Friday, May 30, 2014

Piping Plover at Pere Marquette

I saw this, possibly the same as the previously seen Piping Plover, at Pere Marquette beach on Friday, May 30th, about 50 yards south of the restaurant that's currently being remodeled.

- Mike Boston

Magnolia Warbler Photo

May 27 Email to Greg DeWeerd forwarded May 29:

Hi Greg!  While I was waiting for the American Redstart, a yellow bird flew into the peach tree.  I thought it was a finch and took a picture.  As I zoomed in on my screen, I could see it was something else.  I think it's a Magnolia Warbler.  What is your opinion?  Thanks!

Deb Smith

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Piping Plover Sunday at Muskegon State Park

May 27 Email:

I live in Lansing, MI.  I am a member of Capital Area Audubon and Michigan Audubon.   I love birding in Muskegon and I come here often.  I also really enjoy this web site.  The pictures are incredible and the information is always very helpful.

I was staying in Muskegon this weekend with my girlfriend Sue.  We were birding all weekend and enjoying biking around the Muskegon Lake trail. On Sunday morning we spotted a Piping Plover on the Muskegon State Park beach just north of the north pier.  We were very excited to see it, and I was lucky enough to snap the attached photo.

We also had another exciting sighting Monday afternoon.  We stopped to bird the Muskegon Wastewater before heading out of town.  Along Swanson south of White we found a Common Raven sitting in the field on the east side of the road.  It flew over the road as we were watching it and landed in the farm field on the west side of Swanson.  Unfortunately it flew away before I could snap any photos.  It was being mobbed.

We'll be back to bird some more soon.  In the meantime I'll be enjoying this web site.

Bob Kingsbury

Thanks for the great photo, Bob.  Glad you enjoy the website.  - Ric

Clean Cedar Waxwings

Here are seven of the ten Cedar Waxwings that were at my water feature this afternoon.

- Charlie DeWitt

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Beautiful Morning at Harbor Island

I took a beautiful stroll along Harbor Island's Linear Trail this morning recording 45 bird species between 6:00 and 9:30 and fortunately not stepping on Bambi in a thicket along the edge of the marsh.  It was quite cool until the final half hour which may have kept the warbler numbers down?

Highlights included a mama Killdeer screaming at her baby for running across the road, a Red-winged Blackbird aggressively displaying around and waving its epaulets at a European Starling (why?), great views of Philadelphia Vireo, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Scarlet Tanager and Blackpoll Warbler, and discovering that I can still hear a Blackpoll if it's close enough!

Mama Peregrine Falcon was up at her box whenever I looked at the smokestack.

- Ric

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

42 Species in Two Hours at State Game Area

I walked the south side of the Maple River from State Game Area headquarters out to the east edge of the Lane's Landing prothonotary woods for a couple hours at midday today.  Unlike last Saturday's Big Day Count, the mosquitoes were here in significant numbers.  Slap!  Slap!

Of today's 41 species plus "gull", none were unusual.  I think six of these were not recorded at his location on Saturday: Green Heron, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Hairy Woodpecker, Alder Flycatcher and Lesser Yellowlegs.

Yesterday Ken Sapkowski photograped this Ruddy Turnstone at the Wastewater in one of the aeration cells immediately west of the red barn.  It might be one of the birds that Charlie reported in his post below.

- Ric

Ruddy Turnstones and Bonaparte's Gulls at WW

I spent a few minutes at the Muskegon County Wastewater today.  I found 7 Ruddy Turnstones in the aeration cell third from the west.  I also had 50 Bonaparte's Gulls on the south side of the west lagoon.

Charlie DeWitt

Monday, May 19, 2014

Good Recent Birds

Besides Brian's Common Raven (see post below), Sherri Lockard sends these photos taken on Saturday May 17 at the Wastewater of what appear to be three species our Big Day group (click for full report) did not find that day: Scarlet Tanager, American Pipit and Willet !

Saturday, May 17, 2014

NAMC Raven Nest !

