Monday, July 28, 2014

Broad-winged Yard Birds

Carol and I have heard many squeaky whistles from Broad-winged Hawks across the road this summer.  Today two juveniles came over to the trees in our yard while a third (maybe Mom) whistled from across the road.

- Ric

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Lane's Landing and Wastewater This Morning

I found no gallinules this morning at Lane's Landing but recorded 25 other species from 7:00-8:30.  Four billion mosquitoes and four Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (including these two females) buzzed among the branches from the inner gate up to the U-Pond.

Two hours meandering around the Wastewater produced 29 species including two Bobolinks, finally!  The juvenile Red-tailed Hawk (from the July 12 post below) was out of the woods on the south side ...

... and his mom was still swearing at me and upsetting the neighbors.

I came across these flowers on the southside grassfields.  Carol calls them Purple Cone Flowers.  I call them gorgeous.

- Ric

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Everyday Birds at Jennings Farm SGA

From 7:00-10:00 this morning I counted 28 bird species, none of them out of the ordinary, mostly on the northern portion of the Old Jennings Farm on State Game Area north of Bossett Road.  Lots of bird life!  This is definitely a place the club should take a field trip sometime.

I met a Gary Southard who knows the local area well.  He told me that there used to be three farm houses along the southern edge of the property all owned by the Jennings family and their kin farming these 600 acres.

These four pictures -- Cedar Waxwing, Common Yellowthroat female, Song Sparrow and wasp's nest -- were taken along the hedgerows lining the trail north from Mosquito Creek up to the woods.

- Ric

Monday, July 21, 2014

Good Birds at Lanes Landing SGA

Today I had a chance to go to the Muskegon State Game Area at Lane's Landing to look for the Moorhen family that Mike Boston reported.  I found an opening in the cattails at the northeast corner of the pond that gives a good view of the pond.  The Moorhens* were in the middle of the pond.

Charlie DeWitt

* This species was recently renamed "Common Gallinule" from "Common Moorhen" as noted in Charlie's text in his photos.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sandhill Cranes on the Sabbath

Sunday July 20 Email:

Much to my surprise I saw these four Sandhill Cranes across the street from my church this morning in Spring Lake on Savidge Street.

- Carol Cooper

Common Moorhens at Lane's Landing

Couldn't get any photos but I saw one adult Common Moorhen and four babies in the west "U" shaped pond at Lane's Landing on Sunday, 7/20/14.

Mike Boston

Friday, July 18, 2014

Ravens at the Wastewater

I saw this Common Raven along with several others on Swanson Rd. south of Apple this morning, 7/18/14.

Mike Boston

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Birding the "Old Jennings Farm"

Charlie DeWitt's reply to my Comment under his July 11 post below led me this morning to the end of Bossett Road north of Bailey Road, a section of the State Game Area Charlie called the "Old Jennings Farm".  Again I was searching for Bobolinks, and again I struck out.  But what a beautiful place to bird!  Thanks, Charlie!

It's not just a turnaround at the end of the road.  There's maybe a square mile of open field, some farmed, some grassy, sprinkled with individual trees, small copses of trees, hedgerows and edges.  I had it to myself from 7:00-9:10.  As I was leaving, I passed a man driving in with three hunting dogs in his truck (reminiscent of Lane's Landing).  The 33 bird species I found are listed below.

These fledglings (Eastern Bluebird and Eastern Towhee) were in the trees along the southern edge of the property where I parked my car. 

An Eastern Kingbird with its white tail band nearly worn off patrolled the hedges north of the Bossett dead end.

A male Indigo Bunting sang from the top of a tree northeast of the hay field.

This Cedar Waxwing perched atop a tree just north of the bunting.

Field Sparrows were the species of the day singing incessantly.  The Yellow-billed Cuckoo was calling from just north of the hay field.

- Ric

SGA Old Jennings Farm, Muskegon, US-MI
Jul 17, 2014 7:00 AM - 9:10 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.5 mile(s)
Comments:    Looking for Charlie's Bobolinks
33 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  1
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)  1
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  3
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus)  1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  2
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  1
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)  1
Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)  1
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  3
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  2
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  6
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)  3
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)  2   Plus fledglings
Veery (Catharus fuscescens)  1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  2
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)  6
Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)  1
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)  3
Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla)  1
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  2
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)  2
Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)  2   Plus fledglings
Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)  5
Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus)  1
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  2
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)  2
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)  2
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  4
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)  1
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  3

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cedar Waxwings at the Wastewater

There were dozens of Cedar Waxwings acrobatically pursuing the abundance of insects along the south shore of both lagoons at the Wastewater on Sunday evening, July 13th.

