Thursday, October 12, 2017

Yellow Rumps and Ruby Crowns Today

There were several Yellow-rumped Warblers and Ruby-crowned Kinglets accompanied by Black-capped Chickadees foraging the woods east of my house this morning.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

- Ric

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Finally Some Raptors Migrating!

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.

Turkey Vulture

Red-tailed Hawk
- Ric

Juncos Are Back in Town.

 Dark-eyed Junco

I saw 20 Dark-eyed Juncos at Ellis Road today.

- Charlie DeWitt

Monday Morning at Black Lake Park

 Yellow-rumped Warbler

 Northern Flickers

 Song Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow

I spent 2 1/2 hours at Black Lake Park and counted 22 species of birds. There were 14 Pied-billed Grebes on the lake.

- Charlie DeWitt

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Pipits and Peregrines

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.

- Ric

Friday at Jeff's Dune

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!

- Ric

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Wednesday at The Wastewater

 American Pipit

 Greater Yellowlegs

 American Kestrel

 Red-tailed Hawk

Great Egret

I spent some time at the Muskegon County Wastewater this morning.  I counted 25 species of birds.

- Charlie DeWitt

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Turnstones, Pelican, Lesser Black-backed, Etc.

September 23 Email from Mike Boston:

Ruddy Turnstone by Mike Boston

I saw this Ruddy Turnstone along with two others on the breakwater at Pere Marquette Park this morning as well as close to twenty Sanderlings. I also spotted a Lesser Black-backed Gull on the beach among the many Herring and Ring-billed Gulls

September 22 Email from Ken Sapkowski:

American White Pelican by Brad Heath

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) CONFIRMED
- Reported Sep 22, 2017 10:51 by Brad Heath
- Winnetaska Rd, Muskegon, Michigan

Sunday, September 17, 2017

American Golden Plovers

American Golden Plovers are pretty easy to find at the Wastewater right now. I saw this one on the center dike Sunday afternoon.

- Mike Boston

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Dowitcher This Morning -- Which One?

September 14 Email:

I was at the Wastewater this morning and saw this Dowitcher.  Due to the fog I couldn't get a really good photo of it, probably wishful thinking but I was hoping it was a Long-billed, as I always do. Maybe someone will get out there now that the fog has burned off and confirm Long or Short. 

- Mike Boston

Saturday, September 9, 2017

North of the Muskegon Channel Today

Easterly winds and yesterday's Mich-lister report of thousands of Broad-winged Hawks migrating over the western U.P. had me walking Muskegon State Park this morning.  More than half of the 22 species I found may have been migrating, but only the American Kestrel was a raptor.

Most of the birds were foraging along the curve of the road between the channel parking lot and the ranger station, including Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Magnolia Warbler, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Brown Thrasher, Nashville Warbler, Northern Flicker, plus chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, cardinals, catbirds, downies and jays.

Some of the birds flying past Jeff's Dune may have been migrating (jays, flickers, cormorants, hummingbirds) but the Belted Kingfisher, Great Blue Heron, Sharp-shinned Hawk, and two juvenile Red-tailed Hawks just flew around with no apparent direction.

Young (no red tail) Red-tailed Hawk

- Ric

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Hummingbirds Visiting Often

We had few hummingbirds this summer, but this week they're visiting our feeder every few minutes.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird female this morning.

- Ric

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Snug Harbor to Lost Lake on Saturday

I found twenty bird species while birding the Lost Lake trail north of Snug Harbor this morning.  Every parking space in the fisherman's half of the parking lot was occupied by a vehicle-and-trailor!

Lost Lake

The woods were fairly quiet except after two friendly encounters with family groups along the trail.  As their laughter subsided, bird activity increased both times.

This young Red-shouldered Hawk was perched in the bare tree on the far side of the lake when I arrived (visible in the center of the Lost Lake photo when viewed full size).

Then it dropped into the marsh grasses, grabbed a yellow-green snack and flew back to the left side of the same tree to eat it.

I was glad to see this immature Red-headed Woodpecker at the top of a tree near the parking lot.  They used to be common there, but not anymore.

Other birds included two Sandhill Cranes flying overhead, a Lesser Yellowlegs at Lost Lake, two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds where the trail intersects Ruddiman, two Pileated Woodpeckers, one of the small brown thrushes (Hermit? Swainson's? Gray-cheeked?) in the Hemlock woods, plus vocal Black-capped Chickadees and American Goldfinches along most of the way.  

A very cool, beautiful morning -- it felt like fall.

- Ric

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Red Knot at Grand Haven North Pier

Red Knot

A Red Knot was back on the Grand Haven north pier this morning.  When I left the pier at 9:30 a.m. the knot was still on the pier.

