Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Usual Subjects at Grand Haven Today

I walked Hofma Preserve and Harbor Island this morning not seeing a lot of birds at either location.  From the 26 species at the preserve, here's a Swamp Sparrow and an Eastern Phoebe:

From the 21 species at the island, a Cliff Swallow and a Song Sparrow:

- Ric

Friday, July 24, 2015

Pileated Woodpecker

July 23 Email:

Today I got a brand new lens for my camera and within a couple hours, look who showed up.  There was a female with him, but I wasn't able to capture a picture of her.  I'm glad to see a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers flying around my house.  Casey Irwin

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Red-tailed Hawks

Casey Irwin confirmed the species of his hawk (see previous post) by taking a walk in the nearby woods, photographing two Red-tailed Hawks (including this nice picture), and even finding their nest!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Monday Hawk and Cicada Photos

July 20 Emails:

 I caught a quick picture of this hawk before it took off out into a field next to my driveway. - Casey Irwin

Just a shell of its former self, a freshly-minted Cicada for your viewing pleasure drying out on my fence. - Mike VanderStelt

Sunday, July 19, 2015

26 Species Plus Storm on July 18 Field Trip

Nine of us birded the Allegan State Game Area yesterday recording 26 bird species.  Details and photos posted on our homepage.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Richards to Causeway to Nature Preserve

What a beautiful, cool, slightly breezy morning!  I birded Richard's Park, Veteran's Memorial Causeway and the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve recording 23, 11, and 23 bird species respectively, none unusual.  Robins, starlings, blackbirds and Barn Swallows were plentiful.

Enjoyed seeing a Warbling Vireo fledgling still sporting its "bad hair day" feathers and this Eastern Kingbird atop a tree with another (possibly an offspring?) further down in the foliage at Richard's Park.

Two Sandhill Cranes flew over the south end of the Causeway; no sign of the Peregrines on the Cobb Plant rooftop nest box.

This Swamp Sparrow flew to the preserve's boardwalk railing while I was trying to "pish" a Marsh Wren into view.  The wren kept singing beside the boardwalk but never showed itself.

- Ric

Monday, July 13, 2015

Monday Email Questions and Answers

July 13 "Least Tern Sighting?" Email:

I captured this photo on a cellphone (unfortunately the only camera on board) about one mile west of the south pier in Grand Haven.  Is this bird common to the area?

- DeeAnn Fayette

Thanks for the picture, DeeAnn.  I think these are Forster's Terns but will be interested in comments from others.  - Ric

July 13 "MCNC Website Sandpiper Question" Email:

 I noted your post from the evening of 13 June, titled, “Wastewater Birds Friday and Saturday,” which included a photo of three sandpipers and the question, “Can anyone ID these?”  The three are a White-rumped Sandpiper (rightmost bird) and two Semipalmated Sandpipers, and those two species are among the most expected shorebirds in early June.

- Phil Chu

Friday, July 10, 2015

Scarlet Tanager: How Old?

July 9 Email:

I spotted this beauty in the woods behind my house north of Ravenna.  I spent about 15 minutes watching it preen itself.  I don't recall seeing one around my house in probably close to 4 or 5 years. 

Casey Irwin

Thanks for the photo, Casey.  The plumage might allow someone who knows molt patterns to age this bird.  It's obviously a male Scarlet Tanager but not as splotchy as I'd imagine a first-year male to be.  Maybe older tanagers also get this scruffy appearance when they molt?  Thoughts, anyone?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Broad-winged Hawk Nest and Family

This year the Broad-winged Hawks built their nest ridiculously close to our street.  I didn't want to publicize it until the hatchlings departed.  This week the nest seems to be abandoned, although somebody slept up there Monday night.

Besides chipmunks, the two parents snatched many young robins from our neighborhood.  They successfully raised one youngster, and two if the fledgling with the "Nike swath" under its eye (last photo) is not the same fledgling as in the other two photos.

 June 6: Mom on nest.
June 17: First fledgling visible.

June 18:  Three chicks on the nest.  (Photo by Roger Newell)

June 29:  Hatchling growing its juvenile feathers.

July 4:  First fledgling, side view.

July 4:  First fledgling, back view.

July 7:  Wet fledgling, perhaps Baby One, perhaps Baby Two.

The hawks are still calling regularly, but without the high snag branches of the white oak removed from our backyard last fall, we won't see this year's youngster/s as often as we saw the two last summer.

- Ric

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Avocet and Dowitchers at The Dubs Today

July 5 Email:

Hey, Ric, if you haven't yet gotten any pics from the many better photographers out there, then here's some of the American Avocet and Short-billed Dowitchers at The Dubs (Wastewater) this afternoon.  ~ Phil Vreeman

Thanks, Phil!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Avocet Still Here 4th of July

July 4 to Mich-listers:

The American Avocet previously reported at the Muskegon Wastewater
continues this morning as of 8:00 am.  Same location, middle drainage cell.  Also, 2 Lesser Yellowlegs were present.

Good birding,

Kevin Vande Vusse