Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Franklin's Gull at Holland on Thursday

Franklin's Gull

There has been a Franklin's Gull at Holland State Park for about a week.  I went down today and found it sitting on the beach with 20 Ring-billed Gulls.

- Charlie DeWitt

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Late Leopard Frog Tuesday

This Leopard Frog was around my yard all summer.  I thought he was gone as I had not seen him in awhile.  Today while doing yard work I found him in a bucket.  I took him over to the preserve and released him near the creek.  - Carol Cooper

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Red Phalarope Saturday and Sunday at WW

Thanks to Casey Irwin for scooting over to the Wastewater Sunday and taking this photo after reading the Mich-lister's report of the Red Phalarope in the northwest corner of the East Lagoon.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Gulls at Grand Haven Saturday

I went to the south pier at Grand Haven today looking for "storm birds".  No Franklin's Gull, but I did find these.

- Charlie DeWitt

 Ring-billed Gull

 Glaucous Gull

 Great Black-backed Gull

 Great Black-backed Gull

Great Black-backed Gull

Merlin and Others at the Wastewater Saturday

Glowering at me to keep my distance, this Merlin spent fifteen minutes devouring a small bird in the "kingbird tree" (Laketon at Seba) this morning.

Among the other 15 bird species were a Northern Harrier, 2 Red-tailed Hawks, dozens of Horned Larks and over 800 Canada Geese.  Lots of hunters' trucks on the Wastewater properties this morning.  A birding group from Oakland Audubon was scoping larks in the rapid filtration lagoons when I left.

- Ric

Nature's Power at Grand Haven

Carol Cooper sends this photo taken Thursday on the north side of the Grand Haven pier.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tree Sparrows at the Nature Preserve

I counted 18 bird species this morning at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve, none out of the ordinary.  Two Pied-billed Grebes swam in the bayou west of the preserve, many male Red-winged Blackbirds were singing like springtime, a male Belted Kingfisher flew over, and three of eight American Tree Sparrows stuck around long enough for photographs.

- Ric

Monday, November 9, 2015

Purple Finches and Winking Woodpecker

This male Purple Finch spent much of today in our yard, but little time on the feeders.  Every squirrel, jay, car or shadow scared him back to the trees.  Late this afternoon a second male, just as fidgety, joined him.

While photographing the finch, I snapped this male Hairy Woodpecker who has been in our yard a lot lately.  When I first saw this image, I feared the bird had lost its eye.  But on closer inspection, it's just his eyelid (nictitating membrane) whisking across.  Both of his eyes are fine.

- Ric

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Cranes, Coyote and Harrier on Thursday

November 7 Email:

On Thursday Nov. 5, 2015 while doing a shorebird survey with Brian Johnson at the Muskegon County Wastewater System, we saw this group of 18 Sandhill Cranes, a coyote and a Northern Harrier. - Carol Cooper

Friday, November 6, 2015

Red Phalarope at the Wastewater Today

I found this Red Phalarope in the southeast corner of the west lagoon today.

- Charlie DeWitt

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Grebe and Sandpiper at WW Wednesday

Casey Irwin photographed this grebe and sandpiper at the Wastewater yesterday, Nov. 4, and wondered about identification.  I told him I thought Horned and Pectoral.
Comments welcome.

- Ric

Northern Lights on November 3

November 4 Email:

Ric, I haven't been doing any birding and wasn't sure if you would want these pictures of the Northern Lights on the Recent Sightings page or not.  They were taken last night at Little Point Sauble.  - Don Neumann

Don, yes I want them!  They're recent, they're sightings, they're nature, and they're beautiful!  - Ric

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

October Lake Watch Results

This autumn, as in past years, I have been counting birds migrating over Lake Michigan from shoreline overlooks at Hoffmaster State Park and Lake Harbor Park.

September, unusually warm, had been very slow for waterfowl, but numbers quickly increased when the temperatures cooled at the end of the month.

In October, I accrued 17.5 hours, and recorded the following 43 species (3184 individual birds):

Canada Goose - 24
Wood Duck - 2
Gadwall - 298 (60 on Oct. 12)
American Wigeon - 70
American Black Duck - 4
Mallard - 152
Blue-winged Teal - 64
Northern Shoveler - 7
Northern Pintail - 4
Green-winged Teal - 16
Canvasback - 26
Redhead - 48
Greater Scaup - 6
Lesser Scaup - 703 (243 on Oct. 7)
Surf Scoter - 18 (first on Oct. 2)
White-winged Scoter - 6 (first on Oct. 15)
Black Scoter - 4 (Oct. 14)
Long-tailed Duck - 427 (first on Oct. 9)
Bufflehead - 4
Common Goldeneye - 1
Common Merganser - 12
Red-breasted Merganser - 104 (first on Oct.7)
Red-throated Loon - 6
Common Loon - 45 (29 on Oct. 30)
Horned Grebe - 26
Double-crested Cormorant - 275
Bald Eagle - 1
Northern Harrier - 1
Red-tailed Hawk - 1
Merlin - 1
Sanderling - 2
American Woodcock - 1
Bonaparte's Gull - 626 (218 on Oct. 14)
Ring-billed Gull - 106
Herring Gull - 23
Glaucous Gull - 1 (Oct. 22)
Great Black-backed Gull - 1 (Oct. 23)
Caspian Tern - 1 (Oct. 15)
Common Tern - 2
American Crow - 46
Horned Lark - 3
American Pipit - 8
Snow Bunting - 8 (first on Oct. 23)

The biggest surprise was an American Woodcock flying east low over Lake Michigan to the dunes at 10:21 a.m. on October 23.  Earlier that morning, an adult male Northern Harrier also flew east over the lake while closely pursued for a full minute by an immature Herring Gull.

Many passerines, only a few of which I could identify to species, also flew east against headwinds to the dunes on various days.  Most successfully navigated the gull gauntlet; some did not.

I occasionally see bats doing the same.  A Red Bat on Oct. 8 was the last.

- Brian Johnson

Young Woodpecker

Casey Irwin sends this photo of a first-year Red-headed Woodpecker in the woods near his house.  Click to enlarge and notice the tiny dab of red just beginning to molt in on the top if its head.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sunday at the Muskegon County Wastewater

 American Pipit
Photo by Carol DeWitt

 Northern Shoveler
Photo by Carol DeWitt

 American Goldfinches

 Savannah Sparrow

 American Tree Sparrow

Northern Harrier

It was a nice day at the Wastewater.  Nothing unusual, although this is the first time for the American Tree Sparrow for me this fall.  Waited for the Short-eared Owl until 6:00 p.m. but no luck.

- Charlie DeWitt