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

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dark-Morph Hawk at Wastewater

I saw this hawk at the Wastewater Sunday, early afternoon, in the basins. Did not get a picture of it flying, though under the wings was very white. The bottom shot is from the Audubon website of a dark morph Swainson's Hawk. Could this be one also?

-  Don Neumann

Don's hawk could be a Swainson's this time of year, but a dark-morph Rough-legged Hawk would be more likely.  See more information in the comments. - Ric

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher at Ludington

October 15 Email:

Around 4:23 p.m. this afternoon Mark Wloch had just finished walking the south breakwater at Ludington Harbor. As he drove south on South Lakeshore Drive (a few hundred yards south of the harbor parking lot), he saw a long-tailed bird and pulled over to view it better. It was a gorgeous Scissor-tailed Flycatcher ! The bird appears to be an adult female, as the tail is not nearly as long as an adult male's tail.

Amazingly, this not only is the county's second STFL, but it occurred 39 years and one day after the first bird was found (October 14, 1975 by Gary Worton). This flycatcher breeds in the southern Great Plains, but there are records of at least 44 birds seen between 1962 and 2012 in Michigan. Mark is new to Mason County, but he is quickly discovering why I believe the area to be a birder's paradise in northwestern Michigan.

Congratulations, Mark !

Dave Dister

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

White-fronted Geese at Wastewater Today

I spent some time at the Muskegon County Wastewater today and found 2 Greater White-fronted Geese in the east lagoon.  They were mixed in with 1,000 or more Canada Geese.  In Cell B10, there were 200 Mallards, 7 Northern Pintails, 2 American Wigeon, 3 American Black Ducks and 5 Green-winged Teal.

I counted 20 Eastern Bluebirds on the power lines west of the west lagoon.  American Pipits were all over the Wastewater property.

Charlie DeWitt

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Grand Haven Exotics and Migrants

Of eighteen species of birds at Harbor Island this morning, four Guinea Fowl (Escapus domestici) were the only birds of note.  (Don't tell Charlie, Feller, Kathryn or Ken that these were foraging north of the soccer fields.)

An hour of hawk-watching from a bench near Pier Peddler (how appropriate) west of downtown Grand Haven produced two migrating raptors: Sharp-shinned Hawk and Peregrine Falcon.  Ten of the 14 American Crows, all 75 Blue Jays, and one Northern Flicker also appeared to be migrating.

- Ric

Volunteer Friday at the Wastewater

Anyone interested in volunteering to do some planting at the Wastewater on October 17, click here to read Anita Friend's email.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Richards Park and Nature Preserve Today

I birded Richards Park (north end of Ottawa Street south of the Cobb Plant) and the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve this morning.

Colors were gorgeous at Richards where 15 bird species included White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, and a dark falcon (juvenile American Kestrel or Merlin -- see comments) staring at me from a distant pole) ...

...plus this Monarch butterfly in poor condition for a flight to Mexico:

Of the 17 bird species at the nature preserve, Zonotrichia sparrows (White-throated and White-crowned) were frequent along the trails, including both colors (adult and juvenile) of the White-crowned's:

- Ric

Sunday, October 5, 2014

New eBird Filter for Muskegon Wastewater

I wanted to update the nature club on a substantial improvement to eBird relating to Muskegon.  As I laid out in our blogposts at the Team eBird Michigan blog ...


... we have been implementing a new set of filters for Michigan, breaking the state from just a handful of filters, each incorporating multiple counties (up to 15!) into a final tally of about 60 filters for the 83 counties.

But the news more relevant to Muskegon is that we just created and activated a new site specific filter for Muskegon Wastewater! This means that users will see far fewer unnecessary flags (things like high counts of Ruddy Ducks and Northern Shovelers [which only congregate in the thousands at Muskegon Wastewater], summering Redheads, and a slew of other species). The best way to view the filter is to begin entering a checklist for Muskegon Wastewater and look through the list of species that come up. Make sure to click the "show rarities" tab to see additional updates.

Some more examples of things I have updated just for the Wastewater filter, but not for the general Muskegon County filter:

Snow Geese - up to 200 allowed in fall
Trumpeter Swan - none allowed now, since it's locally rare there
Gadwall - 300 allowed in winter; used to allow just a handful
American Black Duck - 250 allowed in winter now
Northern Shoveler - 7,500 allowed at fall peak
Ruddy Duck - 13,000 allowed at peak (this is one of the peak sites in the US; counts higher than this will require some documentation of count methodology)
Eared Grebe - 7 in spring, 8 in fall; the only site in Michigan which allows more than 0)
Shorebirds - substantially relaxed filters compared to inland southern Lower Peninsula counties, especially for species like Red Knot, Sanderling, Ruddy Turnstone, Baird's Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper, etc.)
Red-necked Phalarope - only site in Michigan where allowed - up to 20 in late Aug/early Sept
Common Raven  - allowed year round, up to 4 when family groups around
American Pipit - up to 500 in fall, one of best sites in Michigan
Swallows - all species except Purple Martin allowed at exceptional levels in August and into September
Grasshopper Sparrow - up to 35 during breeding season; highest filter in Michigan
Savannah Sparrow - up to 125 during fall when they are abundant on the roadside
Brewer's Blackbird - up to 50 during March -October, highest filter in Michigan
Orchard Oriole - up to 5 during breeding.

I hope you all enjoy this upgrade.  Comments and suggested changes are always welcome!

Good Birding,
Caleb Putnam

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Northern Harrier at the Wastewater

I saw this Northern Harrier hunting at the Wastewater along the south shore of the east lagoon on 9/28/2014.

Mike Boston