golden-crowned Kinglets in the campground.  This one is in the process of taking off:

This American Tree Sparrow foraging along the road and in a tree below Jeff's Dune seemed to be hawk-watching as well.


- Ric

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Peregrine and Shrike at Wastewater Tuesday

Today on the Wastewater properties Jamie Krupka saw a young Peregrine Falcon near the west churning lagoon (see photographs in the posts below) and a Northern Shrike at the usual location, the tree line west of the maintenance building on Laketon west of Swanson.

Monday, October 27, 2014

More Sunday Wastewater Birds

October 27 Email:

My husband and I spent a couple hours yesterday bird watching at Muskegon Wastewater and we saw several Snow Buntings, 13 Tundra Swans, a Peregrine Falcon and a Greater Yellowlegs

- Terra and Shawn Berry


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Raptor Sunday at the Wastewater

Raptor Sunday:  Peregrine Falcon and leg bands, Northern Harrier and a Red-tailed Hawk.  Not pictured is the group of 20 or so Tundra Swans on the east lagoon. 

- Don Neumann

Monday, October 20, 2014

Three Recent Local Pictures

October 19 Email:

10/8/14 merganser sunning herself on the rocks in the Muskegon Channel-north side,
10/15/14 wood duck at the Bear Lake Channel-North Muskegon,
10/19/14 sanderling at Muskegon State Park

- Carol Cooper

Red-breasted Merganser, Wood Duck, Sanderling