- Charlie DeWitt

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

This 'n That on Monday

Three Monday Emails:

1.  Charlie DeWitt reported the Grand Haven Red Knot (posted below).

2.  Ken Sapkowski reported another Red Knot at the Wastewater (different plumage than Mike Boston's posted below) and a Buff-breasted Sandpiper first seen by Thomas Gass.

3.  Mike Boston wrote, "I went out to the center dike again this evening and there must have been a hundred Common Nighthawks swooping around.  I've never seen anything like it."

Monday, August 28, 2017

Red Knot at Grand Haven North Pier

 Red Knot
Red Knot

Carol and I took a walk on the Grand Haven north pier to watch the sun set and found this Red Knot at the very end of the pier.  The only camera I had was my cell phone.  The bird was within four feet of me.

- Charlie DeWitt

And Now Nighthawks

August 28 Email:

I saw three Common Nighthawks catching insects over the center dike at the Wastewater yesterday afternoon, along with thousands of swallows. Bad lighting and a fast moving target made for a bad photo.

- Mike Boston

Thanks again, Mike!  On Thursday you emailed the godwit, on Sunday the redknot, and today the nighthawk.  I'm anxious to see what's next!  - Ric

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Today It's a Redknot

August 27 Email:

Hi Ric,

I saw this Red Knot at the Wastewater on Sunday morning at the northwest corner of the east lagoon.

- Mike Boston

Good Shorebird Variety at W.W. Saturday

I tagged around the Wastewater properties with the Grand Rapids Audubon field trip yesterday morning until they headed west.  The previously-reported Hudsonian Godwit was in the center aeration lagoon early, but not when we left.

We counted 42 kinds of birds including 14 shorebird species:

Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)  
American Golden-Plover (Pluvialis dominica)  
Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus) 
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)  
Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica)     
Stilt Sandpiper (Calidris himantopus)  
Baird's Sandpiper (Calidris bairdii)  
Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla)  
Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos)  
Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla)  
Short-billed/Long-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus...)  
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius)  
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca)  
Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes)  

Semipalmated Sandpipers
One hanging on a rock reflected above the other.

Other birds of note included a Merlin eating prey on the appetizing dry sludge of a rapid-filtration cell, a young Red-headed Woodpecker, several Bonaparte's Gulls in the West Lagoon, and hordes of Tree Swallows catching midges over the center dike.

- Ric

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Hudsonian Godwit at Wastewater This Morning

August 24 Email:

Dim lighting and long distance made for a bad photo, but I saw this Hudsonian Godwit at the Wastewater Thursday morning near the west end of the large drawn down cell.

- Mike Boston

This afternoon Ken Sapkowski phoned to say that Chip Francke also saw the Hudsonian Godwit at the Wastewater today along with 21 Stilt Sandpipers.  - Ric

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Mystery Shorebird Is Upland Sandpiper

August 23 Email:

"Hi Ric,

I saw this bird at the Wastewater this evening. Is there any chance this could be another Ruff?  Maybe a female or juvenile?  It resembles a Pectoral Sandpiper but it was much larger and not very active.


- Mike Boston

Mike, I didn't know what it was either so I emailed a few experts.  Thanks to Phil Chu for replying that it's an Upland Sandpiper.  Maybe we would have figured that out if the bird was "where it belonged" out on the fields.  ;-)  - Ric

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

2017-2018 Programs and Field Trips Posted

The 2017-2018 Muskegon County Nature Club Programs and Field Trips are now posted on our homepage.

Monday, August 21, 2017

I.D. Help, Please

While watching the eclipse Monday I noticed this bird flying along the treeline north of my shop. Sorry about the poor quality of the pictures but it was 350-500 yards away. Tried to include as many different views as I took and as you can see, it's much larger then the crow that was giving chase. Albino Red-tail, Gyrfalcon?  If I see it again, I hope to get a better picture.

- Don Neumann

Wow, Don!  Nothing wrong with the pictures you've sent!  I think you guessed right with albino Red-tailed Hawkbut I'll email some top-gun birders to see what they think.  They may post their Comments here directly, or I'll post their email replies if I hear from them.  (Thanks for the eclipse too!)  - Ric

Sunday, August 20, 2017

August Field Trip Report

Click here for details about our 60-species field trip to the Wastewater properties yesterday morning.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Thirsty Eagle and Migrating Hummers

I've been seeing a good number of birds at my shop, though this was a first.  This Bald Eagle has been around on and off all summer (it's missing a couple primaries on the left wing) and it finally decided to visit.  Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are passing by also.

- Don Neumann

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Black Lake Park

 American Goldfinch

I spent 2 1/2 hours at the park starting at 10:00 a.m. and counted 23 species of birds.

While trying to get pictures of  a Cardinal Flower I had this
Ruby-throated Hummingbird come in and visit all the blossoms. 

Peck's Skipper

I also had 11 species of butterflies ...

Eastern Pondhawk

... and 6 species of dragonflies.

- Charlie DeWitt