Mike Boston

Photo of Yesterday's Rough-legged Hawk, Etc.

July 13 Email:

I also went birding yesterday morning at the Wastewater with similar results (see post below) after a Least Bittern at Lane's Landing.  Here are two photos: the Rough-legged Hawk and an Upland Sandpiper.  Also of note were Orchard Oriole and Dickcissel at the Dubs.

Phil Vreeman

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Avocet and Rough-legged Hawk at Wastewater

I walked some paths and two-tracks on the Wastewater fields south of Laketon this morning unsuccessfully searching for Bobolinks but finding two new routes to the second Clay Pond now that Seba is cut off by the ditch.  I found 36 common species, many of them with youngsters.

Behind schedule on the return to my car, I encountered Tom Beekie who reported some remarkable stuff north of Apple: an American Avocet in full breeding plumage in the drawn-down churning lagoon (Tom thought female from the curvature of the beak), Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpipers and a light-morph Rough-legged Hawk south of the East Lagoon near the Landfill.

Tom doesn't eBird and wasn't sure how to send email attachments, but the pictures he had in his camera (one sharp photo of the hawk perched, one out of focus as it flew off, but clear enough to show white tail feathers and broad dark terminal band) were definitely of a Rough-legged Hawk.  Maybe too injured to migrate?  I had no time to check these myself.  What follows are pictures of stuff I saw and my eBird report.

I didn't realize this was one of Brian's banded Grasshopper Sparrows until I uploaded the image to my computer:

The second Clay Pond now has an east-west berm running along its north side and seems to have less water than in 2012.

An adult Red-tailed Hawk screamed from the edge of the woods east of the pond all morning.  As I approached, I heard the squeaky cries of her fledgling(s) deeper in the woods.  Mom flew out and circled me screaming constantly both times that I walked by.  For someone who had obviously eaten a good breakfast, she seemed in a foul mood.

This Vesper Sparrow evaded me behind clumps of grass:

Along the new ditch I came upon a mother Spotted Sandpiper and her youngster.  It ran left, right, forward and back successfully blurring all pictures as Mom screamed for it to run away from the big bad birder.


- Ric

Muskegon Wastewater System--Laketon/Swanson Fields
Jul 11, 2014 8:35 AM - 11:10 AM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 mile(s)
35 species (+1 other taxa)

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  1
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  2
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  2
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1    Plus 1 fledgling.
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)  6    Plus 2 fledglings
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius)  3    Plus 1 fledgling
Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda)  3    Plus two fledglings.
gull sp. (Larinae sp.)  24
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  5
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)  1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  1
Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)  1
Least Flycatcher (Empidonax minimus)  1
Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)  1
Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)  2
Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris)  3
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  6
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  2
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)  1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  2
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)  2
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  2
American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)  1
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)  2
Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)  1
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  2    Plus 2 fledglings
Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)  2
Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus)  3
Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum)  12
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  12
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)  1
Dickcissel (Spiza americana)  3
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  24
Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna)  4
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)  1
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  4

Friday, July 11, 2014

Nature Hike July 10

I had a chance to get out and do a little nature hike at the Muskegon State Game Area and then some driving around the Muskegon County Wastewater.  I saw 9 Sandhill Cranes in the dry cells at the Wastewater; it looked like it might be two family groups. Not much else going on at the Wastewater.

Charlie DeWitt

Friday, July 4, 2014

Pelicans over Pere Marquette

No photos worth posting but I saw two American White Pelicans flying over Pere Marquette Park on Friday morning, July 4th.

Mike Boston

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Morning on the Wastewater Grasslands

A few early morning hours on the Wastewater fields south of Apple Ave. produced 37 species today.  No pheasants anymore, but two Upland Sandpipers called for several minutes, a Black-billed Cuckoo sang for a full hour from the trees near the abandoned barn west of the model airport, and a number of grassland birds vocalized along Seba north of Laketon.

Four Song Sparrows here and there,

seven Grasshopper Sparrows at various locations,

a couple of Field Sparrows,

a couple of Dickcissels,

and a pair of sparrows (Field & Grasshopper) foraging together for awhile.

I may have heard one Vesper Sparrow but didn't count it and was unaware of any Savannah's.

A wayward mole wandering on Laketon panicked when he heard my car, zig-zagged blindly on the gravel until he finally found the shoulder, then dug himself safely into the dirt in five seconds!

An Eastern Wood-pewee sang from the edge of the woods between the Clay Pond and the abandoned orchard.

This Monarch Butterfly was on the field east of the orchard north of the silo.

- Ric