To see all the details in some of the pictures, right-click them. From the mini-list choose "Open link in new window". In that window click the picture for actual size, often too big to fit your monitor. Scroll around to appreciate all the details. Then click again to see the entire picture.
Yesterday (Dec. 23) three groups of birders censused a 15-mile circle (centered downtown) on our annual City of Muskegon Christmas Bird Count. When the final numbers are compiled, we'll post them here.
The "bird of the day" was this Marsh Wren found by the Central Group near the abandoned B.C.Cobb Plant and photographed by Ethan Kibbey:
The South Group found two Common Ravens at the Wood Road bridge near Black Lake.
Nothing exotic was found by the North Group, but Carol Cooper took these photos on the Muskegon State Park walk from Snug Harbor to the Muskegon Channel:
Some of us met for lunch near the spiral (and possibly haunted) staircase in the Cherokee Restaurant.
On Wednesday Dec. 20 at least a dozen people helped Brian Johnson with the annual Muskegon Wastewater Christmas Bird Count. When more data is compiled, I'll post it here.
At the moment I have just the numbers that Jim Zervos and I collected from 8:30-11:40 a.m. driving 24 miles in the Northeast Quadrant, a "piece of pie" with its point at the intersection of Ravenna Road (Newaygo Rd-35) and White Road and its "outer crust" curving from just north of Bridgeton east and south to Bailey.
Attached are two photos from Saturday at the Wastewater. One is a Peregrine Falcon with a Mallard it had taken seconds before Marcia and I arrived. The other is a member of a local falconer club with a Gyrfalcon. We talked with the man awhile in the grass cells. He didn't fly the bird because of the wind. - Phil Willemstein
Over 45 people in 21 vehicles followed Caleb Putnam on his Michigan DNR Field Trip around the Wastewater lagoons this morning. It was by far the most vehicles I've ever seen driving together while actively bird-watching.
There were not as many birds, particularly waterbirds, as we had hoped for. Among the notables were a young Bald Eagle panicking the duck flocks over the east lagoon, two American Black Ducks, a Long-tailed Duck and hundreds of Snow Buntings foraging on and flying around the center dike.
Following some recent Ottawa County eBird reports of Fox Sparrow, I drove down to Hemlock Crossing this morning with hopes of seeing one. No such luck. I did, however, see Phil Willemstein, Marcia Fellows, and a few dozen birds of ten species at the feeders including five American Tree Sparrows.
Before the rains I enjoyed a walk around the south half of Black Lake Park this morning. Besides the usual species there were two Trumpeter Swans out on the lake. One gave the "trombone mouthpiece" call before the pair flew off to the northeast.
I was at the Wastewater yesterday and came across this and another Eared Grebe. They were in the southeast corner of the large east lagoon.
- Phil Willemstein
Never assume woodpeckers are on your siding just looking for bugs. Our Downy Woodpecker knows it's warm in there. Beyond the blue styrofoam insulation is the fluffy stuff. That's where it's cozy. This guy started the hole last year and I boarded it over as a temporary measure. I have not gotten around to replacing the board. The cover board fell off and the bugger resumed his project.
I had looked at a site for a brown recluse and found a picture of one, but it wasn't a website from a university or such. Somewhere at that site there was an ability for people to put in their own pictures which caused me to mis-identify this spider. After more research I have come to the conclusion that this is a "Carolina wolf spider" the largest spider in Michigan. I should have put a saddle on it and tried to ride it! - Mike VanderStelt
I think this might be a Brown Recluse spider. Its legs are curled because it is dead. I sprayed it with some automotive brake cleaner, but I got a good picture of it. I didn't want to do it while it was alive because I didn't know how fast they could move, and I didn't want to "p--- it off" with my hand down there. 😲
- Mike VanderStelt
I don't blame you! Thanks for the photo. I don't know if it's a recluse or not. Maybe someone will post a comment or send an email. - Ric
- - -
Just a quick note and a photo to let you know that the Short-eared Owls are back at the Wastewater facility.
- Jerry Vis
Jerry, that's good to know. Without Mike Moran anymore, we're not as informed as we used to be about Short-eared's out there. - Ric
Today was the third time this season that I'd hoped to see some hawks migrating; the first two times were disappointments. This morning I watched for 90 minutes from the south wall of the Muskegon Channel east of the USS McLane.
I counted 39 migrating raptors (29 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 1 Cooper's Hawk, 8 Red-tailed Hawks, 1 American Kestrel), 47 migrating Turkey Vultures, plus 13 probably-migrating Canada Geese and ??migrating Blue Jays (220 total, most probably migrating, but due to conditions only ~75 visible streaming southbound over the channel.
Charlie's Wednesday post motivated me to head to the Wastewater this morning to get a "free" Year Bird. I saw at least 25 American Pipits including this one on the wall of the aeration cells. (Year Bird #181, not that anyone is counting.)
Among the other ten bird species at WW today were a singing Eastern Meadowlark east of the headquarters building (seemed pretty late in the season) and well over 1,000 Northern Shovelers in the northeast corner of the West Lagoon.
Later from the south side of the Muskegon Channel I saw "two" Peregrine Falcons fly from beyond the trees on the north side, low over the Channel, and then southbound out of sight. That seems remarkable whether it was two migrating peregrines within the same hour or whether it was the same local bird seen twice since there are no documented peregrines nesting in Greater Muskegon this year as they used to at the Cobb plant smokestack.
I spent a little over two hours yesterday morning (Oct. 6) on Jeff's Dune (Muskegon State Park 1/4 mile north of the Muskegon Channel) witnessing virtually no raptor migration: just 5 Sharp-shinned Hawks. (Last Saturday at the same location I saw only one migrating raptor, also a Sharpie.)
This adult Red-tailed Hawk moved around the property during the morning upsetting the crows wherever it went. I also saw a Merlin perched on a snag north of the dune.
I counted 210 migrating Blue Jays among the 19 total species. Others were the usual suspects.
This White-tailed Deer hurried into the jack pines below the dune after it and its buddy meandered out of the Snug Harbor woods.
At 8:40 I had to slow my car on Memorial Drive east of Scenic Drive to avoid hitting the "Wild" Turkeys in the road. At 11:20 on my way home I had to do the same thing at the same location!
The content of these pages is for your general information and use only and is subject to change without notice.
Neither Ric Pedler, the Muskegon County Nature Club (M.C.N.C.), nor any third party provides a guarantee as to the accuracy, timeliness, completeness or suitability of the information posted on these pages.
Ric and the M.C.N.C. expressly exclude themselves from any liability for inaccuracies or errors posted here.
Your use of any information or material from these pages is entirely at your own risk for which neither Ric nor the M.C.N.C. shall be liable.
These pages contain some material which is owned by or licensed to Ric, the M.C.N.C. or those authorized by them, including, but not limited to, photographs, design, layout, appearance and graphics. Reproduction of these materials is prohibited other than in accordance with the terms of this notice.
Any links to other websites are provided for additional information only and do not signify that Ric or the M.C.N.C. endorse the linked websites or have any responsibility for the content of those websites.
Misuse of these pages and any dispute arising out of such misuse is subject to the laws of the United States of America and the State of Michigan.
Unauthorized use of these pages may give rise to a legal claim for damages..