Thursday, October 29, 2015

Harlequin Duck Wednesday at White Lake

October 28 Email sent at 4:00 p.m.:

Harlequin duck in White Lake Channel just now. - David Holmberg

Monday, October 26, 2015

Rusty Blackbird at the Wastewater Monday

Rusty Blackbird by the Clay Ponds on Swanson Road

- Charlie DeWitt

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Dark-billed Swans and Snow Goose at WW

October 25 Email:

I spotted either a pair of tundra or trumpeter swans in the west
lagoon just west of the central dike road along with a snow goose just
east of the central dike road with a group of Canada geese.

- Casey Irwin

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Merlin at M.S.P. and Creeper at Rosy Mound

Jeff Johnson and I looked for migrating hawks again Friday morning at Muskegon State Park.  We watched a few migrating (5 Sharp-shinneds, 1 Cooper's) and observed a few locals (2 Bald Eagles, 2 Red-tailed Hawks), but not as many as we had hoped considering the beautiful sky and east winds.

Once again the Merlin greeted me on my drive southward toward the Channel; I've seen this bird (assuming it's the same one) more times than not heading to Jeff's Dune this fall.

Meanwhile Casey Irwin was photographing this Brown Creeper on Friday down at Rosy Mound Natural Area south of Grand Haven.

- Ric

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Red-breasted Nuthatch at Wastewater

Casey Irwin photographed this Red-breasted Nuthatch at the Wastewater "near the Karner Blue butterfly area".  

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Quality Trumps Quantity Hawkwatching Today

Jeff Johnson and I spent a few hours hawkwatching this morning north of the Muskegon Channel at Muskegon State Park.  The raptor quantity was low (2 Bald Eagles, 2 Northern Harriers, 6 Sharp-shinned Hawks and 1 Red-tailed Hawk) but the quality shot up when a Golden Eagle flew by!


It was peacefully escorted by the Snug Harbor Bald Eagles.  It flew south to the channel, then returned and flew north to the woodline.  One of the Bald Eagles dove at it, the Golden dropped into the woods, and we never saw it again.

Non-raptors included turkeys (six foraging around the trail post on the dune before we displaced them), flickers, jays, crows, chickadees, Golden-crowned Kinglets, bluebirds, juncos and goldfinches.

- Ric

Roger's Muskegon October Bird Photos

October 19 Email:

Having returned to Florida, Roger Newell emails regarding photos taken the last couple of weeks in the West Michigan area:

American Pipit at Muskegon Wastewater
Long-tailed Duck at Pere Marquette breakwater
Horned Grebes at Muskegon Wastewater (Eared's! -- see Comments)
Red-tailed Hawk at Muskegon Wastewater - 2 pix
Peregrine Falcon at Muskegon Wastewater
White-rumped Sandpipers at Muskegon Wastewater
White-throated Sparrow at north end of Hilton Park Road, Muskegon
Northern Harrier at Muskegon Wastewater
Merlin near south breakwater of Pere Marquette River, Ludington.
White-rumped Sandpipers at south breakwater of Pere Marquette River, Ludington
Merlin with captured prey at south breakwater of Pere Marquette River, Ludington

I got 5 Life Birds (mostly thanks to Brian Johnson's banding work).

You may use these pictures if you wish.  Thanks again for all the assistance.

Rog Newell
Valrico, FL

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Birding Black Lake Saturday Morning

Charlie DeWitt led seven of us on a field trip to Black Lake Park this morning.  Birds of note among our 27 species were Cooper's Hawk, American Coot (200+), Sandhill Crane (2), Eastern Phoebe, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush and Yellow-rumped Warbler.   More details posted on our homepage.

- Ric

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Snowy Egret at Wastewater on Monday

October 12 to Mich-Listers;

At 5:30 pm today, I relocated the snowy egret reported by Brad Heath on eBird at the Muskegon Wastewater.  It was located in the small cell at the north end of the center dike (where the blue pumps/generators are located).  In addition to the egret, there were also a number of shorebirds in this cell including killdeer, pectoral sandpipers, white-rumped sandpipers, and dunlin.

- Chip Francke

Thursday, October 8, 2015

More Good Birds at the Wastewater

 Savannah Sparrow

 Spotted Sandpiper

Yesterday eBird didn't like my Spotted Sandpiper report, "Late date," they said.  Well I went back to the Wastewater today, and guess what?  Another "late date" Spotted Sandpiper!  I really don't mind eBird questioning me.  After all, we want good science.  It is nice to have a photo of a "late date" bird.

 Northern Harrier

This Northern Harrier was hunting in the cell that I was watching for some White-crowned Sparrows.  I had the truck off and was parked hoping the sparrows would show themselves.  Now I can see why they were hiding.  In the last picture she seems to be giving me the "stink eye".  It's not my fault that she missed lunch!

Snow Geese
Still in the same field (27) as yesterday. 

- Charlie DeWitt

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Good Birds at the Wastewater

 American Pipit

At the Wastewater this morning I counted 50 American Pipits while driving around the large storage lagoons.

 White-rumped Sandpipers

These are 10 of the 14 White-rumped  Sandpipers I saw in the drawn down aeriation cell.  Yesterday Brian Johnson had a count of 71 White-rumped Sandpipers at the Wastewater.
Also in Field 24 by the rocket field there were 8 Snow Geese.

- Charlie DeWitt

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Merlin Again at Muskegon State Park

Although the winds were easterly today, they may have been too strong or it may have been too cloudy.  In an hour on "Jeff's Dune" at Muskegon State Park this morning I only counted five migrating raptors (3 Northern Harriers and 2 Sharp-shinned Hawks).  

The Merlin was again in a tree alongside the road and allowed me to take his portrait.

The only other birds of interest were three adult Bald Eagles flying up by Snug Harbor.

- Ric

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hawks and Other Birds at Jeff's Dune Today

It was cool, windy and beautiful on "Jeff's Dune" (Muskegon State Park) this morning.  Most of the migrating hawks flew high despite strong gusty east winds, and I'm sure many flew over without my seeing them.  This Red-tailed Hawk gave me the once-over before continuing south.

Around 10:00 some small kettles of hawks formed north of the ridge line (up toward the "Sugar Bowl" tobogganing hill).  Most were probably Broad-winged's, but some were definitely Sharp-shinned's, and without Jeff's eyes and expertise I couldn't tell which from that distance.  Most of them climbed thermals into the blue and disappeared before reaching an imaginary east-west line between the dune and the moon over the lake.

Besides those there were several identifiable migrating birds (15 Sharp-shinned Hawks ...

... 8 Broad-winged Hawks, 4 Red-tailed Hawks, 4 Northern Harriers (2 brown, 2 gray adult males), 3 Turkey Vultures, 2 Bald Eagles (immatures) and about 200 migrating Blue Jays.  Non-migrants included an adult Bald Eagle (probably one of the Snug Harbor pair), 2 American Kestrels and this Red-tailed Hawk.

Non raptors included 2 Pileated Woodpeckers, several Northern Flickers, a few Eastern Bluebirds and 1 Canada Goose.

I couldn't identify a sparrow as it foraged in the dune grass nearby, but after it flew away and perched on a distant branch, I took a couple pictures.  Enlarging this image to the max, I think it's a Vesper Sparrow but would appreciate opinions of others.

- Ric