Saturday, March 26, 2016

Birds and People East; No Peregrines West

I found this sleepy Snowy Owl on a pole along a farm road several miles before reaching the Wastewater properties this morning.

Except for a male American Wigeon at the Clay Pond it was 25 basically unremarkable species at the Wastewater including Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, Redhead, Lesser Scaup, Ruddy Duck, Killdeer, ...

(this one easier heard than seen)

... Belted Kingfisher, Horned Lark, Eastern Bluebird, Eastern Meadowlark, and Song Sparrows singing everywhere.

I also saw Feller's car empty, another car full of Lautenbachs, and various people from Grand Rapids Audubon, some birding, some cleaning bluebird boxes.

An hour at the east end of Muskegon Lake proved fruitless for Peregrine Falcons at both the Cobb Plant and the Shoreline Inn.  Recently, however, two have been seen almost daily at Cobb and one almost daily at the hotel (but no birds in the boxes yet).

- Ric

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Muskegon Peregrines and Ottawa Field Trip

A pair of Peregrine Falcons has been seen around the B.C. Cobb Plant whenever our volunteers have watched and almost daily by Cobb personnel.  At least once the falcons showed an interest in a particular area on the roof and Consumers Power took steps to make that area unattractive.

Peregrine Falcon on March 17 by Bruce Delamarter.

Meanwhile one peregrine has been seen regularly above and on the roof of the Shoreline Inn where the two nest boxes are installed and where we wish the birds would take up residence.

There's a brief report and pictures posted on our homepage of yesterday's Ottawa County field trip which produced 47 species for the day including Rough-legged Hawk, Pied-billed Grebe, Canvasback, Ring-necked Duck, Northern Shoveler, Tundra Swan, American Coot, Wood Duck, Cedar Waxwing, Great Black-backed Gull, Song Sparrow, Eastern Phoebe, Brown-headed Cowbird, Fox Sparrow and Pine Siskin.

- Ric

Friday, March 18, 2016

Yellowlegs, Trumpeters, and Injured Crane

I was out at the Swanson Road / Musketawa Bike Trail area this morning and did not see any Snow or Greater White-fronted Geese.  I did find this Lesser Yellowlegs, Trumpeter Swans, and an injured Sandhill Crane.  It appeared to be its left leg.  I returned later in the day and saw the crane fly a couple hundred yards and do a controlled crash landing.

- Don Neumann

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Good Geese and Albinistic Robin

Greater White-fronted Geese
Photo by Carol DeWitt

 Snow Geese
Photo by Charlie DeWitt

American Robin with partial albinism
Photo by Carol DeWitt

While I was looking at the white geese with my scope turned up to 60X, I could see an obvious "grin patch", so I am going to call them Snow Geese.  The American Robin picture was taken at the Muskegon Wastewater next to the parking area for the Admin Building.  (See Ric's post below for location of geese.)

- Charlie DeWitt

Uncommon Finch and Geese This Morning

At 10:30 this morning as I was photographing my 64th year bird (male Purple Finch that Carol spotted in our backyard) ...

... Charlie DeWitt was texting from his cell phone:

Right now I have 2 Snow Geese* and 8 Greater White-fronted Geese* on Swanson Road just north of the Musketawa bike trail.

- Ric

* Jim Zervos and I birded Charlie's field this afternoon seeing these species plus Green-winged Teal and Northern Pintail (Jim only).  I reported the white geese as Snow Geese at first to eBird, but changed that to Snow Goose/Ross' Goose since I could not make that distinction.  - Ric

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Meadowlarks Are Back

Casey Irwin reports that Eastern Meadowlarks were at various locations around the Wastewater properties yesterday.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Sandhill Cranes and the Golden Eagle

Large numbers of Sandhill Cranes started showing up at Walkinshaw today. I didn't notice anything that looked to be a Whooping Crane, but they were a long ways off.  This Golden Eagle photo was taken at the Wastewater on Monday 3/7/16.

- Don Neumann

Of Sandhills, Whoopers, Hawks and Falcons

Friday Emails:

Ted Ogren:  "I was down on Black Lake in front of Greg and Judy's this morning and heard a flock of Sandhill Cranes.  I finally found them, and higher up and off to one side was what looked like a  Whooping Crane !  - all white with black wing tips.  It was totally different than the Sandhills.  I talked to both Greg and Feller and they seem to think that what I saw was a Whooping Crane.  Just wanted to let you know." 

Thanks, Ted.  I think so too.  Maybe someone will see it up at Walkinshaw later?  - Ric

Ken Sapkowski:  "Glenda and I saw one and possibly both of the Red-shouldered Hawks on Sunday on our way back from up north.  I saw your eBird report for them a couple days ago.  Also this webcam view of the Peregrine Falcon box at Grand Haven is pretty cool!  Not in the box right this second, but has been seen a lot.  Might be worth mentioning on the website."

Thanks, Ken.  Here it is ...  ... and those red-shouldereds were still around here yesterday. - Ric

Friday, March 11, 2016

Golden Eagle still at the Wastewater

Today at about 1:00 Feller and Charlie DeWitt saw the Golden Eagle sitting in a tree on the north side of the east lagoon.

- Charlie DeWitt

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Greater White-fronted Geese on Tuesday

March 9 Email:

Yesterday, March 8, I saw these Greater White-fronted Geese in the Clay Pond at the Wastewater.  They were on the other side of the pond so my lens couldn't capture a good shot, but good enough to see what they are.  I counted eight.

- Phil Willemstein

Definitely good enough!  Thanks, Phil.  White-fronteds have been there other years too.  (The "clay pond" is west of the Swanson Road dead-end, about 1/3 mile south of the model airplane field at Laketon.)  - Ric

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Winter Birds, Crazy Raccoon and Spring Birds

James Fife emails: "At the Wastewater this morning in the grassy cells, section D, I saw 2 Northern Shrikes.

Carol Cooper emails: "I had this encounter today at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve today."

In my neighborhood I had Common Grackles yesterday; Red-winged Blackbirds, Killdeer, Red-shouldered Hawks and Pine Siskins today; and American Woodcocks peenting and flying at the blueberry patch tonight."  - Ric

Friday, March 4, 2016

Good Day in Grand Haven

 Cedar Waxwing at the Snug Harbor Restaurant in GH

Two of the five White-winged Scoters at the end of
the Grand Haven South Pier

 Harlequin Ducks

 Horned Grebe

6 Horned Grebes

I had a good morning sitting at the end of the South Pier at Grand Haven.   Besides the birds pictured above, I had 3 Common Loons, Common Goldeneyes, Common Mergansers, Red-breasted Mergansers, Greater Scaup, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Mallard, Canada Goose, House Sparrow, American Crow and Long-tailed Duck.

There were thousands of ducks way out on the horizon, way too far to identify.

Charlie DeWitt

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Northern Harrier on Saturday

March 1 Email:

I just got around to Saturday's photos if it's not too late to post this Northern Harrier.  - Bruce Delamarter

Nope, not too late.  Bruce took this Saturday morning by the model airplane airport on the south Wastewater properties.  I think it's a juvenile rather than an adult female and will leave it at that unless someone wants to discuss.  - Ric