On May 10 I encountered 114 species while working my zone during the North American Migration Count for Muskegon County. Several species were new for the spring, and warblers were plentiful and diverse. The best highlight, however, was discovered at the Cedar Creek Motorsport Trails (Manistee National Forest) north of the Muskegon River. Since at least 2012, based on agitated behavior, Common Ravens have likely nested here. This year I decided to actually search for their nest. Although sightings of ravens have steadily increased across the county over the past decade, breeding activity has remained poorly documented. After a few minutes of following the parents, I found the nest in a red pine, and inside was one large chick.

- Brian Johnson

Friday, May 16, 2014

Probable Summer Tanager in Spring Lake

I have a reliable report from a homeowner in Spring Lake of an adult eastern Summer Tanager (see big Sibley guide, page 462) hanging around his yard these days.  I asked him for permission to post directions with the caveat that if it's posted, he will have birders -- hopefully well-behaved birders -- coming over to look for it.  When/if he gives that permission, I will post it here.

- Ric

Bluebird Portrait and Warblers at MLNP

Dan Lockard sends this photo of an Eastern Bluebird on his deck yesterday.

Meanwhile the 25 people who braved the cold for our annual potluck picnic Thursday evening at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve were rewarded not only with delicious food, but also some good warblers including Yellow, Yellow-rumped, Nashville, Black-and-white, Magnolia, Wilson's and Northern Parula.  Click here for event photos (people and food, not warblers).

- Ric

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Finch Eggs in Nest

May 13 Email:

I thought my pair of House Finches had made a nest elsewhere, though I have seen them around.  I noticed the old nest in my window had some new grass in it.  Checked and sure enough, eggs.  They have been singing very loudly in my window.  - Carol Cooper

Monday, May 12, 2014

Thunderous Start to the Week

Haven't had much of a chance to get out birding since reopening the ice cream shop, but did manage to get this shot through the window this morning.

- Don Neumann

Black-throated Green Warbler at Snug Harbor

There were lots of Black-throated Green Warblers about on Sunday, May 11th. I saw this one at Snug Harbor. I also had a Hooded Warbler at Hoffmaster; unfortunately, it never came down low enough to have its picture taken.

Mike Boston

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Blackpoll & Golden-winged Warbler at G.H.

Carol and I took a Mother's Day walk around Linear Park on Harbor Island in Grand Haven today.  Notable among the 33 species were two male Scarlet Tanager (one adult, one first spring), a male Blackpoll Warbler, a male Golden-winged Warbler (the first I've seen since they disappeared years ago from the Muskegon State Game Area), 9 Yellow-rumped Warbler, 7 Palm Warbler, 5 White-crowned Sparrow, a Sandhill Crane and a Peregrine Falcon on the smokestack nest box.

- Ric

Friday Photos of Ibis and Orchard Oriole

Dan Lockard sends these photos taken on Friday of the Wastewater Ibis and an Orchard Oriole.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Willet at Muskegon County Wastewater

Carol and I birded Muskegon County Wastewater and found this Willet on the north side of the large west lagoon.  We also had Sanderling and a flock of 20 Wilson's Phalaropes.

- Charlie DeWitt

Saturday Full of Birds

Some of us conducted North American Migration Counts today for Brian Johnson (who spent his day counting at SGA; he may post his sightings later).

I had 39 species at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve including Least Flycatcher, Black-and-White, Orange-crowned, Blue-winged and Nashville Warblers, Northern Waterthrush, and three American White Pelicans on the sandbar in Muskegon Lake southwest of the preserve.

Later along the easement from Quarterline Road to Black Creek in Fruitport Township I counted 37 species including Least and Great Crested Flycatchers, Yellow-throated and Red-eyed Vireos (and probably Blue-headed, but could not find the source of the singing), Ovenbird, American Redstart, Black-and-white, Magnolia, Chestnut-sided Warblers, (and probably Northern Waterthrush, but could not find the source of the singing) and the morning's highlight: a pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers tending their nest.

