Monday, February 24, 2014

Eastern Screech-Owl Yesterday

Dan Lockard sends this photo he took of an Eastern Screech-owl.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ducks and Lark Last Week

Dan Lockard sends these photos taken last week of Greater Scaup and female Red-breasted Merganser at the Muskegon Channel and Horned Lark at the Wastewater

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Nuthatch Caching Food

What does a White-breasted Nuthatch do with an extra sunflower seed?  Hide it!

Charlie DeWitt

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Muskegon Channel Saturday

Still a large number of birds in the channel. Saturday's sunshine and calm winds brought out a large number of birders looking for the King Eider and Barrow's Goldeneye. At least 2 Black Scoters were spotted toward the mouth of the channel. Pictures aren't the best as they were a long ways away.

Don Neumann

 Barrow's and Common Goldeneye

 Black Scoter, male

Black Scoter, female

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wilson's Snipe at the Wastewater

Wilson's Snipe found in one of the deep ditches off of White Road in the RI Cells.  I am sure this is a continuing bird, first reported in December.

Charlie DeWitt

Muskegon Channel on February 11

Here are some of the "in flight" pictures from yesterday of Common Goldeneye, Greater Scaup, White-winged Scoter, etc. while the sun was shining.

Charlie DeWitt

Yard Bird Eastern Screech-Owl

February 11 Email:

Possible captions:

"I'm out of here because I no longer fit in my hole."
"Anyone have any Alka-Seltzer?"
"Ken's gotta stop feeding me Paczki's."

He stayed there until 6:20 p.m. when we watched him fly off.  (By then he's alert and wild-eyed.)

Ken Sapkowski

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Another Food Fight

Mike Boston photographed another food fight (see Charlie's below), this one between Bald Eagles at the Wastewater. (Mike apologizes for the lens debris; he's having that taken care of today.)

Food Fight and Channel Is Freezing Over!

I spent 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at the Muskegon Channel today. I watched this Red-breasted Merganser food-fight.

The channel is mostly frozen over.  There is some open water on the south side and a little on the north side.  If tonight is as cold as last night, it might be frozen over completely by morning.

Charlie DeWitt

Monday, February 10, 2014

Red-Throated Loon at Muskegon Channel

I found the Red-throated Loon that was reported at the Muskegon Channel.  I viewed it from the Channel St. parking lot at the east end of the channel.  The channel was freezing over starting at Muskegon Lake and working its way to the boats.  The good news is the parking lot by the USS Silversides was plowed today.

Charlie DeWitt

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Rarities and More Saturday Morning

After seeing the King Eider and Barrow's Goldeneye, I saw a Red-breasted Merganser eat a crayfish and a Common Goldeneye go down a hole in the water :-).  At about 10:00 there were still eider watchers. 

I also found this Long-tailed Duck with an iced-over bill.  On January 30 Don Newmann posted a picture of a Long-tailed Duck with ice over its eyes and ice on its bill.  Could this be the same duck?

Charlie DeWitt

Both Ducks at Channel on Friday

February 7 to Mich-Listers:

Both the adult male Barrow’s Goldeneye and the 1st winter male King Eider were seen this afternoon in the Muskegon Channel.  There appears to be a pattern to where these birds are located.  Viewing from the parking area directly behind the U of M research vessel, the eider seems to like the area directly out from the parking lot.  A couple days ago it was near the far bank, but today it was near the boat (only about 30 yards away).  The goldeneye seems to like the far shore west of the parking lot.  Today it was about about 300-400 yards west of the parking lot.  We walked the path west along the river to get better views.  The water is now open all the way to Lake Michigan, but the birds so far are staying in the channel.  They are finding lots of food in the shallow water along the river bank (looks like mollusks of some kind as well as small fish).  The open water is a big area (probably about 1/3 mile along the channel) and there are thousands of birds.  The weather isn’t supposed to change much tomorrow, so I believe there is an excellent chance the birds will be there on Saturday.

Good luck,

- Chip Francke

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Both Birds Still in the Channel

February 5 to Mich-Listers:

The male Barrow’s Goldeneye and the 1st winter male King Eider were both present this morning in the Muskegon Channel.  Birders that were there included Carl and Judi Manning, Liz Notman, Bob Sabine and Reg Crowe.  All got great looks at both birds.  Both ducks were found from the Silversides submarine parking lot.  The goldeneye was along the far river bank and west of the parking lot.  The eider was on the far river bank directly across from the parking lot.  The first parking lot you come to (where most people are viewing from) is not plowed and you might get stuck unless you have all wheel drive.  I believe the main parking lot that is a short distance further is plowed and a better place to park.  From this second parking lot, it is a very short walk back to the viewing location.  In the last two days, the winds have blown much of the ice into Lake Michigan and there is only a narrow strip of ice keeping the ducks from venturing further west into the big lake.  If this ice breaks free, it might be much harder to find these birds.  - Chip Francke

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

King Eider and Barrow's in Channel Today

Thanks to a call from Ken Sapkowski I was able to go to the Muskegon Channel and get some pictures of the King Eider over on the north side directly across from the Silversides parking lot.  It was getting real dark by the time I got there so the pictures don't show much color.

- Charlie DeWitt

Earlier this morning, several birders including Charlie and me saw the Barrow's Goldeneye in the channel in the general vicinity of the Coast Guard station.  A Lifer for Charlie!  There were also thousands of other ducks, many hundreds of which were Long-tailed's and White-winged Scoters.   - Ric

Regarding the Barrow's and Other Ducks

February 3 to Mich-listers:

Just a few details on the male Barrow’s Goldeneye in the Muskegon Channel.  Many birders saw the duck today and it is likely the bird will stay around for a while.  If you are not familiar with this area, you will want to go to Pere Marquette Park on the south side of the channel, then proceed to the Silversides submarine/museum parking area.  From there, you can see the birds and walk along the channel if desired.  When I was there today (about 2:00 p.m.), the duck was swimming back and forth along the far shore and was diving frequently.  It was west of the parking lot about half way to the edge of the ice.  In addition to the Barrow’s, there are thousands of other waterbirds.  Many Long-tailed Ducks and White-winged Scoters at very close range.  Great opportunity for viewing or photos.

Chip Francke

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Barrow's Goldeneye at Muskegon Channel

During a futile search for the male Surf Scoter at the Muskegon Channel on Sunday afternoon, February 2nd, I came across this Barrow's Goldeneye, a lifer for me.

- Mike Boston

Goldeneyes and Merganser at Grand Haven

On Friday Roxanne Eacker photographed this pair of Common Goldeneye and female Red-breasted Merganser in the little bit of open water by the bubbler under the dock by the old piano factory in downtown Grand Haven.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Red-shouldered +1, Junco -1, Towhee +2

February 1 Email:

"The neighborhood Red-shouldered Hawk has learned how to remove my suet feeder from its hook and has lunch (in photos below). He had dessert yesterday because there were Junco feathers on top of it!" - Diane Corradi

Diane took these photos with her phone and mentioned that she also had two Eastern Towhees at her house today (see Ted's post below). - Ric

Towhee and Sapsucker Today

Ted Ogren reports two interesting midwinter birds hanging around his place in Norton Shores today: an Eastern Towhee and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.