- Ric

Meanwhile, Travis Dewys writes: "I spent some time at Wastewater today in search of the White-faced Ibis that has been recorded there this week.  No luck, but I was still able to get some decent photos of some spring birds.  I really need to stop driving 30 miles to hopefully see one bird.  I was also able to find my first Bay-breasted Warbler and my first Virginia Rail that I actually saw, not just heard."

Travis's photos are of Dunlin, Green Heron, and what looks like one of the Dowitcher species.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Wednesday Photo of the Wastewater Ibis

Tod Van Wieren of Grand Ledge photographed the Wastewater Ibis on Wednesday.  Thanks to Tod for sending us this photo.

Ibis Still at Wastewater on Friday

Marc Miedema, one of the two observers of the Ibis posted below, sends this photo taken on Wednesday.  He apologized unnecessarily for the quality of the photo taken with his phone; I think this image may be good enough for someone who knows these birds to tell us whether it's a glossy or white-faced.  If you can, please post your comment here.  Thanks.

Meanwhile Dave Elbrecht phoned to say an Ibis (presumably the same bird) was in the Wastewater rapid filtration lagoons near B-10 this afternoon.

- Ric

And Now a Scarlet Tanager Too

Dan Lockard photographed this Scarlet Tanager (a species many of us hope to see this week as well) on the Wastewater properties yesterday.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Indigo Buntings and Yellow-throated Vireo

Kathryn Mork had an Indigo Bunting on her feeder this morning; Carol and I had two first-spring males on our feeder this afternoon.  This morning a Yellow-throated Vireo moved through the tops of our trees.  Still lots of Baltimore Orioles, a few Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and one male Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

- Ric

Ibis at Wastewater / Beauty at Feeders

I have heard two reports of an Ibis at the Wastewater yesterday morning after the rain.  If either of those folks sends me photos, I'll post them here.  Otherwise there may be reports and photos at eBird.

Meanwhile Dan Lockard sends these beautiful photos of species that are appearing at our feeders these days (see previous post): male Baltimore Oriole and male Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

- Ric

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Good Birds Here and There!

Carol and I have had remarkable numbers and quality of spring birds in our yard yesterday and today: at least one House Wren, several Yellow-rumped Warblers, 7 male and 1 female Baltimore Oriole, 2 male and 1 female Rose-breasted Grosbeak, 1 male Ruby-throated Hummingbird and 2 male and 1 female Orchard Oriole (a yard lifer).  - Ric

Meanwhile Ken Sapkowski emails this message and photo:

Charlie DeWitt and I birded Messenger Road at the Muskegon State Game Area yesterday, (4 warbler species), and then checked out the Wastewater for shorebirds.  There were about 35 of them in the low water aeration cell, mostly peeps with some Dunlin, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and one Stilt Sandpiper.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Palm Warbler at the Causeway

May 5 Email:

Lots of warblers on the Causeway.  This Palm Warbler was in the Causeway park.  - Carol Cooper

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Painted Turtles & White-eyed Vireo on Friday

Each spring, I attempt to complete a Painted Turtle Survey along the Maple River in the Muskegon State Game Area. Parameters necessary for obtaining a representative total include sunny skies, reasonably warm temperatures, and light winds. Counting when no other hikers are present (to minimize disturbance) and prior to leaf emergence (to assist detection) is also crucial.

On Friday, April 25, I recorded 102 Painted Turtles. This figure is down from the previous average of 142. While simple detectability may play a role in annual variation, the lower numbers this year may have stemmed from fewer basking sites due to higher water levels, or there may have been a real population loss due to the long and cold winter. I also encountered a single Blanding's Turtle.

Bird highlights during the hike included very good counts of Greater Yellowlegs (51) and Wilson's Snipe (37). I also observed a White-eyed Vireo - a species not seen in Muskegon County every year - foraging silently in thick brush near the MSGA headquarters.

- Brian Johnson

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Dunlin at the Muskegon County Wastewater

Carol and I found this Dunlin at the Muskegon County Wastewater today Photo By Carol DeWitt

- Charlie DeWitt

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Virginia Rail on the Musketawa Trail

This Virginia Rail was in the marsh area next to the Musketawa Trail at Swanson Road on Wednesday evening, 4/30/14.

- Mike Boston